William (Bill) Albert Perry
William (Bill) Albert Perry was born on July 15, 1941, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The next year the family moved to New England where at an early age Perry began exploring the Berkshire Hills of Northwestern Connecticut. At fifteen he made a week long trip into the Green Mountains of Vermont with a friend and the following year another week long trip in New Hampshire's White Mountains. It was also during his high school years that he became interested in cross country skiing which he has pursued throughout his life.
In 1960 Perry went to Middlebury College in Vermont then from 1961 to 1964 he attended the University of New Hampshire where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. While there he joined the University of New Hampshire Outing Club and became involved in rock climbing and hiking in the Northern Appalachians. In 1962, while at university, he went out west to Oregon to work for the US Forestry Service for the summer. At the end of that summer he did some climbing in the Cascades and Tetons while on his way home to continue his schooling.
After graduating he went out to Washington State where he worked in logging on the rigging crew as a chokerman. This gave him some sense of what real logging work was about or as Perry said "the grunt work" before he moved on to his chosen profession in forestry. Before that happened, however, he spent two years in the US Army (1965 to 1967) stationed in Northern Bavaria, Germany. He was rifle platoon leader and later the Officer-in-Charge of battalion supply and logistics but his climbing skills allowed him to supervise the training of a US army battalion in rock climbing and rope techniques. While in Europe he climbed in the Alps and foothills of Southern Bavaria and the Wilder Kaiser Range of the Austrian Tirol. He camped for two days within view of the Matterhorn (snowed-in) and at one point stood briefly at the base of the North Face of the Eiger - before being driven off by the constant clatter of rock-fall.
After returning home to New England, Perry decided to look for work out on the west coast and a friend suggested he contact the forestry products company MacMillan Bloedel in Vancouver. In 1968 he moved to Nanaimo. He worked for MacBlo on Vancouver Island for twenty-eight years as a forester specializing in silverculture, until taking early retirement in 1997. He then went into private Forestry Consulting which he still does to the present.
Once on the island a friend introduced him to the Island Mountain Ramblers. This club soon put experience in training climbers to good use. In the spring of 1971 Perry spent a couple of days teaching ropes skills on the rock cliffs at Piper's Lagoon near Nanaimo and soon gained the respect of many of the members. There was a core of respected climbers such as Ralph Hutchinson, Roger Neave and Syd Watts that he did trips with but there was also a group of young climbers who were soon to make their mark on island climbing in the 1970's that he climbed with: Joe Bajan, Mike Walsh, Ron Facer and Franz Bislin.
One of his first climbs on the island was Elkhorn in late March 1970, which was made in winter conditions but officially one day out of the winter time frame. This climb was made with Bryan Lee, Carl Lund and Brian Foan. Perry made nine trips over the years into the MacKenzie Range making first ascents of Shadowblade in 1972 with Mike Walsh and Flat-top in 1973 with Al Harrison. On July 2, 1971 he made the second ascent of Mount Colonel Foster with Mike Walsh. Although they tried to make a traverse of all the summits they missed out on the North Tower because of time. After the ascent of Mount Colonel Foster in 1971, Perry went out to the Rockies and climbed the Hourglass Route on Mount Robson with Bryan Lee, Ralph Hutchinson, Ron Facer and Roger Neave, and Mount Assiniboine with Franz Bislin, and Carl and Carolynn Lund. Unfortunately Carl Lund died in a climbing accident on Huascaran in Peru in 1974 and Bill Perry lost a close friend. In 1972 he went back and climbed Colonel Fosters North Tower with Ralph Hutchinson, Joe Bajan and Ron Facer, and then Victoria and Warden Peak's with Franz Bislin. In 1975 he went on an expedition to the North Baird Glacier on the Stikine Icecap with Ralph Hutchinson, Roger Neave, Bob Tustin, Franz Bislin and Mike Walsh. Their main objective was the unclimbed Mount Noel, however, the weather wasn't cooperative and they failed on their attempt but managed to climb several smaller unclimbed peaks in the area.
Bill Perry has continued
to lead many trips for both the Island Mountain Ramblers and the Alberni
Valley Outdoor Club (AVOC) for nearly forty years including ascents of
Mount Baker and Shasta in the States and many of the lesser mountains
on the island. Bill can also be found teaching cross country skiing up
on Mount Washington where he lives during the winter. In 2002 Perry finally
got to the Himalayas where he trekked with Tom Carter in the Solo Khumbu
region of Nepal. Bill Perry also writes songs and poems and willing performs
them while on trips and in the company of friends.
"Island Climbing Team Records First Ascent." Nanaimo Daily Free Press. [Nanaimo, BC.] (August 12, 1974.) p. 13.
Perry, Bill. "Rock School at Piper's Lagoon." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. No 7, January 1972. p. 3-4.
Perry, Bill. "Foster Flashes." Canadian Alpine Journal. Vol. 55. The Alpine Club of Canada. Banff, Alberta. 1972. p. 56.
Hutchinson, Ralph. "North Baird Rambles." Canadian Alpine Journal. Vol. 58. The Alpine Club of Canada. Banff, Alberta. 1972. p. 68-70.
Perry, Bill. "Squamish Chief." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. No. 8, January 1973. p. 6.
Perry, Bill. "Mount Colonel Foster, North Peak." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. No. 8, January 1973. p. 8-9.
Perry, Bill. "Warden and Victoria Peak." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. No. 8, January 1973. p. 14-15.
Perry, Bill. "Mount Moriarty." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. No. 8, January 1973. p. 15.
Perry, Bill. "The Mackenzie Range." Timberline Tales. Published by the Island Mountain Ramblers. Nanaimo, B.C. 1974-75. p. 14-15.
July 31, August 1-2, 1977. From Bill Perry.
flow, sweet and slow,
By Bill Perry