Legendary Canadian alpinist Barry Blanchard will be talking about his bold first ascent on Howse Peak and Mount Saskatchewan on March 2. The free event will stream on Facebook live starting at 1 p.m. MST. Visit here to set a reminder for the event.
This event will be episode five of six in a series called: Barry Blanchard’s Greatest Alpine First Ascents in the Canadian Rockies, 1983 to 2002. In this episode, Blancard will talk about The Silver Lining on Mount Saskatchewan in 1998, and M-16 on the northeast face of Howse Peak in 1999.
In 1998, most of Blanchard’s alpine climbing partners had started families, moved on from alpinism, or moved away. Steve House was the next generation, a man whose desire, drive and ability would lead him to become one of the very best alpinists in history. Blanchard got to tie in with House for the first time on the Emperor Face of Robson in 1997 when, along with Joe Josephson, they made the second attempt in winter. The next year was to see them return in April, but given a meagre forecast of one day of good weather, they hightailed it south to the Columbia Icefield and a striking unclimbed gully line on the northernmost wall of Saskatchewan.
“Twenty hours after leaving my truck we returned having put up The Silver Lining and Jo-Jo and I had witnessed how well Steve climbed,” said Blanchard. “The next year, 1999, the Emperor Face wasn’t in the weather cards again so Steve, Scott Backes and I headed to the mythical ice lines that drape Howse Peak with banners of silver. A storm, a new route climbed in horrendous conditions, an avalanche that broke my leg and got me rescued from the face via a helicopter long line just in time for the large fortieth birthday party my wife had arranged.”
Twenty years down the road came the tragic loss of Hansjörg Auer, David Lama and Jess Roskelley. “This episode is dedicated to those three men,” said Blanchard.
Barry Blanchard’s Greatest Alpine FAs in the Rockies
Episode 1: The Andromeda Strain and the East Face of Mount Fay
Episode 2: The North Pillar of North Twin in 1985 and The Wild Thing on the Northeast Face of Chephren in 1987
Episode 3: The North Face of Edith Cavell and The North Face of Howse Peak in 1988
Episode 4: The Northwest Ridge of Alberta in 1990 and Striving for the Moon on the East Face of Temple in 1992
Episode 5: The Silver Lining on Saskatchewan in 1998, and M-16 on the Northeast Face of Howse Peak in 1999
Episode 6: Sans Blitz on the East Face of Fay, 2001, and Infinite Patience on the Emperor Face of Robson in 2002