Ice and the city La glace en ville



Ice and the city La glace en ville
Vol. 24, No. 3
Winter 2009
Ice and the city
La glace en ville
page 6
All women’s team
makes “Wild Ski
Yin” traverse
# 40009034
page 8
Marmot shells:
Featuring cutting-edge
GORE - TEX technology across
our line. Find the latest
Troll Wall Jacket
P E O P L E / P R O D U C T / P L A N E T™
Marmot Athlete: Fabrizio Zangrilli
Location: Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
Photo: Fabrizio Zangrilli Collection
The Alpine Club of Canada
What’s Inside...
Publications Mail Agreement No. 40009034
Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:
The Alpine Club of Canada
Box 8040, Canmore, AB
Canada T1W 2T8
Phone: (403) 678‑3200
Fax: (403) 678‑3224
[email protected]
Executive Committee
Peter Muir President
Gord Currie Secretary
Neil Bosch Treasurer
Roger Laurilla VP Activities
David Foster VP Access & Environment
Carl Hannigan VP Facilities
Isabelle Daigneault VP Mountain Culture
Evan Loveless VP Services
Glen Boles Honorary President
Lawrence White Executive Director
Lynn Martel Gazette Editor
Suzan Chamney Layout & Production
Meghan J. Ward Writer
Submissions to the Gazette are welcome!
For submission guidelines, please e-mail
the Gazette Editor with your ideas at
[email protected]
Advertising rate sheet available upon request.
Please direct all advertising inquiries to Suzan
Chamney, National Office (403) 678‑3200 x 106 or
by e‑mail to: [email protected]
Mountaineering / Climbing
4 Short Rope
6 Ice and the city
6 La glace en ville
12 My time in the ACC – It’s the
people who count!
Mountain Culture
14 Scottish project to honour
Canadian Rockies pioneer
21 B.C. Mountain Club publishes
centennial book
4 Project seeks heritage designation
to include ACC huts
15 ACC takes over Glacier Park huts
7 McColl captures overall men’s title
at IFSC World Championships
8 All women’s team makes “Wild Ski
Yin” traverse
10 Jungle, desert and elusive spider
11 Safety Committee ice climbing tips
16 Denali debut
18 Hard and soft skills tested on TNF
Summer Leadership Course
20 Canada Day celebrations a high
point at GMC
National News / Awards / Notices
17 22
Nominate a volunteer
The Karl Nagy Memorial Award
National Office news
ACC Funds and Grants Program
What’s Outside...
Cover photo: Rod Colwell climbing on the Saint-Boniface ice tower. Photo by André
Mahé. Story on page 6.
Rod Colwell sur la tour de glace de Saint-Boniface. Photo : André Mahé.
Texte : voir page 6.
Inset photo: Lydia Marmont, Erika Flavelle, Stephanie Lemieux and Selena Cordeau
stop for a group shot on their “Wild Ski Yin” traverse. Story on page 8.
Corporate Supporters
The Alpine Club of Canada thanks the following for their support, and encourages you to consider them and the
advertisers in this newsletter the next time you purchase goods or services of the type they offer.
Corporate Sponsors
Corporate Members
T h e Wo r l d ’s G r e a t e s t S k i i n g
Backcountry Access
Black Diamond Equipment
Leki USA
Devonian Properties
Ortovox Canada
Five Ten
Forty Below
Outdoor Research
GearUp Sport
Integral Designs
Rocky Mountain Books
Jardine Lloyd Thompson
Myron & Catherine Tetreault Foundation
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 3
Lynn soaks in the high life on the summit of
Mount Tupper, Glacier National Park, B.C.
Photo by Shelley Secord.
Short rope
by Lynn
n day three of a four-day back‑
country trip to climb one of the
most obscure of the Canadian
Rockies’11,000ers (3353 metres), Mount
Willingdon, in eastern Banff National
Park this summer, my trip companions
and I watched as a pair of tiny figures
struggled their way tentatively down what
appeared to be a nasty, rubble-y mountain
With a solid-looking ridge not far to
one side of them, all three of us wondered
why they had chosen to descend a rockhard side-slope of Rockies’ crap when
more attractive options were so nearby.
Then one of my companions added,
“Why would they even want to go up
that at all?”
