Calgary

He's established 300 rock climbing routes and now the Banff Centre plans to honour David Smart

He’s been rock climbing for more than four decades, has discovered hundreds of new routes and now a festival at the Banff Centre wants to show him some love.

Founder of Gripped magazine came to Calgary in 1980 for work and better access to the mountains

David Smart has been rock climbing for 43 years. In October, the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival will honour him with its 2019 Summit of Excellence Award. He has 'discovered' 300 previously undocumented routes. (Submitted by David Smart/Rocky Mountain Books)

He's been rock climbing for more than four decades, has developed hundreds of new routes and now a festival at the Banff Centre wants to show him some love.

"It was the opposite of the suburban, conformist lifestyle I was living," David Smart told The Homestretch of his attraction to rock climbing at an early age.

"In rock climbing, people were doing really exciting, crazy things that were beyond the pale. I enjoyed the movement and the adventure of it so much, I was just drawn in completely."

Now 56, Smart started his adventures in upward mobility at 13 near his hometown of Etobicoke, Ont. But he outgrew those mountains over time and moved to Calgary in 1980 for work and for play. He now lives back in Ontario.

"My whole life has been built around climbing," he said.

He's not kidding.

His resume now includes first ascents of more than 300 climbing routes in Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta.

"It's an honour system," Smart said with a laugh.

"It tends not to be that disputed. There are so many people who know absolutely everything about this. If you made something up, they would know."

The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival will honour Smart with its 2019 Summit of Excellence Award in October, which "recognizes an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life in Canada."

In addition to his climbing resume, Smart is an author of numerous books. He also founded Gripped, a popular climbing magazine, where he still serves as editorial director.

And while Smart is honoured by the recognition, he says he climbs for the love of the mountains.

"There are so many," he said.

"I love climbing in the Canmore area ... there are an unlimited number of cliffs. I love Yamnuska, Ha Ling Peak, Mount Rundle. There are so many beautiful huge mountains with rock faces."

With files from The Homestretch

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now