Climbing legend Croft headlines Mountaineer’s Soiree 

Event raises funds for mountain guide scholarship, mountain rescue training

What: Sixth Annual Mountaineer’s Soiree presents Peter Croft

Where: Myrtle Philip school

When: Saturday, Nov. 27, 6 p.m.

Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door

In the local climbing scene, one name stands out above all others: Peter Croft. Croft is an accomplished rock climber and mountaineer who launched his storied career by making a series of challenging first ascents on the Stawamus Chief in Squamish and other local crags. Another notable B.C. first for Croft was the first traverse of the Waddington Range in 1985.

A Canadian now living in California, Croft’s list of first ascents doesn’t stop at the border. Some other achievements include the first one-day link-up of the Nose of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite, the first free solo of Astroman in 1987, and the first free solo of Astroman and the Rostrum in the same year, to name just a few of his accomplishments. He has also climbed around the world, making first ascents as far away as Pakistan.

Croft has been featured in several movies, and recently authored The Good, the Great and the Awesome in 2002, a guide to the best alpine rock routes in the High Sierra range.

Croft’s next ascent will be up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, where he will be the featured presenter at the sixth annual Mountaineer’s Soiree, a fundraiser held by local members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Alpine Club of Canada. Croft has been presenting slide shows and stories from his adventures for almost two decades to packed houses and rave reviews.

"We’re pretty excited to get Peter this year, we think that’s going to be a huge draw for us," said Brian Gould, an ACMG Mountain Guide who is helping to organize the event.

"We’ve been lucky in the past and have gotten quite a few really good speakers, like (Canmore climbing legend) Barry Blanchard, Jim Haberl, who was the first Canadian to climb K2… and Jared Ogden, this awesome ice climber from the U.S. Peter is a bit of a local legend as well, so that should definitely generate a bit of interest."

The doors will open at 6 p.m. for a silent auction. This year more than $20,000 in auction items and prizes will be available, including heli-skiing packages, helicopter time, outdoor gear and clothing, local mountain art, hotel and restaurant packages and more. If items aren’t sold – sometimes people are too busy socializing to bid, says Gould – then some items might be sold at a live auction during the intermission.

In addition to the auction, there will be a beer garden and refreshments.

All of the proceeds will be split between the Brian Ebert Memorial Fund, a scholarship program for aspiring mountain guides, and the local Provincial Emergency Program’s Mountain Rescue Training Programs. Gould is hoping to raise as much at $10,000 this year, beating their previous best tally of $8,600.

Tickets are available for $10 in advance at Escape Route in Whistler and Valhalla Pure and Climb On in Squamish. Tickets are $12 at the door.

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