Indeed, the rounded plateau they had
ascended was not actually a peak, but the
high point of the south side of Pipestone
Instinctively, I reeled off several plaus‑
ible replies, including suggestions that
maybe they were hikers who had never
climbed a mountain before, that they
were young and new to the mountains,
or perhaps they had decided to gain the
top of the nearest high point for what I’m
certain, was a spectacular view.
But later I realized there really was
only one answer.
Why not?
Does a mountain have to be of a
certain elevation to make it worthy of
climbing? Do its slopes have to be of a
certain pitch, provide moves of a certain
level of difficulty to qualify as a climb?
Does a mountain even need to have a
Climbing, I decided is in the eye of
the climber.
Of course, we do apply grades to
climbs to give the person making that
first move a solid idea of whether or not
she might possess the skills and experi‑
ence to safely manage the climb. But
who’s to suggest one man’s climb is less
worthy than another’s simply by measure
of applied difficulty?
Wasn’t it Alex Lowe who said, “The
best climber is the one having the most
That’s the beauty of climbing – or
scrambling, or mountaineering or
bouldering or hiking up to a high point.
Fortunately, there are as many
different motivations, as many different
styles of climbing and climbers as there
are mountains. One man’s pile of rock
is another man’s treasure chest crowned
with a layer of fossils and honeycombed
quartzite piled on top of a base of South
Pacific-quality sand – as we discovered on
Mount Willingdon.
I’m quite sure more people have
climbed Everest than Willingdon, or
Mount Brown, one of the Rockies’ most
historically significant peaks, all 9000
and some odd feet of it. That makes me
happy. While exploring the slopes and
summit of Willingdon, in one of the most
sublime, peaceful corners of the Rockies,
I was warmed knowing the first – and
quite non-technical ascent – was accom‑
plished by the surveyors who mapped
that part of the range. Not because they
were list-ticking, 11,000er peak-bagging
mountaineers, but most likely simply
because it was there. And as a bonus, the
view’s good too.
I hope you’ll enjoy this issue for all its
great views.
Project seeks heritage designation to include ACC huts
by Lynn
or Alpine Club of Canada mem‑
bers, the historic Stanley Mitchell,
Wates-Gibson and Wheeler Huts
are cherished shelters amidst the wild
and alluring peaks of the Selkirks and
Canadian Rockies.
For Albertans, however, the sturdy
log cabins are treasured structures that
preserve a valuable piece of the prov‑
ince’s history. All three huts, as well as
Recycle this Gazette
Pass it onto a friend
4 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
numerous other buildings, are the legacy
of Albertan Hobart A. Dowler and his
teams of skilled tradesmen, who built
about 100 log and stone cabins, lodges
and camps between the 1930s and 1960s.
Earlier this year a project titled
Master Builder with Logs and Stones:
The Alberta Legacy of Hobart A. Dowler
was launched, through a submission
to the Alberta Historical Resources
Foundation. The project aims to honour
Dowler’s legacy of log and stone by
celebrating the communities where he
lived and worked. The man spearheading
the project, Ross W. Wein, hopes the
project, which includes efforts to gather
and present information, first-hand
accounts and personal memories of
Dowler’s workmen and family members,
will lead to heritage designation for
Dowler’s unique structures, which also
include the Fort Museum of the North
West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod
and the movie prop cabin in River of No
Return, which starred Marilyn Monroe
and Robert Mitchum.
Anyone interested in becoming
involved by sharing information,
including oral history, contacts, reports,
photographs or press clippings is invited
to contact Wein at 780-436-0141 or
[email protected]
Follow in the footsteps
of Canada’s greatest explorers!
“...these books offer deep and rich insights into the
captivating, scenic, remote and inviting Rocky
Mountain landscape.”
—Lynn Martel
Life of the Trail is a fascinating series that
guides today’s hikers and armchair travellers
through the stories of historic routes in the
Canadian Rockies. Complete with accurate
route information and stunning archival
photographs, these books will appeal to
adventurers and history buffs alike.
Collect the whole series...
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 5
Ice and the city
story and photo by
André Mahé
t all started on page 13 of the Patagonia Fall/Winter 1992
catalogue, when I first saw an inspiring photo of an ice
climber on the “artificial cascade in Courchevel, France”.
