Barry Blanchard is one of Canada’s best-known alpinists and mountain guides and is respected around the world. He has pioneered many difficult alpine climbs here in the Rockies, in the European Alps, and in the Himalaya.
His routes on the north face of North Twin, the east face of Mount Fay, and the Emperor Face of Mount Robson are amongst the hardest in Canada. In the Himalayas, his ascent of the North Face of Rakaposhi in 1984 with Kevin Doyle and Dave Cheesmond was one of the best climbs of the era. In 1988, with three companions, he almost succeeded in an alpine-style ascent of the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. These climbs were on the very leading edge of Himalayan climbing.
Blanchard has worked for more than 40 years as a mountain guide and is now the elder statesman of the guiding community. This interview, recorded in his Canmore home on Dec. 6, 1996, captures a young Barry Blanchard in his prime.
The story about this film series: In 1996 and 1997 Chic Scott recorded 84 interviews with leading mountaineers all across Canada, as research for his book, Pushing the Limits, The Story of Canadian Mountaineering. These interviews have been safely stored in the archives of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies for 25 years and have now been digitized. Filmmaker Glen Crawford, working with Chic, has selected eleven of the best interviews and has edited them and added photographs to create superb enhanced interviews. These interviews are with Tim Auger, Sharon Wood, Hans Gmoser, Kevin Doyle, Brian Greenwood, Barry Blanchard, Leo Grillmair, Pat Morrow, Don Vockeroth, and Laurie Skreslet.