Over the past 100 years, climbers have been pushing standards in the Canadian Rockies. From long alpine ridges to steep north faces, the Rockies are synonymous with cutting-edge ascents. Peaks such as Robson, Chephren, Kitchener, the Twins and Alberta elude the many and reward the few. Many of the big faces were climbed between the 1960s and 1990, the golden age of alpinism in the Rockies. The men and women who first were part of that set high standards.
Future alpinists read old journals and guidebooks, hoping to experience what the alpine “pioneers” did. For most, the Rockies require a certain edge that comes with age, humiliation and failure. Perhaps the ones who drink the most whisky, dream of the biggest peaks and sleep with snowballs in their hands are the ones rewarded with the momentary triumph of coming to a draw with one of these mountains.
This is not a guidebook. Rather, it is a narrative history by the people who risked life and limb to establish these long, difficult and sometimes scary climbs.
Jocey Asnong was raised by a pack of wild pencil crayons in a house made out of paper and stories. After finishing several years of illustration school at Sheridan College, she left the land of maple trees in Ontario and moved to the mountains of Alberta so she could wear mittens most of the year. When she is not chasing her cats around her art cave in Canmore, she might be caught in a blizzard near Mount Everest, or running away from wolf dogs in Mongolia, or peeking out castle windows in Scotland, or sleeping under the stars in Bolivia.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts,
and of the province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.