New heights: Pioneering climber and route builder Andy Genereux to obtain Summit of Excellence Award in Banff

Article content material

In August 2022, Any Genereux had what he calls “in all probability the very best day of climbing in 10 years.”

The 63-year-old veteran climber was ending a brand new, 300-metre, nine-pitch sport route on Yamnuska. He had one other climber with him, who was at the least 20 years his junior.

Article content material

The previous Calgary fireman had begun constructing the route in 2019, however confronted varied delays: There was the pandemic, in fact, which shut down the mountain to climbers altogether. Then there have been some path closures.

Commercial 2

Article content material

It was not a straightforward climb, even for 2 veterans. However Genereux says he felt energized by the expertise.

“I used to be driving us again to Calgary and I’m nonetheless feeling an adrenaline excessive,” says Genereux. “He was crashing within the truck. It was a really troublesome route. I obtained dwelling and I jumped in my scorching tub and had a beer and I went from feeling 45 to feeling about 90 in about 10 minutes. I used to be wrecked. I referred to as him up, he’s a firefighter and was at work the subsequent day, and mentioned ‘How are you doing in the present day?’ He goes, ‘I’m wonderful.’ I used to be a multitude for 5 days. It took me 5 days to get better. I put out my most effort. Like I mentioned, it was in all probability my finest day of climbing in 10 years. What I did that day, how nicely I climbed, how onerous I climbed — it was nearly a 300-metre route with 9 lengthy pitches of pretty troublesome, technical climbing. I used to be fairly happy [but] I used to be fairly trashed.”

When it got here to naming the brand new Yamnuska sport route, he determined upon a considerably self-deprecating moniker: No Place for Previous Males.

“It was fairly applicable as a result of I used to be the outdated man and possibly I shouldn’t have been up there however I nonetheless was,” he says, in an interview with Postmedia from his Calgary dwelling.

Article content material

Commercial 3

Article content material

It goes to indicate that just about 50 years into his life as a pioneering climber, route builder, writer and mentor, Genereux stays devoted to the game he started as a Bishop Carroll Excessive Faculty pupil again in 1975.

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Genereux might be awarded the 2023 Summit of Excellence Award on the Jenny Belzberg Theatre as a part of the Banff Centre Mountain Movie and Ebook Competition.

Andy Genereux
Andy Genereux in 1989. Courtesy, Andy Genereux. jpg

Genereux is being awarded for a “legacy of rock climbs unparalleled in Western Canada” and is considered one of many “essential instigators who introduced fashionable mountain climbing to the Canadian Rockies.” He’s credited with placing up greater than 600 new sport climbs and tons of of conventional routes on a variety of peaks, together with CMC Valley, the Ghost River and Grotto Canyon. However his first climb, in 1975, was additionally on Yamnuska.

Genereux was a highschool athlete who gained provincial championships in wrestling and performed soccer. However he quickly found climbing was his real love.

“I used to be actually lucky, I obtained launched to (climbing) in highschool,” he says. “I went to high school right here in Calgary. It was a novel highschool, Bishop Carroll. They’d an open-learning model and never structured school rooms. We obtained to do an entire lot of actions exterior of college and quite a lot of them I don’t assume we might get away with in the present day however again then we did.”

Commercial 4

Article content material

“Climbing was all the time within the background,” he provides. “I by no means fairly give up it. Different sports activities got here and went, however climbing stayed.”

Whereas Genereux has travelled the world for climbing, he has tended to remain in his “yard” in terms of creating new routes. His first was within the Ghost River space in 1982. He has since put up 40 new multi-pitch routes on Yamnuksa alone and established a variety of main alpine rock routes within the Canadian Rockies. He has additionally written 5 guidebooks, together with a number of editions of Yamnuska Rock: The Crown Jewel of the Canadian Rockies and Ghost Rock: Entrance Vary Rock Climbs Close to Calgary.

He’s additionally thought-about a mentor to a variety of youthful climbers. It has turn into a really completely different world within the final 50 years, he says.

“After I first began climbing in ’75, there have been possibly 300 climbers within the Calgary, Banff space and in the present day there’s in all probability 15,000,” he says. “The game has grown. There have been no climbing gyms again then. There actually wasn’t a lot coaching so that you simply went climbing, however there weren’t many climbs on the market. By my first two years, I had climbed just about all the pieces that was obtainable to me.”

Commercial 5

Article content material

When Genereux turned 50, he challenged himself to climb 50 routes on Yamnuska in a 12 months, which he accomplished. For the reason that late Nineteen Nineties, he has been answerable for 290 of the 400 routes discovered on Moose Mountain.

“Loads of my routes, I believe, over time have confirmed to be actually in style as a result of they’re good climbs,” he says. “I see stuff. It’s somewhat bit like an artist, I see strains within the rock and say ‘I believe that might make a pleasant climb’ and make it occur. For probably the most half, what I visualize earlier than I even begin making an attempt the route works out the way in which I see it. It’s some little innate means to see stuff like that. Not all people appears to have that.”

The Banff Centre Mountain Movie and Ebook Competition runs from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5. Go to

Article content material


Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a full of life however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback could take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the location. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We have now enabled e mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an e mail when you obtain a reply to your remark, there may be an replace to a remark thread you comply with or if a person you comply with feedback. Go to our Group Tips for extra data and particulars on the way to modify your e mail settings.

    Commercial 1