Immediately, I was convinced that if a small town in a moun‑
tain setting could have an artificial ice climbing structure,
then all the more reason for St. Boniface, Manitoba to have
its own “tour de glace” – never mind that I had never ice
climbed. After four years of cajoling, convincing, begging and
hard work, a small group of friends and I finally succeeded in
erecting a structure allowing us to climb on our own “artificial
cascade” on the vertically-challenged Prairies. After many
more years of work, we now have a permanent structure that is
unique in all of Canada – a 20-metre ice tower situated on the
banks of the Red, across the river from downtown Winnipeg.
Over the years, the Club d’escalade de Saint-Boniface (St.
Boniface Section of the Alpine Club of Canada) has intro‑
duced hundreds of people to the addictive sport of ice climb‑
ing. Our ice tower is the perfect venue to learn or to perfect
one’s climbing skills – or to just have fun climbing challenging
ice in a most unlikely place!
Every year since 2001, our section has organized an ice
climbing festival. It combines adrenaline producing competi‑
tions (speed and difficulty) with a challenging “alpine tourna‑
ment” to produce a unique and unforgettable weekend festival.
The next Festiglace de Saint-Boniface will take place February
12 thru 14, 2010.
For more information, visit our web site at:
La glace en ville
texte et photo
: André Mahé
’est en feuilletant le catalogue été/hiver de Patagonia en
1992 que mon regard s’est vite arrêté sur la photo d’un
glaciériste accroché sur le flanc d’une cascade artificielle
située dans la station de ski française de Courchevel. Même si
je n’avais jamais fait d’escalade sur glace, je fus immédiatement
convaincu que ce genre d’activité pouvait se pratiquer à SaintBoniface. Si l’on pouvait avoir une structure artificielle de glace
en milieu alpin, pourquoi ne pourrions nous pas avoir, nous aussi,
notre propre tour de glace en plein milieu de la plaine manitobaine!
Après quatre années de travail par un petit groupe d’amis, nous
pouvions finalement grimper de la glace verticale chez nous.
Aujourd’hui, suite à la contribution et au dévouement de
plusieurs, notre tour de glace de 20 mètres est située dans un parc
qui longe la rivière Rouge, tout près du centre ville de Winnipeg.
À travers les années, le Club d’escalade de Saint-Boniface
(Section Saint-Boniface du CAC) a initié des centaines de
personnes aux plaisirs de l’escalade sur glace. Notre tour de glace,
unique au Canada, est un lieu idéal pour apprendre ou pour
perfectionner les techniques de base en escalade sur glace – ou tout
simplement pour avoir “du fun en grimpant d’la glace”!
Chaque année, et cela depuis 2001, notre Club organise un
festival de grimpe sur glace. Ce festival est un heureux mélange de
vives compétitions (épreuves de vitesse et de difficulté technique) et
d’un “tournoi alpin”, à la fois divertissant et exigeant. Le prochain
Festiglace de Saint-Boniface aura lieu les 12, 13 et 14 février 2010.
Pour plus de renseignements veuillez visiter notre site web :
McColl captures overall men’s title at IFSC World Championships
by Lynn
lpine Club of Canada member
and North Vancouver resident
Sean McColl enjoyed a stellar
season on the International Federation
of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup
circuit this year, capturing Overall
Men’s gold at the World Climbing
Championships in Qinghai, China in
McColl, 21, placed 5th in the Lead
Championships, 6th in a hypercompetitive Boulder Championships
and a fatigued 43rd in the Speed event
to log more points than any other male
McColl was the lone Canadian
among athletes from 40 countries
participating in the event.
As a result of a string of top-five
finishes in events through the season,
McColl stood 2nd in the Overall Men’s
standings at press time.
“Well-known only within the
relatively small Canadian competition
climbing community, McColl is the latest
example of a Canadian sports hero who
receives more adulation and recognition
in international circles than he does in
his home country,” said David Dornian,
Competition Climbing Canada (CEC)
The CEC/CCC (the ACC’s only
non-geographic section) named McColl’s
father as national team coach for the
event when no other team members
could go, so McColl could at least have a
familiar face in the crowd of more than
5000 who watched the athletes each day
of the week-long competition.
