Esther and Martin Kafer


Esther and Martin Kafer arrived in British Columbia in the late 1950s. Avid climbers in their native Switzerland, they took to the wilderness of the Coast Mountains where they made many first ascents. Esther was the first Canadian woman to summit Mt. Waddington, British Columbia’s highest and most difficult peak. Enormously skilled, they readily helped those newer to the mountains and shared their passion with many young mountaineers – including John Clarke. In recognition of their lifetime of service they received Community Achievement Awards in 2007. Now both in their 80’s, they remain active – summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro in September 2012.

Photographic Style

The photographs in this selection capture something of the essence of the high peaks. These are areas inaccessible to those lacking the proper skill, courage and determination. And while these images present the inherent grandeur and danger of these places, they are never ominous or forbidding. Almost always, the human figure is seen, striking out into the wild, finding its way up and through these massive landscapes, or perched on a razor thin ridge. Through these breathtaking snapshots we too can experience something of nature’s grandest theatre.