There is no happiness for him
who does not travel!
Thus we have heard.
Living in the society of men, even the best man becomes a sinner.
The fortune of him who is sitting, sits.
It rises when he rises.
It sleeps when he sleeps.
It moves when he moves.
the Rigveda (800-600 BC)
Baiba & Pat
Jumbo Pass, B.C.'s Purcell range
© Alex Mowat 2010
Visit Keep Jumbo Wild to see how you can help avert an industrial ski resort and real estate disaster planned for our backyard.
We are mountain people: we like climbing them, exploring them, sleeping
beneath their majestic ramparts under a blanket of stars, and living among the
ancient tribes that have carved out a life in their harsh shadows. While our
professional experiences reach far beyond the mountain world, we concentrate our
efforts there. In the process, we have become masters at combining what we love
doing with earning a livelihood.
It all began with a still camera, pen and notebook, and an old green van in the
mid-70s; it continues today with that same wandering eye and crazy sensibility,
except our tools have changed. Video camera, laptop and Aeroplan points
get us where we want to go these days.
Pat's photographic career took off when he scaled Mount Everest in 1982 as the
photographer for Canada's first and widely publicized expedition to that
mountain. With the unwavering support of Equinox Magazine, he continued a global
climbing spree to the highest peak on every continent. By 1986, he reached the
summit of Irian Jaya's Carstensz Pyramid, thus completing the Seven Summits project. His book, Beyond Everest: Quest for the Seven Summits, documents
that hallmark adventure. In recognition of these achievements, he received the
Order of Canada in 1988 and the Summit of Excellence at the 1990 Banff Mountain
Baiba's journalistic background developed more unconventionally. After
university, she moved west from Montreal to work as an occupational therapist in
a children's hospital. There, in the Rockies, she met and married Pat and, with
no formal training in writing or photography, embraced the unpredictable
lifestyle of a freelance photojournalist. Her mother has long since stopped
asking her when will she get a real job.
Not many couples manage the challenges of working and playing together
(balancing the fiery mix of ego and character), but we've managed to forge a
career together and still stay best buddies. We are based in the hamlet of Wilmer, B.C., overlooking the Columbia River Wetlands, home to the critical Pacific Avian Flyway. Our base acts as a launch pad
for our global jaunts and the Purcell and Rocky mountains in our back yard magnanimously provide both inspiration
In the early 70s, Pat joined forces with local environmental activists to help establish the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. Today he and Baiba lend their support to Wildsight conservation efforts aimed at mitigating the destructive forces of industrial tourism development and extractive industries in the Purcell Mountain range and neighbouring Rockies. As of 2010, Baiba sits on the board of directors of Wildsight.
In 2010, the Alpine Club of Canada and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides bestowed the tremendous honour of inviting Pat to be the patron of the 21st Annual Mountain Guide's Ball (in 2013, Pat was delighted to receive honorary membership in the ACC). Not only was it a great party, but the funds raised went straight into Wildsight's Education in the Wild program, which takes school kids up to grade 12 on cool ecology field trips in the Purcell and Rocky Mountain watershed with professional instructors.
David Suzuki applauds the program: “Reconnecting our children with our natural surroundings is what makes
the Wildsight educational programs so valuable to children and parents
in the Columbia Basin.”
A Journalism graduate of SAIT Polytechnic in 1974, in 2010 the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology honoured Pat with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Thompson Rivers University awarded Pat an Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) during Fall Convocation in Kamloops, BC on Oct. 10, 2014. Pat has had a long-time professional and personal relationship with the Adventure Studies Department, having developed the department's annual week-long Adventure Photography course and taught the first 12 years of these courses.
To view a 2007 Canadian Geographic magazine profile of Pat & Baiba, go to their Adventure Zone page, and also a lovely review of our Heart of the Himalaya eBook. And a profile of us on Gregor Wilson's Some Good Adventure blog. Nice story and video on SAIT’s Website.
Pat with TRU Chancellor Wally Oppal at convocation. © Alexis Stockford 2014
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