OTD: Mountaineer Yves LaForest becomes first Québecer to climb Everest

On today’s date in 1991, mountaineer Yves LaForest became the first Québecer to complete the ascent of Mount Everest, which is 8,850 metres above sea level in Nepal and China.

The world’s tallest summit above sea level, the famous mountain straddles the China-Nepal border and is often referred to as “the roof of the world.” Its other names include “Sagarmatha” (or “Mother of the Universe” in Nepali) and “Chomolungma” (or “Goddess Mother of the Snows” in Tibetan).

LaForest is an alpinist, engineer, motivational speaker, author and educator who was born in Montréal on March 26, 1956.

An official first-day cover was serviced with a cancellation from Haines Junction, Yukon.


In 2002, Canada Post released a 48-cent stamp (Scott #1960) as part of its “Mountains” issue.

“Mountains have served as a source of spiritual inspiration, a gathering place for cultural and recreational activities, and a means by which climbers can challenge their own physical limits,” reads the Crown corporation’s Details magazine (Vol. 11, #4). “In celebration of these grand geological wonders and their surrounding ecosystems, the year 2002 has been named the International Year of Mountains as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly.”

Issued in panes of eight domestic-rate stamps – then 48 cents – the set features summits located around the world. These include:

  • Mount Logan in Canada;
  • Mount Elbrus in Europe;
  • Puncak Jaya in Oceania;
  • Mount Everest in Asia;
  • Kilimanjaro in Africa;
  • Vinson Massif in Antarctica;
  • Aconcagua in South America; and
  • Mount McKinley in North America.

The set also paid tribute to two Canadians, including explorer Bernard Voyer, who was sponsored by Canada Post to undertake expeditions to Vinson Massif, Mount McKinley and Mount Logan, and explorer, climber and photographer Pat Morrow, who was the first man to climb all of the “Seven Summits.” The latter man’s feat made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.


The eight-stamp pane uses a circular format with custom die cuts and an ‘information-rich’ presentation.

With the “Mountains” set, Toronto’s Q30 Design aimed to raise awareness of the global importance of the mountain ecosystems while celebrating the beauty of summit regions around the world.

Designers used an uncommon circular format, custom die cuts and an “information-rich” presentation that appeals to audiences of all ages.

The stamps were printed by the Lowe-Martin Group on Tullis Russell Coatings coated paper using nine-colour lithography. Each stamp measures 36 millimetres by 29 millimetres-32 millimetres with tagging along each side.

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