John Hartman (1950 – , Canadian)

Don Gardner

Don Gardner

Gift of John Hartman, Tiny, 2017

From a series painted to commemorate Canadian alpinists. Don Gardner was one of the team of four to successfully traverse from Jasper to Lake Louise via the Great Divide for the first time in 1967. Gardner, a native Calgarian and the son of famed alpinist Hans Gmoser’s doctor, grew up skiing and climbing in the Rockies. Having successfully completed the first winter traverse of Mount Rundle from Banff to Canmore in 1961 and the first winter accent of Mount Assiniboine later in 1967, Gardener was the natural choice for this expedition’s gear man. Ignoring everything Gmoser did on his failed 1960 attempt at the Great Divide, Gardener opted for light wood touring skis, no skins, and packs that weighed only 45lbs (compared to Gmoser’s 66lbs bags). The four men shared ropes, two ice axes, and one avalanche shovel between them and regularly had to reapply wax to their skis. Halfway through the trip Gardner left the crew just south of the Columbia Icefield to hitchhike to Calgary for a job interview; upon learning it had been delayed, he hitched back and rejoined the group near Bow Lake. True to form, after the expedition Gardner hitched back to Calgary, presumably for that job interview.