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, 1985; 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. Barry lives in Canmore, Alberta, with his partner, Nicole, and his two daughters, Rosemary and Eowyn and cat, Orion.
Join Barry Blanchard live in conversation on the VIMFF stage after the screening of his film Spindrift. Hear stories of some of his most iconic climbs and memories from the worlds highest and most dangerous peaks, as well as some of the more often ignored, somber realities of living a life as a mountain climber and guide.