If you are a climber, you have likely heard of mountain guide Barry Blanchard.
If you are a climber in the Bow Valley, it's almost certain you know of the legendary Blanchard. If you are not a climber and live or spend time in the Bow Valley, you might know Blanchard as a neighbour, a father to your child’s friend or a familiar friendly face at the grocery store.
The 62-year-old Blanchard is so many things to so many people and right now he needs your help.
Blanchard is in hospital after sustaining skull fractures from slipping on some stairs and hitting his head while he was on vacation. He is faced with a difficult recovery.
“Barry is a force of nature and leaves an imprint on anyone he meets,” says Andy Arts, a friend of Blanchard. “For those of us lucky enough to be counted as one of his close friends, he blinds us with his unconditional love. He is kind, patient and calls things as he sees them even to an opinionated blunt human such as me.”
He has made an indelible mark on climbing, and continues to as he is a founding member of Mountain MuskOx, a community focus peer group that uses mentorship and individual experiences to support people who have experienced trauma in the mountains.
Blanchard is adored and admired through his personal connections and the endless “Barry” stories that inspire those he has never met.
Arts said Blanchard is respected in and around the community.
“Watching the respect with which Barry treats others makes you want to be a better person yourself. He’s always excited to hear about your adventures and shares a story about one of his. Barry has always been a warrior, whether it be fighting his way up a climb, fighting demons of the past or fighting to make the world a better place. He’s now in another battle, and he’s getting stronger every day, his story isn’t over yet, he’s got more mountains to climb.”
Arts, along with Ivan Hughes, is working on a documentary on Blanchard.
“He has entrusted me and documentary filmmaker Ivan Hughes with telling his story and we are in the early stages of working on a documentary about his journey.”
For now, Arts is hoping for a successful recovery for Blanchard, but is realistic with his expectations.
“Expect the unexpected, right now, we just don't know what to expect,” says Arts.
To donate to Blanchard’s recovery, visit: Help Barry Recover Go Fund Me.