“The Alpine Club of Canada both
congratulates and thanks this exceptional
athlete and inspirational ACC member,
for taking Canadian climbing to the
world, and showing us all what is possible
within ourselves and our sport,” Dornian
Visit for more
Raphael Slawinski, Phyllis Driller (M10),
Stanley Headwall, British Columbia, Canada.
Nominate a volunteer
ominations are now open for
outstanding Alpine Club of
Canada volunteers of 2009.
The following awards recognize and
celebrate ACC volunteers for their
contributions to the Club and its
A.O. Wheeler Legacy Award
Honorary Membership
President’s Award
Silver Rope for Leadership Award
Distinguished Service Award
Don Forest Service Award
Eric Brooks Leader Award
For details on how to nominate a
volunteer and nomination forms, visit
or call the ACC National Office at
(403) 678-3200 ext. 108 to receive the
information by mail.
Deadline for nominations is
December 31, 2009.
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 7
All women’s team makes “Wild Ski Yin” traverse
Selena Cordeau, photos by Lydia Marmont
hat really made this trip?
Perhaps it was the exciting
feeling of anticipation in
our bellies as we watched the helicopter
disappear behind the last peak in sight.
Maybe the immense vistas offered to us
by more than 150 kilometres of a glacierand snow-covered haute route in B.C.’s
Coast Range. Or was it the simplicity of
the lifestyle, filled with truly meaningful
moments; the daily mantra of boiling
water, the Zen art of re-packing every
morning, the meditative skiing in silence?
Or the incredible lightness of being we
felt arriving at the food cache to rejoice
with maple syrup whisky, camembert and
fresh apples?
In the end, what stands out the most
is the amazing and subtle complexity
of human landscapes exposed by the
Being for many days in the wild
inevitably reveals unknown, subconscious
boundaries within ourselves. We chose
to seek this “internal” travel, to meet and
hopefully cross these boundaries. Our trip
was a novelty in that we were all females
– a first for all of us.
Yes, the trip every guy would love
to crash – like the helicopter pilot who
promised to drop in with pizza and beers.
It was not easy to put up with three
other hard-headed and used-to-provingin-a-man’s-world women. Somehow we
managed to survive the 16-day traverse
through a high glaciated route connecting
Terrace to Kemano, B.C. Even better,
we managed to bond in a way none of
us expected. Between one’s full moon
monthly crux and another’s almost
annoying keenness, between hissy fights
and sex talks, slowly a silver thread con‑
nected one to the other, creating a string
of pearls amidst a frozen ocean.
Stephanie and Erika savour being warm and dry in the lowlands below Icy Pass on day 6.
8 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
In early January, 2009 a few e-mails
slowly gave shape to our ski trip, to be
followed by presentations at local schools
to inspire youth about nature and getting
lost out there. One trip option grabbed
our interest and matched our availability
from the end of April through May. The
route had only been done by two par‑
ties. Ours would be the first all-female
As we studied satellite images of
the area, our idea made its way onto an
application form for the Alpine Club of
Canada’s Jen Higgins Memorial Fund
grant. A congratulatory e-mail and phone
call produced four huge grins. The gener‑
ous grant allowed and encouraged us to
go from dream to reality.
Four months later, sitting in front of
steaming curry in Terrace, we all met for
the first time, 24 hours before leaving by
helicopter to our starting point. Through
the organized chaos of last-last minute
shopping, packing, food cache build‑
ing and late night/early morning gear
fiddling, we became acquainted. Lydia
Marmont, 25, half and half Kiwi/Canuck,
lives in Stewart, B.C. works as a ski guide
and avalanche technician for the Ministry
of Transportation. Stephanie Lemieux,
31, Quebecoise pure laine, sings like a
goddess, lives in Quebec’s Chic-Choc
mountains and works as an avalanche
forecaster. Erika Flavelle, 30, from Czech
Republic, lives in Whistler and works as
a ski patroller, moonlighting as a garden
diva on Lasqueti Island. And Selena
Cordeau, 25, a B.C./Quebec blend lives in
Golden, B.C., and works as a river guide
in the Yukon who never misses a chance
to laugh.
That was on paper. Reality was:
Lydia-miss-cohunes, Stephanie the yogi,
Erika the wild Czech čmelák and Selena
the eco-freak. The all-female trip allowed
us to fully be, feeling free to express
ourselves and our full potential.
