In all of B.C.'s mountaineering history, John Clarke stands alone. From his first climb in 1964 to his death by brain tumour in 2003, Clarke spent roughly six months a year in B.C.'s backcountry and made more first ascents in the Coast Mountains than any other climber to date.
A partial list at Wikipedia lists over 180 first ascents, including Elaho Mountain, Lillooet Mountain, Ashlu Mountain and the Meager Obelisk surrounding Sea to Sky.
His exploits and philosophies on life were made famous in a documentary called Child of the Wind that won an award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 1995.
Clarke also worked as an outdoor educator and founded the Wilderness Education Program in 1996. He enjoyed a close relationship with First Nations and led several Witness weekends for the Squamish First Nation that eventually helped to preserve a large area of the Elaho watershed - regarded as the largest unlogged watershed in all of southern British Columbia. In 1996, Clarke was given a Coast Salish name, "Xwexwsélkn," which means mountain goat - a dual reference to his climbing activities and his shock of white hair.
In 2002 Clarke was named to the Order of Canada, one of the few mountaineers to receive the honour.
He passed away at the age of 58, leaving behind his wife Annette Clarke and son Nicholas.
On Saturday, Aug. 28 the Squamish First Nation, Alpine Club of Canada - Vancouver Section and others, are paying Clarke the ultimate tribute by officially naming a mountain after him.
The Squamish First Nation is hosting a ceremony Saturday at Sims Creek, near the start of the John Clarke trail which crosses from the Elaho Valley to Meager Creek hot springs. The ceremony will take place at the Sims Creek junction, up the Squamish Valley road towards the Elaho.
Following the ceremony, which is open to everyone, some participants are camping at the Sims Creek sandbar, while others will hike up the trail and ascend Mount John Clarke over two days.
More information on the trip is posted at https://admin.alpineclubofcanada.ca/link/to/2920-72654-137-02.
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