Video: Guy Lacelle, Legend

Posted on: December 23, 2009

Earlier this month, Guy Lacelle (54) died in an avalanche in Hyalite Canyon, Montana. The Canadian climber and silviculturist, who dedicated his life to these crafts, had scaled more ice than anyone in ice-climbing history. Every year he traveled the globe, searching walls, canyons and corners for the finest, wildest ice on earth.

But perhaps more telling than his climbing accomplishments—which are many, including extreme link-ups like Terminator, Sea of Vapors and the Replicant and Weeping Pillar and Polar Circus—was his attitude: soft-spoken and thoughtful, yet proficient and unshakable. He made a quiet impression on those he met, climbers and nonclimbers alike.


Lacelle died while competing in the Ice Breaker Competition of the Bozeman Ice Festival. Though tragic, some might consider the timing of his passing providential.

Guy died, climbing ice, in the wilderness, off the trail. The Ice Breaker pairs locals and pros with camaraderie and fun in mind more than competition. And rather than center the action in a hooked-out ice amphitheater, the Ice Breaker awards climbing remotely; it celebrates the backcountry experience. It's as though the competition took a cue from the role model's codebook.

Dozens upon dozens of climbers in Bozeman—competitors, festivalgoers and friends—that day and the next helped organize a celebration of Guy's life. The result was an emotional but heartening gathering that shook not only the climbers in attendance, but those in the greater community, those who had heard that a legend, in life, was no more.

Thanks to The Oracle Film Group, especially producer Ari Novak, J.B. Waterman and Jessica Tuffley, who produced this short film exclusively for Learn more about Oracle at

Next week, in this space, Alpinist will post an exclusive video feature of Guy Lacelle climbing ice in Norway. Read more about Guy in Solo, Part III: Guy Lacelle, an interview with the legend published July 9, 2008.

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I agree with above statement. The problem with climbing is there always has to be some contrived goal to make it a first, this is what people from the big city seem to do, have a need to seperate themselves from the millions of others.

I met Guy, and he was very nice and soft spoken, what a tragedy.

2010-05-06 21:33:55

..."And rather than center the action in a hooked-out ice amphitheater, the Ice Breaker awards climbing remotely; it celebrates the backcountry experience"...

I disagree: promoting an event that awards "the most ice climbed in one day" is not a "backcountry experience" but a set-up for stupidity and created an unnecessary risk by having multiple parties in the same gulley. This was a preventable accident.

It's a shame to lose a man like Guy to something stupid like a snow slide created by climbers above in the quest to climb "the most ice in a day".

RIP Guy, I will miss your quiet energy, wit and inspiration to live life to it's fullest.

2010-01-10 21:25:28
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