2019 MGB Patron and Coast Mountain Legend, John Baldwin


Editor’s Note - Each year at the Mountain Guides Ball, the ACC and ACMG name a Patron who is recognized and honoured for their contributions to our mountain community. Recent Patrons include Bernadette McDonald, Peter Amann, Chic Scott, Helen Sovdat and Mike & Heather Mortimer.

This year we honour John Baldwin, accomplished mountaineer, explorer and author.

For more on John Baldwin, you can pick up the 2019 Summit Series book (available on our online store after the 2019 Mountain Guides Ball).

The following are exerts from A Life in the Wild, the 2019 Summit Series Book, written by Chic Scott.

An Introduction on John

John Baldwin has spent his life in a quest to experience and know the west coast wilderness. Since his teenage years he has explored the rugged Coast Mountain Range, making perhaps one hundred multi-week, long-distance forays across the icefields and along the ridges of what is one of the last true wilderness areas on earth. He has climbed about 700 mountains, many of them first ascents, traversed dozens of icefields, travelled along granite crests high above the forests and inlets and spent several hundred days and nights hunkered down in a tent sitting out storms. John is a great mountaineer, shunning the easy path and forging his own way through some of the roughest geography on the planet. He is a mountaineer and explorer of the first order.

John above a sea of clouds near Mt Cain, Vancouver Island, 2012. Photo Linda Bily

Brian Sheffield and John on the summit of Klinaklini Pk, Klinaklini Glacier behind, 1982. Photo Graham Underhill

John is also a researcher, photographer and writer of excellence and has made the land that he loves accessible to tens of thousands of people. His guidebook, Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis has sold about twenty thousand copies and together with his topographic route maps for ski touring has opened the door to wilderness travel on skis for several generations of adventurers. His two coffee table books, Mountains of the Coast and Soul of Wilderness have shown us the incredible beauty to be found in the mountains north of Vancouver all the way to Alaska. John’s wonderful photography and eloquent writing urges us to honour and preserve this unspoiled land. On top of all that, John is simply a very nice man: polite, considerate, intelligent and friendly. Over the years he has drawn about him a group of skilled mountaineers who respect his leadership and eagerly participate in his adventures. John has become the embodiment of the west coast ethic of simple and environmentally responsible exploration and has become an icon for mountaineers around the continent. John Baldwin is a worthy Patron of the 2019 Mountain Guides Ball. For me it has been a great honour to research and write this book about a very unique Canadian. I hope that John’s example will inspire many other young mountaineers to follow their dreams and immerse themselves in the beauty of our natural world.

An idyllic childhood

John headed off on one of his early overnight trips with the Boy Scouts. His dog Oscar is seeing him off.

John Baldwin grew up on the edge of the wild. The family home in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, fronted onto Deer Lake and was surrounded by woods. Large windows in the home revealed a local miniwilderness, a place that John would always call home. John remembered “It was a great placed to be a kid. The lake was about a mile long and surrounded by forest and bush. It was a little oasis in greater Vancouver.”

… to learn more about the Coast Mountains and John, pick up a copy of the 2019 Summit Series book at the 2019 Mountain Guides Ball, or order a copy from the ACC after the night of the Ball.

2019 Mountain Guides Ball & Summit Bid

John will be giving a presentation at this year’s Mountain Guides Ball - about his life of adventure and the beautiful Coast Mountains. Additionally, John and his partner Linda Bily have generously donated several canvas prints of their photography, books and maps to the Summit Bid auction, which you can view and bid on right now.

Each year the ACC publishes a book to honour our MGB Patron; this is our Summit Series. John’s book will be handed out to all attendees at the event and will be available online afterwards for those wishing to learn more about John.

A night to celebrate mountain culture

The Mountain Guides Ball is an annual gala event of The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) that brings together the mountain community to celebrate our mountain culture and raise funds for the ACC’s Environment Fund.

Things you can expect from this year’s event:

  • A presentation from MGB Patron, John Baldwin

  • Access to view and bid on items from The Summit Bid

  • Award ceremony for new mountain guides

  • A gourmet dinner from the Rimrock

  • … socializing and dancing!

Date: Oct 19th, 2019.