Friends and fellow guides describe the late Marcus Wybrow, 29, as passionate, hardworking, skilled and giving.
Wybrow, an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) apprentice guide, died following an avalanche while climbing with his girlfriend in Kananaskis, Alta. on Nov. 11.
"Despite having avalanche gear with them, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was swept off his feet into a terrain feature, resulting in a deeper burial," said Kyle Skidmore, one of Wybrow's closest friends in Squamish, in an email.
Skidmore met Wybrow in the spring of 2019 during a Canadian Avalanche Association course in Revelstoke.
‘Making Squamish home’
That summer, Wybrow moved to Squamish and lived in a tent for the season, joining the local community of climbers.
Skidmore and Wybrow, an Ontario native, re-connected and shared their love of climbing.
Then they became roommates.
"I offered him space in my basement that he could live in over the winter in exchange for labour to renovate my basement into a suite," Skidmore recalled.
"Not only an aspiring guide at the time, he was also an apprentice carpenter and would do the odd job on the side for some extra cash."
In 2020, Wybrow earned his ACMG apprentice rock guide certificate.
Skidmore and Wybrow spent the next few years living together and climbing.
"We became very close and Marcus and I had a brotherly relationship," Skidmore said.
"Our other housemate Monte and I would give Marcus a hard time and pushed his guiding skills and mentored him to becoming a well-respected ACMG apprentice alpine guide, one of only a few on the coast," Skidmore said.
Wybrow taught some avalanche safety training courses and was very knowledgeable in the mountains, Skidmore, and others who knew him, told The Squamish Chief.
“I’m sure the feeling is unanimous that we were all very fortunate to get to know him and be able to work with him over the past few years," said Monte Johnston, of BlackSheep Adventures and Ross Berg of Altus Mountain Guides, in a joint statement emailed to The Squamish Chief. Wybrow worked for both companies.
"We were always impressed by his passion for the mountains, for guiding and for teaching and for sharing that passion with his clients. He was such a great person that enriched all our lives, and he will obviously leave a big mark on the community and our industry with his passing," said Paul Vidalin, president of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, in a news release.
"You would often find Marcus spending his free time prospecting and cleaning new rock routes or in the mountains looking for adventure," he said. "Always bubbling with infectious energy and enthusiasm, it was hard not to get excited about the mountains with him around.”
Vidalin noted that Wybrow completed the adventure guide diploma program at Thompson Rivers University and then had “set his eyes on becoming an ACMG mountain guide and had been working towards that goal ever since. Dedicated to learning, he was a very thoughtful and conscientious guide and an amazing instructor.”
‘Faithful and caring’
While Wybrow moved out from their shared home after Skidmore became a dad to twins in May of 2021, he was a "loving uncle" to the children, Skidmore noted.
Wybrow attended church weekly and volunteered his time at the local shelter.
"I can't think of a more loving, positive, caring and giving individual. He was always passionate for whatever he was doing, always with a smile on his face. He would brighten a room whenever he would walk in," Skidmore said.
"He had a magical way of listening to you that made you feel like the most important person in the room and he would remember details of conversations from months ago that made you feel important," Skidmore added.
"I loved him like a brother and he will be greatly missed."
Vidalin said Wybrow had an endearing way of taking what people said quite literally that could make him seem quite innocent.
"Marcus was genuine and cared deeply about the people in his life and always made time to lend a hand," Vidalin said.
"Dedicated to learning, he was a very thoughtful and conscientious guide and an amazing instructor. The loss of Marcus will leave a large void in our community."
How you can help those left behind
A “Marcus Wybrow” GoFundMe has been created to help with funeral expenses and a memorial.
Any additional funds will be donated to the climbing community through the Squamish Access Society and the Squamish Bolt Fund “so that Marcus’ generous spirit may continue to give joy to those who love the mountains,” said Skidmore.
A Squamish celebration of life is being planned, but details were not yet firmed up by press time. Please refer to the GoFundMe page for updates on that event.