The first few days saw some clumsy
mistakes; spilled gas into a full backpack,
the dramatic final flight of the yellow
sleeping pad over a cliff, and other mis‑
haps. Luckily warm weather, a stunning
high pressure and solid snow conditions
smoothed the learning curve. The spring
melt-freeze provided a supportive crust,
creating perfect travelling and safe condi‑
tions throughout the trip. Those condi‑
tions enabled us to try a variation of the
original route by climbing up a short col
and dropping on the southeastern aspect
of the Dog’s Ears – twin peaks reaching
2530 metres. A bergschrund crossing and
some steep step-kicking led us through
the col, thereby avoiding a long slog down
into the valley and back up the following
Arriving at the first of two food
caches we had dropped from the
helicopter, weather rolled in. The eternal
mountain question arose; stay high and
wait out the storm, or drop down into
the valley and keep moving? After some
humming, ha-ing, a quick weather fore‑
cast check on the sat phone and a coffee
and Baileys session, we chose the latter. It
was the only time we had to escape below
tree line during the entire trip. It’s been
said it’s not a Coast Mountain traverse
without a river crossing or two and a
healthy dose of alder bashing – problem
Travelling through forested areas of
the Atna River headwaters, we noticed
the absence of logging activity, realizing
how rare and precious it was to be in
unscarred B.C. backcountry. The valley
sheltered us for two days. Although
calm nights were a treat, we longed to
return to alpine terrain. The following
morning we headed back to the land of
glaciers, cornices, steep runs, couloirs and
jagged peaks, our spirits rising with the
For another week we continued,
descending low enough to tag some
alpine shrubs and collect and transport a
large mouse in a down bootie for a day,
climbing over icy, exposed, re-named
Peak Suchalongd**k, schraulping lines in
a random alpine bowl west of Naninka
Lake, white-out navigation, ski-cutting
spring slop, short-cutting up couloirs and
perfecting the art of block cutting and
kitchen building – the perfect outlet for
pent-up feminine energy.
Day 16 we returned to civilization,
leaving a crisp winter morning and
descending into a blazing hot corn run
down to the headwaters of Horetzky
Creek. We hiked the last nine kilometres,
skis on packs, watching the spring season
progress with the steady elevation loss.
Our secret desire for four handsome
men to greet us was quickly forgotten
after seeing four handsome grizzly bears
grazing less than 100 metres away as we
passed the KM 0 sign at Kemano Village.
(While we finished in Kemano and
would like to thank Rio Tinto and the
guys in Kemano very much for their
assistance, anyone interested in complet‑
ing this traverse should know Kemano is
private property owned by Rio Tinto. The
recommended finish is by floatplane via
Tatsa Lake.)
Our amazing journey went far beyond
a simple journey through geography,
following weaknesses in topography. In
these exposed areas, our senses united
with our beings. Assess, review, ponder
and be, simply. Our next challenge is
to keep these areas wild for others to
Many thanks to the ACC’s Jen
Higgins Memorial Fund, and also to
MEC, Backpacker’s Pantry and Rab
clothing. Thanks also for the help and
advice of many people, including John
Baldwin, Shane and Suki Spencer, Scott
Flavelle, Hatha Callis, Philipe Gauthier
and many other resourceful friends.
Stephanie cracks a proud smile as she reaches
Dog’s Ear col.
Expedition Down Sleeping
Bags Made in Canada For
Over 20 Years
Rockies Series
- Rock and Ice 2008 Gear Guide
Old-world craftsmanship.
Wide temperature range.
Choice of relaxed or broad
fit and choice of Pertex
Microlight or Endurance
shell. Best foot section.
Good warmth/weight ratio.
Space inside for water
bottles, boots, etc.
Available at:
Le Yeti - Montreal
Mountain Magic - Surrey
Outdoor Approach - Calgary
Red Shreds - Williams Lake
5516 - 3rd Street S.E. Calgary
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 9
Jungle, desert and elusive spider monkeys
Meghan J. Ward
inding information about the hike
up Cerro Chirripo, in Costa Rica,
had been a frustrating trail of dead
ends. I was shocked, then, to see that my
permit was actually in order upon my
arrival at the Ranger Station at the base
of the mountain.
“Is there a map?” I asked the park
“No,” he replied, and then began to
explain the easiest and steepest parts of
the trail, and where to get water along the
way, all in rapid-fire Spanish.
