People & Culture

Laval St. Germain: Mountains, oceans and the Arctic

Episode 78

The RCGS Fellow and extreme adventurer talks about his epic journeys across the globe from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the top of Mount Everest

  • Mar 12, 2024
Laval St. Germain on the summit of Mt. Vinson, Antarctica. The last of the seven highest peaks on each continent that he climbed. (Photo courtesy Laval St. Germain)
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I am thrilled to have Laval St. Germain as our guest for this episode of Explore. An avid adventurer, Laval has rowed solo across the North Atlantic Ocean and is the only Canadian to have summited Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. He has also climbed the tallest peaks on all seven continents, including Antarctica and many more of the world’s most remote and challenging mountains. He’s also a commercial pilot, flying in the Canadian Arctic and was one of our RCGS Polar Plungers in Calgary.

RCGS Fellow Laval St. Germain at Margherita Peak, the highest point in Uganda. (Photo courtesy Laval St. Germain)
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As everyone who follows me or Canadian Geographic knows, we held our third Annual RCGS Polar Plunge last week to support another season of Explore. 

Thank you to all of our amazing plungers and donors. We not only hit our goal of $35,000, we crushed it, topping $50,000 — our most successful polar plunge ever. This was mostly done in the best grass-roots way possible, with many smaller donations from many of you.

We did get five significant donations, and I want to thank those donors.

Dr. Ian Hammond’s donation helped compel RCGS CEO John Geiger to jump into a freezing Lake Ontario.

Connor Fitzgerald’s donation persuaded RCGS Fellow and polar filmmaker Mark Terry to jump into that same great lake. And Nancy Love’s generous donation got RCGS Vice President Sarah Legault to follow John and Mark into Lake Ontario too. 

I also had two donors who got me to lead the plunge into a chilly Meech Lake in the Gatineau hills. One is my mother, Lynne McGuffin, an RCGS Camsell award winner, and my big cousin, Lynne Evenson

Thank you all so much!

I also want to single out our top three fundraisers, all of whom won a fantastic Danish cold-water swim coat from Sitting Suits. Congratulations to RCGS Fellows James Raffan, Susan Eaton, and Mark Terry, all of whom, fittingly, spend a lot of time working in our polar regions. 

Thank you as well to the dozens of RCGS Fellows and friends of Canadian Geographic who took part from coast to coast (there were 11 plunge sites in all) and, of course, to all of you who donated. 

I’m humbled to be a part of this incredible RCGS community and to be bringing you another season of Explore.

Rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia to France. (Photo courtesy Laval St. Germain)
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On Mt. Everest where Laval St. Germain became the first and still only Canadian to climb the world's tallest peak without oxygen. (Photo courtesy Laval St. Germain)
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