Don Forest

Don Forest, mountaineer (b 1920; d 2003). Don Forest did not begin serious mountaineering until his forties even though he had an interest in the outdoors throughout his life. Some of his earliest climbs were done with Gmoser and Grillmair in the early 1960s.

Forest, Don

Don Forest, mountaineer (b 1920; d 2003). Don Forest did not begin serious mountaineering until his forties even though he had an interest in the outdoors throughout his life. Some of his earliest climbs were done with Gmoser and Grillmair in the early 1960s. By 1965 Forest was well on his demanding way to be the first Canadian to climb the 11000ers (peaks over 3353 m) in the Rockies, and few climbed as many peaks in the Rockies throughout the 1960s to 1980s . Forest was one of the backbone members of the fabled 'Grizzly Group,' a group of mountaineering soul friends, and his own stamina, skills and endurance were legendary.

The final ascent of the 11000ers in the Rockies was completed in 1979, and Forest set his eyes on new sights, the Interior Ranges of BC. Forest had, by 1993, been the first to climb the 11000ers in the Canadian Rockies and the Interior Ranges. He also set another Canadian climbing record in 1991, in an expedition led by Chic Scott, when he became the oldest person (age 71) to reach the West Summit of Mount Logan.

Forest was also interested in canoeing, caving and horse trips. In 1983, he went down the turbulent waters of the NAHANNI RIVER in the Northwest Territories, and in 1975 Forest had the opportunity to join Gary Pilkington in the caves (Gargantua) in the Crowsnest Pass. Forest's daughters, Kathy and Sylvia, were with him on many of his trips, and both women have played significant roles in both the mountaineering and Warden Service in Canada. Forest also worked with the ALPINE CLUB OF CANADA and the Calgary Mountain Club. He was the President of the ACC in 1975, and in 1979, Forest became the President of the Calgary Mountain Club.

Forest was very much at home when he was on skis, and it was when he was in his mountain backyard on skis that he had a fatal heart attack and died. The Canadian mountaineering community lost one of its finest and best with the passing of Don Forest.


Further Reading

  • Kathy Calvert, Don Forest: A Biography: Quest for the Summits (2003).