Rockies Wisdom: Barry Blanchard (Part 2)

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On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll dive into the final segment of a two-part series with Canadian Rockies legend, Barry Blanchard.

In the first episode, we heard Barry tell stories of his early years in the Canadian Rockies, as well as some of the formative partnerships he developed during that time. We heard about iconic routes like The Andromeda Strain, The North Pillar of North Twin, and the east face of Mount Fay to name a few. But there was one mountain - a mountain that is central to my own climbing career - that I wanted to spend a little more time talking with Barry about. And that majestic peak is Mount Robson.

Rising over 10,000 feet from the Fraser River Valley, Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. It’s also one of the most recognizable mountains in North America, if not the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, hoping to catch a glimpse of it’s frosty summit. But to mountaineers, Robson is much more than a photo opportunity. Rather, it is a sacred destination. I place to test one’s self. All the mountain’s aspects feature classic routes - and some walls, like the Emperor Face - harbor some of the biggest and most challenging lines in North America.

One of these lines is called Infinite Patience - a route Barry established up the right side of the Emperor Face in 2002 with partners Eric Dumerac and Phillipe Pellet.

I asked Barry to talk about his years long obsession with Robson, why the mountain is meaningful to him, and what it took to finally make it up Infinite Patience after years of attempts.

Music by Evan Phillips

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