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Will Gadd’s Dad, Ben Gadd, is a Climber and Legendary Naturalist

His book Raven's End is an award-winning novel based on ravens living on the famous climber's peak Yamnuska

Ben Gadd is one of the most interesting characters in the Bow Valley in Alberta. He was born and grew up in Colorado and emigrated with his wife, Cia, and son, Will, to Canada in 1968. Here he joined the Calgary Mountain Club and climbed on Yamnuska. By the mid-70s he was teaching English at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary.

In 1979 he packed it all in and moved to Jasper with Cia and their two boys, Will and Toby. Along the way they spent a year as house parents at the Hilda Creek Youth Hostel, near the Columbia Icefield. Since then, Ben has become one of the pre-eminent naturalists and interpretive guides in Canada and Canada’s professional Interpretive Guides Association has honoured him with their highest accreditation, Master Interpreter. He’s considered an authority on the natural history of the Canadian Rockies and geology is his special interest.

Over the years, Ben has published about a dozen books including the award winning novel, Ravens End, which has been translated into German, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Japanese. But, Ben is best known for his massive 800 page tome, Handbook of the Canadian Rockies, a guidebook to everything from geology, botany, and bears to human history, places to visit and appropriate recreational activities. This book has sold over 100,000 copies.

When Will was six years old, Ben made the first ascent of the west face of The Wedge in Kananaskis Country, and when Will was nine, Ben climbed climbed Mount Athabasca. Ben has won many awards over the years and in 2013 received the Bill March Summit of Excellence Award for “a significant contribution to mountain life in the Canadian Rockies.” If you want to read more about Ben, he has written a memoir titled, An Orogenous Life.

Chic Scott and Ben Gadd