Alpine Club of Canada

Winter Gazette 2013

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Whyte exhibit honours half-century of ACMG by Lynn T Martel he minute Lloyd Gallagher approached Craig Richards to ask if the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies might be interested in hosting an exhibit in recognition of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides' 50th anniversary, Richards' response was an enthusiastic yes! Since its formation in 1963, when a group of nine men representing nearly all the certified Mountain Guides in the country at that time gathered in a small electricity-less one-room cabin in Lac des Arcs, Alberta, the ACMG has grown and evolved into one of the world's most highly respected profes‑ sional mountain guiding associations. The first non-European member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the ACMG sets and maintains standards to protect the public interest in mountain travel and climbing. Gallagher, who arrived in Canada via a one-way ticket on a freighter in 1965, was among the first four aspirant guides to be examined on the ACMG's inaugural guide's exam in 1966. The only one of the four to pursue guiding as a full-time profession, Gallagher worked for Hans Gmoser's Canadian Mountain Holidays for two decades, before establishing Kananaskis Country's first-rate public safety and mountain rescue service, which he ran for another two decades, including during the 1988 Winter Olympic events at Nakiska in Alberta's Rockies. While the professional lives of many of the ACMG's founding and early members such as Gallagher comprise fascinating stories, the Whyte Museum's new exhibit, titled Pinnacle Perspectives, is a multi-dimensional exhibit that show‑ cases the accomplishments, skills and talents of not just the early generation of ACMG guides, but contemporary guides as well. "This is a perfect opportunity to help celebrate 50 years of this organization, and it allows us to put up an exhibit," said Richards, who is the Whyte's curator of photography. "It has everything to do with mountains. It builds on the good work of an organization that provides safe travel for people in the mountains, and it also helps celebrate and build a greater appreciation of the mountains." After about 18 months of planning, the exhibit opened on October 18, run‑ ning thru January 26, 2014. "It's a marvellous blend of historic and contemporary," Richards said. "It's morphed from a bunch of different ideas to a varied show, even including 3-D." The exhibit highlights 28 ACMG guides, ranging from several founding members including Hans Gmoser, Hans Schwarz, Eric Lomas and the associ‑ ation's first President, Peter Fuhrmann, who also established Banff National Park's highly respected public safety Mountain Guide Barry Blanchard short-ropes Bonnie Hamilton during the making of The Shining Mountains, Mount Assiniboine, 2004. photo by Rodger Debeyer 20  Alpine Club of Canada Gazette Winter 2013 service, to contemporary guides at the height of their careers in a variety of guiding jobs. For each of them there is a short biography, brief stories and photos. A bonus of the exhibit, Richards said, came when he realized a number of guides were active, talented photog‑ raphers. That discovery led to another arm of the exhibit featuring six images each from eight photographers: Roger Laurilla, Greg Yavorsky, Marc Piché, Pierre Lemire, Sonnie Trotter, Gery Unterasinger, Jen Olson and perhaps fit‑ tingly, Brad White, a veteran member of Banff 's public safety team and descendant of the Whyte family. As well, the exhibit showcases the work of Banff filmmaker Guy Clarkson, who also served as ACMG President from 1984 thru 1989, with the screening of one segment of his exceptional Shining Mountains series. Throughout the exhibit, photos of guides at work taken by fellow guides are interspersed, as well as photos guides have taken while on personal trips in the backcountry. "These are fantastic images of the mountain landscape," Richards said. "Visually, they tell the story of a guide. They're wonderful, really great images." And, adding one more dimension to a dynamic and captivating show, several mannequins portray guides climbing and belaying, including one hanging from the museum ceiling. "I truly think it is an exciting show that really honours 50 years of the ACMG," Richards said. To learn more about the Whyte, visit . In addition to the Whyte exhibit, the ACMG's 50th anniversary celebrations included being honoured as Patron of the 2013 Mountain Guides Ball fundraising extravaganza which took place at Banff 's Rimrock Hotel on Oct. 19 where some 300 ACMG and ACC members celebrated in style. To order a copy of Seizing the Sharp End: 50 Years of the ACMG, writ‑ ten by Gazette Editor Lynn Martel as the seventeenth of the ACC's Summit Series of mountain biographies, visit

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