Canada’s mountain guides celebrate 50 years of excellence
In 1961, Peter Fuhrmann, a German climber working in Banff, arranged to take his professionalmountain guide’s exam with Walter Perren, the Swiss mountain guide heading Parks Canada’s public safety program.
In Canada, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) in 1885 lured mountaineers west. In 1897, friends of Phillip Stanley Abbot, who died climbing Mount Lefroy the previous summer, hired Switzerland’s Peter Sarbach—the first professional guide to work in Canada. In 1899, CP began employing Swiss guides to lead its hotel guests to summits in the Rockies and Selkirks, a program that continued until the early 1950s. Perren was one of CP’s last guides.
Since then, the ACMG has steadily evolved, expanding to encompass mountain, hiking and climbing gym programs. In addition to safely guiding mountaineers around the world, today’s ACMG guides work as highway safety technicians, avalanche experts, coroner’s consultants, army instructors and as riggers for Hollywood productions. Under the direction of Fuhrmann (who succeeded Perren) and Jasper’s Willi Pfisterer, they also developed Parks Canada’s world-class public safety program.
From traversing the Wapta Icefields to backpacking in Jasper to climbing in Mongolia, ACMG guides are trained and eager to make your adventure dreams reality.
Top photo from the 1967 ACMG guides course includes, back row, from left, Don Vockeroth, Ottmar Setzer, Bob Geber, John Gow, Charlie Locke and Bernie Royle. Seated in the front row, from left, are Leo Grillmair, Lloyd Gallagher, Hans Gmoser, Peter Fuhrmann and Hans Schwartz. Credit: Chic Scott collection.