A student at Ridley from 1963 to 1967, Dr. Roger Mitchell graduated from Queen’s University in 1973. A keen rugby player and rock climber at university, he became interested in skiing and ski mountaineering while interning at the Calgary General Hospital. He moved to the Yukon “for a year” in 1975. Thus began Roger’s career with the Whitehorse Medical Service in northern medicine where he practiced as a GPA (General Practice Anaesthesia) in Whitehorse, throughout the Yukon, in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Cranbrook, British Columbia. A GPA runs a full service general practitioner office and does emergency room work along with regular operating room days, ICU, ventilator care, and on general and obstetrical anaesthesia call. He served as President of the Yukon Medical Association from 1994-97. A member of the Canadian Medical Association, Roger helped establish and served as Vice-President of the Yukon College of Physicians and Surgeons in the 1990s. In 2008, he served as Medical Director of the East Kootenays, in charge of seven hospitals and 140 physicians as they worked to amalgamate services and centralize care.
In the Yukon, he discovered the joys of river paddling and mountaineering. He and his wife Sharon have paddled over 8000 miles on river rafting , canoeing and ocean kayaking trips in the Yukon, NWT, Alaska, Chile, southern Mexico, and Croatia. He has whitewater kayaked in the Yukon, Alaska, Chile and on the Colorado River. He represented Yukon at the Canadian Nationals in the early 1980s. Serving as a Yukon river guide for years, Roger was one of the first guides on the Firth River now a northern Yukon national park. He helped a friend start Tatshenshini Expediting, a rafting company where they pioneered such major Yukon rivers as the Alsek and Tatshenshini. He also helped establish the first Parks Canada high altitude rescue team. In 1985, he and a group of friends spent one month ascending Canada’s highest mountain, the 5950-m (19 550-ft.) Mount Logan in the Yukon’s St. Elias Mountains summiting at -25C on June 10th. In November 1985, he was among the first group of Canadians, and certainly the first Ridleian, to climb to the top of Mt. Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica with an elevations of 4897-m (16 066-ft.). Roger and Sharon spent Christmas Day 1985 on the top of Mr. Kilimanjaro at 5895-m (19 341-ft). In 2017, he hung up his hockey goalie pads having played “between the pipes” for 60 years. Now retired, Roger and Sharon are enjoying a view of the Rocky Mountains from their sixty acre spread in the East Kootenays from where they try to paddle a river most summers.