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Heinz Kahl

(1933-1966)

Leo Grillmair recalled that Heinz Kahl, "was the happiest character I've ever seen." Don Vockeroth remembered his "tremendous enthusiasm." It brought a greate sorrow to the climbing community when he died fo leukemia when only 33 years old.

Kahl came to Canada from Germany in 1955. With his friend Peter Fuhrmann he first settled in Edmonton, but soon moved to Banff where he worked for the government on highway construction. He was already an experienced climber when he arrived, and in Canada he found a land of opportunities. He wa a dreamer and always had plans for new climbs. His finest routes were on Yamnuska: Diretissima in 1957, and Red Shirt and Chockstone Corner in 1962 and 1963. In 1958 he made the third ascent of Mount Alberta.

He was a founding member of the ACMG (the inaugural meeting took place at his cabin near Lac des Arcs), and with Hans Gmoser formed Rocky Mountain Guides which eventually grew to become Canadian Mountain Holidays.

Heinz Kahl fought his illness right to the end. In the summer of 1966 he made an attempt on the north face of Mount Temple with Charlie Locke and Brian Greenwood, but was too weak to continue. Just the day before he died he could still be found on the ski hill.

"Kahl Wall" on Yamnuska and Mount Kahl (unofficial) are named in his honour.

-courtesy Chic Scott; "Pushing the Limits"