With that, I nodded with a big smile
and made my way to the hostel, which
stood at the base of the 3821-metre
(12,529-foot) peak.
It would be ten kilometres from the
trailhead to Crestones Base Lodge, based
on the meagre description in my guide‑
book, and I felt confident that the day
would be hard work, but enjoyable. The
trail to the summit of Cerro Chirripo was
only 16 kilometres, and about 2.5 vertical
kilometres, which was totally manageable
by the standards of my past experience,
hiking and climbing in my home moun‑
tains, the Canadian Rockies. This was the
first time, however, I had embarked on
a solo hike of this length and elevation
gain, let alone one in a foreign country.
After my 3:45 a.m. alarm sounded, I
set off for the trailhead. I hiked with the
sunrise, and the soundtrack of the jungle
came to life, at times startling me with
new and spontaneous sounds. My hope
was to spot some spider-monkeys where
they apparently spend their time, but I
had no luck seeing any along the way.
Around the seventh kilometre, I
stopped at a common rest area called
Llano Bonita (Beautiful Plain). I was
tired and my pack was digging into my
10 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
shoulders, perhaps due to the canned fruit
and giant jar of Nutella I had foolishly
As I rested, a sign caught my eye. It
said, “7.5 km to Crestones Base Lodge”,
indicating it would be 4.5 kilometres
further to the base lodge than I originally
planned. My trustworthy guidebook had
betrayed me.
The news ruffled my feathers a bit,
but I didn’t let it discourage me. As I
continued up the steep trail though, my
energy began to drain. I hardly noticed
that I had entered an entirely scorched
portion of the jungle, the victim of a
forest fire back in the 1990s. As a thick
fog descended on the trail, I entered an
eerie world of skeleton trees that offered
little motivation or excitement.
When I reached the 13th kilometre,
my feet felt like anvils and my upper back
was screaming for relief. Feeling pathetic,
I laughed at myself as I visualized another
hiker stepping over my limp body as I lay
on the trail, unable to move. All the same,
I relished the challenge and eventually
crested the final uphill section of the trail
and descended to the lodge.
I learned two things very quickly upon
arriving at Crestones Base Lodge, which
sits at 3374 metres (11,063 feet): that it
can go below zero degrees in Costa Rica,
and that the Central American country
has better Internet access than anywhere
else I have been in the world. Cruising
the Internet at this elevation was a guilty
pleasure. Unfortunately, shivering my way
through my first night was no pleasure
at all.
My 2:30 a.m. alarm was a welcome
sound after a sleepless night, and I wasted
no time hitting the trail, hoping the
five-kilometre hike to the summit would
warm me up. Despite low clouds, the
views from the summit were spectacular. I
stood in total remoteness and solitude at
the top and loved it. For the first time in
the foreign country, I felt totally at home.
Standing at the summit, I was in my
element, and it felt totally familiar despite
scenery that could not have been more
different from the Rockies.
My hike back down from the lodge
the next day was fast and enjoyable,
mostly because I actually slept the night
before, thanks to the blanket I had rented,
and my new friends at the lodge who had
taken pity on my lack of hot food and fed
me coffee and hot macaroni.
As I passed the signpost for the last
kilometre of trail, I was excited to finish,
but somewhat sad I hadn’t seen any
monkeys. The winding trail through the
forest looked enchanted as a light mist
settled all around.
And then I heard it – at first a branch
cracking and then the rustling of leaves.
A pack of spider monkeys was making
its way through the forest just a few
metres away, and though I only saw their
silhouettes in the mist, it was a welcome
surprise, and a perfect finish to my solo
trek up Cerro Chirripo.
Meghan Ward is a Rocky Mountain
Section member and a freelance writer based
in Banff.
Safety Committee ice climbing tips
ACC Safety Committee
here is an inherent conflict associ‑
ated with mountaineering that all
climbers and institutions, such as
the Alpine Club of Canada, have to deal
with. All forms of mountaineering are
dangerous, yet part of the enjoyment for
many climbers comes from taking a cal‑
culated risk. Climbers need to minimize
objective risk in their pursuits through
proper equipment, skills and leadership
training, and appropriate procedures. This
conflict can never be really resolved, but
improving safety in mountaineering is
one of the missions of the ACC.
