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Mountaineer’s Soiree promises to be the peak of good times

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Mountain enthusiasts are being offered a special treat at this year’s Mountaineer’s Soiree Dec. 7.

World-renowned ice climber and alpine mountaineer Barry Blanchard will be on hand to chat and to present his show Among the Greater Ranges.

Considered Canada’s greatest alpinist, Blanchard spends his time travelling the world in search of adventure on high alpine faces.

He has tackled peaks in Asia eight times, including trips to Everest, K2 and the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat.

Most recently he added three first ascents in the Mt. Alverstone area of the St. Elias to his list of climbs.

The Soiree will raise money for both the Brian Ebert Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Jim Haberl Hut Project.

"There are a lot of guides who base out of Whistler so this helps support their livelihood," said Sue Oakey one of the organizers of the soiree.

Oakey is also leading the project team building the Haberl Hut. To date about $50,000 has been raised. Its hoped the hut will be partially constructed this spring in Vancouver and then moved to its new home in the Tantalus range later in the year.

Jim Haberl, Oakey’s husband, died in an avalanche in Alaska in 1999.

They both loved to explore the Serratus-Dione col near Tantalus Provincial Park, the proposed site of the new stone and wood hut, which will sleep 16.

Money will be raised for both projects through ticket sales and a silent auction.

"There are some really fabulous things at the silent auction," said Oakey.

They include mountain gear, mountain art, books, guided trips and more.

Getting guiding certification is an expensive undertaking so having a scholarship fund available is really helpful.

Whistler boasts some of the best guides in the country. They test their skills all year round on ice climbs, heli and backcountry skiing and rock climbing.

The last soiree raised about $5,000.

Tickets are available at The Escape Route in Whistler, Valhalla Pure in Squamish and the Alpine Club of Canada in Vancouver (604-921-2651).

If you buy the tickets in advance they are $8. At the door they’re $10.

It all takes place at Myrtle Philip school starting at 7 p.m.

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