Boris Kaschenko

Boris was born on December 27, 1959 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, when Ukraine was a Republic of the USSR. Boris became the Chair of his University Mountaineering Club and rose through the systematic USSR mountaineering courses and exams to the level that he could participate in climbing competitions at City, Ukraine and Soviet Union levels. Having become a fully qualified USSR mountaineering leader he led numerous expeditions to the Caucasus, the Tien Shan, the Zarafshan and the Altai mountains, including an ascent its highest peak - Belukha Mtn. (4506m). Many of these expeditions involved literally weeks of mountain travel in the classic Russian style of unsupported, high leve (+4000m) mountain traverses through previously unexplored terrain


On Xmas Eve, 1994, Boris, his wife Margarita and their three children emigrated to Canada where they all joined the Toronto Section of the ACC. Boris has spent the last 23 years as one of the most active Toronto Section members being as enthusiastic and reliable leader, in both summer and winter, on local weekend and longer western mountain trips and camps. But Boris' most lasting contribution to the Toronto Section has been as a member and subsequently long time Chair of the Leadership and Training Committee. During this time Boris significantly changed the Section's approach to leadership and training by greatly increasing the number and breadth of courses offered; by instituting course standards; by involving Professional Instructors; improving course administration and promotion/publicity and by utilizing the wider Commercial/Professional climbing services available in the greater Toronto area. A testament to Boris' effectiveness was that the Leadership and Training courses became increasingly popular and were nearly always over-subscribed. Boris also succeeded in "Succession Planning" by continuously recruiting competent Committee Members and Chairs to continue his efforts. As we all know without Section Leaders there are no Section Trips!


Boris fell ill in July 2017, just before his flight to the Section Camp at Lake O'Hara. Despite doctor's orders Boris rebooked his airfare for a few days later, determined that his minor hiccup wouldn't interfere with the mountains. Unfortunately it did. In September, Boris was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and he passed away on February 11, 2018 at home with his family. The Toronto Section is extremely grateful for Boris' willingness to share his knowledge and experience and his endless enthusiasm to encourage and mentor Toronto Section members to share his love of rock, snow/ice and the mountains.