For many years the ACC has had a
Safety Committee, which promotes safety
in mountaineering, reviews accidents
and provides advice to the Board and
the Club on safety-related issues. As
of 2009, the members of the Safety
Committee are Peter Amann, a fullycertified ACMG mountain guide living
in Jasper, Alberta, Ernst Bergmann from
Edmonton, (chair), Robert Chisnall from
Toronto, Frank Pianka from Thunder Bay
and Selena Swets from Victoria, B.C.
There is currently one opening on the
committee, to be filled soon. The commit‑
tee reports to the ACC’s Vice-President
of Services.
With ice climbing season upon us, the
committee has compiled a few important
safety tips.
1) Be prepared. Make sure you are
physically ready for the season. If you
haven’t done any similar activity since
last season, try conditioning yourself and
take it easy initially. Trying immediately
to lead the same difficulty as you did last
April, after a full winter of ice climbing, is
asking for trouble.
2) Check and maintain your equipment.
Check your picks and crampons for
marks and rust; they can break. Hopefully
you oiled them after last use and they are
still sharp. Check your ropes for wear or
Recycle this Gazette
Leave it in your
physio’s office
damage. How old are your slings, cordel‑
lettes and Screamers™? Are your screws
still sharp and working? Is it maybe time
for a new helmet or harness? Having gear
that makes you appear like you have ice
climbed for 30 years may look cool, but is
not necessarily safe.
3) Use reliable protection and anchors.
Know how to place screws and build
Abalakovs and anchors. Anchors should
be EARNEST (Equalizing, appropriate
Angle, Redundant, Non-Extending,
Strong, Timely). Be mindful that protec‑
tion and anchors in ice, primarily, depend
on the quality of the ice!
4) Protect your belay! Avoid falling
directly on your belay by placing a screw
with a Screamer™ immediately after
leading off. Falling directly onto the belay
without any additional protection can
lead to disaster (and has).
5) Observe the ICE – Become proficient
at reading ice and listen to your instincts
if the ice appears detached, ablated, too
cold and brittle, warm, wet and soft, or
anything else but clear, blue and hard.
6) Environment – Ice climbing presents
unique challenges in that the time frame
for good and safe conditions is often very
short. Because of temperature, weather
changes and the short days in winter, the
window of opportunity (and safety) is
often only a few hours. Remember that
your best defense against avalanches is
terrain. Know what’s above and around
you, both on the climb and also on the
approach. Be aware of run-out zones and
slope angles around you.
Be ready for emergencies. Everybody
wants to go light, but try to have enough
gear to prevent an injured person from
bleeding to death or becoming hypother‑
mic. Carry the gear to determine exactly
your location and communicate the need
for a rescue if needed. (The new SPOT™
satellite messenger is a brilliant solution
for both.) Also, update your first aid and
rescue skills.
Have fun and be safe – not necessarily
in that order.
27 meters straight ahead.
Any questions?
Now’s not the time to wish you’d read the manual.
Clear distance and direction. Fast processing.
No questions. No bull.
Ease-of-use and proven reliability make the Tracker DTS
the most widely used avalanche beacon in North America.
Photo: Doug Chabot/GNFAC
by the members of the
Tracker DTS: ease of use when it matters most.
For more information on avalanche beacons and education,
check out
Alpine Club of Canada
Backcountry Access, Inc.
Boulder, Colorado USA
Winter 2009 11
The Gazette continues to recognize the contributions of some of the Alpine Club of Canada’s most dedicated volunteers. Since joining the
Club in 1991, Rod Plasman has served in numerous capacities at both the section and national levels. Rod and his wife, Valerie, have been
active members of their local Bow Valley community for nearly 20 years. Rod is currently a member of the ACC Awards Committee, and leads
numerous trips and camps for the Rocky Mountain Section. Over the years Rod has served as Chair of the RMS, VP Services and ACC National
Secretary. Currently, Rod is the coordinator and active leader of the Backcountry Skiers in Training (BIT) Program for the RMS. Rod received
the Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002.
My time in the ACC – It’s the people who count!
