Hans Gmoser was the founder of modern mountaineering in Canada. Born in Austria in 1932, he came to this country in 1951, and became a major driving force behind the growing popularity of climbing, skiing, and guiding.
In the 1950''s he pioneered new rock climbs, most notably Grillmair Chimneys (1952), Calgary Route (1953), and Diretissima (1957) on Yamnuska. He made the third (and first Canadian) ascents of both Mount Alberta (1958) and Brussels Peak (1960). He participated in what may have been the first ascent of Alaska''s Mount Blackburn in 1958, and led very successful expeditions to Mount Logan (east ridge) in 1959, and to Mount McKinley (Wickeersham Wall) in 1963. In 1964 he climbed a difficult new route on the south face of Mount Louis. He was described as, "a good leader. He always had plans and he did his darndest to make his dreams come true."
Gmoser was a very capable and ambitious mountain guide. For years he travelled throughout North America, presenting his films and devoting vast amounts of energy toward promoting the Canadian mountain experience. In 1963 he was a founding member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and was its first technicial chairman. In 1957 he founded Rocky Mountan Guides which eventually grew to become Canadian Mountain Holidays, the largest mountain adventure operation in the country.
Hans retired to live quietly near Canmore, Alberta, with his wife Margaret. "Looking back, I''ve had a good interesting life. I had my time in the mountains. I had my time as a businessman. So what more can I ask for?"
Gmoser was elected an honourary member of The Alpine Club of Canada (1986), was awarded the Order of Canada (1987), received the Banff Mountain Film Festival Summit of Excellence award (1989), was elected to the Honour Rolll of Canadian Skiing (1989), was named an honourary member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (1992), and in 1997 was elected Honourary President of the ACMG.
-courtesy Chic Scott; "Pushing the Limits"
Sadly, Hans was killed in a cycling accident on the Bow Valley Parkway in July, 2006. A biography, "Deep Powder and Steep Rock," was written by Chic Scott and published in 2009.