Barry Blanchard


Canadian Mountain Guide and alpinist, Barry Blanchard, was born in Calgary, March
29, 1959. Twelve years later three boys navigated the Bow River through the western
side of the city on a raft of nailed together railway ties, Barry was at the helm steering
the adventure. He found mountain climbing in the books of his high school library, some
of which are still in his possession. A six month trip to the French Alps in 1980 set the
course of Barry’s life: to climb the steepest and most complicated faces of the world’s
great glaciated peaks. Barry has enjoyed some success: the first ascent of The
Andromeda Strain, 1983; the North Ridge of Rakaposhi, 1984; the first ascent of the
apocalyptic North Pillar of North Twin; the West Ridge of Mt Everest, 1986; surviving the
Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, 1988; a solo first ascent on the North Face of Kusum
Kanguru, 1991; an attempt on K-2, 1993; first ascents in the St Elias mountains; M-16, a
first ascent -in winter on the East Face of Howse Peak, 1999; the third ascent of the
Infinite Spur on MT Foraker, 2000; the first ascent of Infinite Patience on the Emperor
Face of Mt Robson, 2002. More importantly Barry has enjoyed all of his outings, even
the ones not included in the narrow definition of “success”. Barry moved to the
mountains in 1982 to pursue his Mountain Guiding career (he is an internationally
certified -UIAGM- mountain guide) and has included making Hollywood features such
as “K-2”, “Cliffhanger” and “The Vertical Limit” in his professional life. His climbing
memoir The Calling, a Life Rocked by Mountains won the 2015 Boardman Tasker Prize
for Mountain Literature at the Kendal Mountain Festival in Britain. Barry is an honourary
member of the Alpine Club of Canada and winner of the 2002 Summit of Excellence
Award at the Banff Mountain Festival. Barry is proud to be Métis and seventh
generation descendent of Cuthbert Grant -Warden of the Plains, Captain of the Buffalo
Hunt and Leader of the Métis at the Battle of Seven Oaks. Barry lives in Canmore,
Alberta, with his partner Nicole and his two young daughters.