Summit of Excellence Award

Andy Genereux

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is proud to announce Andy Genereux as the 2023 recipient of the Summit of Excellence Award!

Presented at Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival since 1987, the annual Summit of Excellence Award has recognized an individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life in the Canadian Rockies.  In 2016, the award was expanded to recognize individuals from across Canada.

The list of past recipients read like a "Who's Who" of the Canadian mountain culture scene, and includes a diverse collection of mountaineers, authors, artists, photographers, mountain guides, musicians, teachers, and rescue specialists.  

The award is presented in memory of Calgary climber Bill March, an internationally respected mountaineer, author, and educator, who led Canada's first successful Everest climb in 1982.

Nominate a Summit of Excellence Award recipient today.

2023 Recipient: Andy Genereux

Andy Genereux has created a legacy of rock climbs unparalleled in Western Canada. It all began with his first new route in the Ghost River in 1983 which promptly turned into a plethora of mixed bolted and traditional new routes in the 1980s. From this taste of new routing, Genereux set on a personal journey that would last decades, and he would become one of the main instigators who brought modern-era rock climbing to the Canadian Rockies. 

At a time when there were strong ethical boundaries surrounding the traditional climbing scene and route bolting was hotly debated, Genereux established new crags and areas. Ignoring the naysayers, he ushered in the opportunity for climbers to seek even steeper climbs and higher grades.  Today, his contribution to both the national sport and traditional climbing scene as a pioneer is considered exceptional.  Not only is he recognized through his physical work as a route builder, but as an author and mentor as well.

To date, Genereux has put up over 600 new sport climbs along with hundreds mixed protection traditional routes on several well-known local peaks and crags including Yamnuska, CMC Valley, The Ghost River, Moose Mountain, Carrot Creek, Grotto Canyon and Goat Mountain as well as the nearby Selkirk Mountains.  All told, he has established more than 2000 pitches and he is revered for his ability to see new lines and create safe and accessible climbs.  His commitment and dedication to safety often had him returning to each new route many times to build access trails, remove loose rocks and, in the years that followed, he would regularly replace anchors, maintaining high standards that are part of his personal ethos.

Since his first rock climb on Yamnuska in 1975, Genereux was captivated.  In the years that followed he would put up 40 new multi-pitch routes on Yamnuska alone, including first ascents of famous climbs such as CMC Wall Direct 5.11b, Master Mind 5.11d, Glory Days 5.11c, Direct Mail 5.10c, Mixed Emotions 5.10c and East End Boys 5.12a. At the time of these ascents, 5.11 was considered the hardest grade in the Rockies.  Continuing to drive the evolution and difficulty of the sport, he also created 35 single pitch routes along the base of the mountain. Genereux is also credited for establishing many major alpine rock routes in the Canadian Rockies. A few in particular stand out, The West Face on Mount Robertson 5.11R (650m), The Warrior on Mount Lougheed 5.10X (550m) and Gatzsch Your Goat 5.12a (650m) on Goat Mountain, Drain Game 5.11c, (600m) on Goat Mountain, Mixed Miester 5.11a, (730m) on Goat Slabs.

Genereux is generous with his knowledge and is the author of five guidebooks including Yamnuska Rock: The Crown Jewel of the Canadian Rockies and Ghost Rock: Front Range Rock Climbs Near Calgary, both of which went to multiple editions.  His writing has also appeared in Climbing, Alpinist and Gripped magazines.

When Genereux turned 50 years old in 2010, he made it his mission to climb 50 routes on Yamnuska in a year. Setting aside doubts about the benchmarks of his age, Genereux decided to embrace the challenge and completed 50 routes within the year dodging severe weather and a slow start to the spring climbing season. Genereux is still going strong in his 60s and in 2022 he put up the new nine pitch sport route in the Kahl Wall Area on Yamnuska, No Place for Old Men 5.12.b (290m).  Over the past 25 years his pet project has been the development of new routes on Moose Mountain. The nasty rock in this area has taken many long hours to tame into lead climbing. To date of the 400 plus routes found there, Andy is responsible for 290. This climbing area is close to Calgary, although most of his routes here are moderately difficult for the enjoyment of all. With a lot of work, he still manages to climb new routes with grades up to 5.12- grade.

Nomination Information

Award Logistics

  • One award is given annually
  • An individual or group of individuals is eligible to be nominated
  • An individual may not nominate him/herself

Award Timeline

  • Deadline for nominations is Friday, August 15, 2021.
  • Award will be announced to the public at the end of September

Nomination Guidelines

  • Nominators are encouraged to read profiles of past award winners
  • The volunteer selection committee reviews each nomination individually and considers all information provided to ensure a high degree of fairness, accuracy, and integrity during the judging process.
  • Each nomination should be submitted separately
  • Nominees must have demonstrated long-term commitment in their contribution to mountain life in Canada
  • Nominees may include but are not limited to those making contributions in areas such as mountain sport, mountain environment, mountain culture, mountain art, or mountain science
  • Nominations should clearly describe how the nominee’s accomplishments have significantly benefited the mountain community in Canada
  • Nominations should include descriptions of some or all of the following:
    • level of contribution
    • longevity of service
    • impact to sport/environment/culture/art/science (for example – did the nominee help to elevate their field?)
    • demonstration of excellence
    • peer feedback
    • motivating or inspiring others

 

Sponsors

 
Norseman Outdoor Specialist is pleased to support Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in celebrating mountain life in Canada by sponsoring the 2020 Summit of Excellence Award:
 

"We are honored to be a part of this community of incredible people who share our passion and long-term commitment to understanding, enjoying, and protecting our local mountains.  It is our respect and love for the natural world that compels us to connect with it, as well as to educate and outfit others so they can experience its rewards while understanding the importance of the responsibility we all share in preserving it."

 

 

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