Hiking the High Line

Bill Hurst and the Grizzly Group

Tsar Mountain & Don Forest : August 3, 1972
Tsar Mountain & Don Forest

The Grizzly Group are a legendary group of climbers from the Calgary area- Don Forest, Glen Boles, Lyn Michaud, Mike Simpson and Gordon Scruggs. The Group got their name from a close encounter with a grizzly at the ACC general mountaineering camp at Glacier Lake in 1973.

The group would later include Don`s daughters Sylvia Forest and Kathy Calvert as well as Leon Kubbernus, and Jim Fosti. Kathy Calvert in her biography of her father - Don Forest: A Quest for the Summits - writes, “For Don, though, the Grizzly Group was never an exclusive club. He considered several people to be an extension of the group, including Bill Hurst…” (pg. 93). Don Forest`s quest was to climb all 56 peaks in the Canadian Rockies over 11,000 feet which he completed in 1979. He then set his eyes on the 11,000 foot peaks in the interior ranges and completed climbing these in 1993.

Don Forest served as ACC president, He was the oldest man to summit Mount Logan at age 71, and was awarded a Summit of Excellence award from the Banff Centre 1991. He had been part of the Yukon Centennial Expedition in 1967 on a team that failed to ascend Mount Manitoba. Don passed away in 2003. Since 2004, the ACC issues the Don Forest Award for distinguished service.

Mount Waddington : July 7, 1969.
Mount Waddington

Glen Boles is an excellent mountaineer. He was part of the joint Canadian – American team that climbed Good Neighbour peak on Mount Vancouver during the Yukon Centennial Expedition in 1967. Glen would receive a Summit award from the Banff Centre in 2005.

As mentioned earlier, Bill Hurst climbed with Don Forest at the ACC general camp in 1972. They summited 11,023 ft. Tusk Peak. Bill would be involved with several other expeditions with the Grizzly Group.

On August 8, 1972, Bill and Don and others including Glen Boles ascended Tsar Mountain 11,232 ft. Bill's next climb with Don was at the ACC mountain camp at Mount Robson in 1974. Bill, Don, Mike Simpson, and Gordon Scruggs set out for 11,160 ft. The Helmet. A fierce snowstorm blew in as they neared the summit. Mike and Gord started a descent about 200 feet from the top. Bill and Don pressed on and were successful. At the ACC camp at Haberl Creek in 1975, Don, Bill, Glen Boles and Gordon Scruggs climbed 11,400 ft. Mount King Edward. In the summer of 1976, Bill Hurst would join Don Forest, Sylvia Forest, Glen Boles, and Peter Roxburgh for an ascent on 11,300 ft. Andromeda and summit on July 10th.

Mulvey Basin Hut (Valhalla hut) & Asgard Peak (Mulvey Cone) : August 31, 1969.
Mulvey Basin Hut (Valhalla hut) & Asgard Peak (Mulvey Cone)

Bill would join the Grizzly Group for an ascent of Mount Robson in 1977. Although the ACC was holding a group camp, the party chose to avoid them. Although the weather turned bad, they were able to summit Mount Robson 12,972 ft. on July 25th and made a hasty descent down the mountain.

In the summer of 1978, Bill would join Don Forest, Kathy Calvert, and Vic Bennett to climb Recondite Peak. Unfortunately, poor weather would make an ascent impossible. Later that same summer, Bill would join Don, Rick Hudson, and Frank Campbell for an attempt at Lyell #4. They successfully reached the 11,160 ft. summit on the July 28th.

Bill’s next climb with the Grizzly Group would not be in the Rockies. This one would be on the granite spires of the Bugaboos. In August 1989, Bill, Don, and Glen Boles’ target was the tallest, the 11,148 ft. north tower of Howser Spire. As Bill, recalls in Kathy Calvert’s book, “When reaching the summit at 7:30 pm. We thought for sure we would be spending the night, which wouldn’t have been too bad considering the warmth of the day, but luckily Don knew the east face could be rappelled.” (pg. 188).

Bill’s last climb with Don Forest would be 11,001 ft. Eyebrow Peak in the Starbird ridge area of the Purcells near the Jumbo Pass. Don, Bill, Mike Simpson, Jim Fosti, and Leon Kubbernus were successful on September 9, 1990 after a difficult slog through a canyon and onto the Starbird Glacier.