Helen Sovdat – Patron of the 2015 Mountain Guides Ball

 Getting mileage on Mount Logan’s East Ridge. Helen climbed the ridge in alpine style (five days) with Karl Nagy. Photo by Karl Nagy, 1994.

Getting mileage on Mount Logan’s East Ridge. Helen climbed the ridge in alpine style (five days) with Karl Nagy. Photo by Karl Nagy, 1994.

2015 MGB Patron Helen Sovdat

Helen Sovdat is one of Canada’s finest mountain guides. Her accomplishments as a climber and skier are stunning. She has pioneered long traverses along the crest of the Coast Mounatins. She has stood on nearly all of the peaks in the Canadian Rockies that exceed 11,000 feet (3,353m). She has climbed in the high ranges of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. In Asia she has scaled some of the world’s highest mountains: Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, and Manaslu. Many of these adventures were with members of her loyal legion of clients along.

 A skier meanders across the huge expanse of the Homathko Icefield in the Coast Mountains. Photo by John Baldwin.

A skier meanders across the huge expanse of the Homathko Icefield in the Coast Mountains. Photo by John Baldwin.

 Helen climbing in Eldorado Canyon. Photo by Mike Shaw, 1984.

Helen climbing in Eldorado Canyon. Photo by Mike Shaw, 1984.

 Marg Saul, Karen McNeill, and Helen in expedition wear at Ama Dablam base camp, Nepal, 1996.

Marg Saul, Karen McNeill, and Helen in expedition wear at Ama Dablam base camp, Nepal, 1996.

 In the thin air of Manaslu’s 8,156-metre summit. From top, Mel Proudlock (yellow jacket), Val Pitkethly (red jacket), Helen (blue jacket, with flag), and Tensing Sherpa (green jacket). Picture by Rob Casserley, 2009.

In the thin air of Manaslu’s 8,156-metre summit. From top, Mel Proudlock (yellow jacket), Val Pitkethly (red jacket), Helen (blue jacket, with flag), and Tensing Sherpa (green jacket). Picture by Rob Casserley, 2009.

North America's First Women Guides

In 1996, Helen became the third woman in North America to earn full certification through the ACMG/IFMGA as a mountain guide. She was a leader in a group that broke the mould of North American guiding as an all-male profession. Now, she’s giving back as an ACMG examiner herself. 

 Mountain guides Lilla Molnar, Silvia Forest, Alison Andrews, Jen Olson, and Helen at the 2011 ACMG Annual General Meeting, Canmore. Photo by Ken Bélanger.

Mountain guides Lilla Molnar, Silvia Forest, Alison Andrews, Jen Olson, and Helen at the 2011 ACMG Annual General Meeting, Canmore. Photo by Ken Bélanger.

It's dress up Time!

The ACC and the ACMG have been hosting the Guides Ball for 26 years now and sometimes we forget that not everyone in the mountain community knows about it and has it on their calendar. If you’re new to it, it goes like this:

The Annual Mountain Guides Ball is a proud tradition of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). The event brings together members of the mountain community to celebrate our shared mountain culture and raises funds for various worthy causes. Each year a patron is honoured for their long-time contribution to Canada’s mountain community, and new mountain guides are awarded their hard-earned IFMGA pins from the guides’ association. The evening will be a total blast.

 Helen would love to see you at the Guides Ball! Photo by Thierry Levenq.

Helen would love to see you at the Guides Ball! Photo by Thierry Levenq.

Dining, Dancing, and a Silent Auction

Saturday, October 24 is the date and the Rimrock Hotel in Banff is the site of the big party. There’s a cocktail reception at 4:00 pm as the silent auction opens and Helen will be giving a slide show for those who want to see her photos and hear stories from her travels. Dinner is a gourmet affair, followed by a ceremony for the “pinning” of the new guides. Helen will be honoured by both the ACC and the ACMG.

The silent auction is one of the evening’s main events with people bidding on and sometimes battling over 100 fabulous auction items, including mountain artwork, gear, clothing, trips and more. The evening’s final hours are spent socializing in the Great Room and dancing to an energetic live band.

The full schedule for the evening is online at our Mountain Guides Ball page. Dust off your ball gown, or suit and put on your dancing shoes!