Rod Plasman
y wife Valerie and I have
always loved the Canadian
Rockies. When we lived in
B.C.’s Lower Mainland, we would spend
our vacations in the Banff/Kananaskis
Country area, and each year at the end
of our vacation we would wonder what
it would be like to live there. In 1991, we
decided to take the plunge and move to
We thought the best way to get to
know the community and to find others
to recreate with would be to join the
Alpine Club of Canada. We were right!
We started joining Rocky Mountain
Section trips, especially the winter trips,
and became friends with a lot of the
active Section volunteers. I decided it
would be fun to become a part of the
workings of the RMS, rather than just
a participant. I became a trip leader and
quickly found myself on the Section
Executive. After three years, I became
RMS Chair, and this really introduced
me to a lot of people and also to all of the
inner-workings of the ACC.
I soon joined the Publications
Committee (now Mountain Culture),
chaired by then VP, Bob Sandford. Bob
had a way of making the committee
workings fun; he still uses the line that I
coined about the committee: “I went to a
party at Bob’s place and a meeting broke
out”. Shortly after joining the Committee
I was invited to join the National
Executive as VP Services. I served in this
capacity for two years and then did two
terms as Secretary. I made a lot of friends
with members of the National Executive
and one of my strongest memories was
in 2000 when the ACC and the Japanese
Alpine Club collaborated on the 75th
anniversary of the first ascent of Mount
Alberta. Being involved as the transporta‑
tion coordinator gave me the opportunity
to get to know a lot of the Japanese
For the winter 2000 ski season,
I introduced a new program to the
12 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
RMS’s winter trip schedule, called the
Backcountry Skiers in Training Program
(BIT). It was amazing how popular
this program quickly became. It is now
celebrating its 10th anniversary. The
program has averaged between 40 and
50 participants each year – close to 500
participants over the last ten years! What
has really inspired me is seeing people get
their first good run in the backcountry
and to see them continue on to become
good, competent backcountry skiers. I
met a lot of my closest friends through
this program. A lot of the program
participants have also gone on to become
key volunteers for the Section. This has
given them the opportunity to enjoy
what the ACC is really about. Since the
inception of this program, other sections
have adopted similar programs. To me,
that is gratifying. The more people who
enjoy backcountry skiing, after having
learned some of the ins and outs in a safe,
controlled environment, the better!
There are always challenges when
involved in an organization such as the
ACC. Even though we all wish to enjoy
the alpine environment, politics and
money do present their own unique trials
and tribulations. The hardest part, though,
is the people who have been lost over
the years; Bev, Rita, Gerta, Karl, Karen,
Don, Hans and Bob E. – thanks for being
and helping inspire my passion for the
mountains and the ACC!
Volunteering for the ACC has meant
a lot to me; it has given me opportunities
to do and learn things that I never would
have otherwise. My public speaking skills
went from being scared to death and
stammering to having fun and doing a
lot of it. I have managed many ski camps
and this has given me experience with
helicopters – they are seriously cool
Alpine Club volunteers are one big
community. By volunteering you become
a part of this community. It transcends
the ACC to include the general moun‑
taineering and outdoor community. I have
been active in the mountains for more
than 30 years and, over time, the more
I realize that it is the people you meet,
become friends with and even sometimes
lose, that means the most. There is always
another mountain or another run to ski,
but the relationships built are irreplace‑
able. The ACC is a way of life for me and
I could not imagine life in the Bow Valley
without it.
Rod Plasman at White Russian Col at Sorcerer Lodge, B.C. on a Rocky Mountain Section ski camp.
Photo by Lenore Harris.
A coffee here, a bagel there. Maybe a pint or two after work.
Consider this: 24 bucks nets you six issues of award winning
humour, world class adventure and top notch gear reviews.
Not to mention awesome images, amazing people and a
whole lot of “Holy #@%$!” moments.
Brew your own coffee. Toast your own bagel.
Subscribe ONLINE at
Scottish project to honour Canadian Rockies pioneer
by Lynn
midst the peaks of the Canadian
Rockies, Norman J. Collie was a
giant of a man.
Collie participated in 21 first ascents
of major Rockies’ peaks between 1897 and
1911 including the highest peak entirely
within the boundaries of Banff National
Park, 3612-metre Mount Forbes; the land‑
mark Mount Victoria, backdrop to one
of the world’s most photographed sites,
Lake Louise; and also Mount Gordon,
nowadays among the most popular ski
ascents of the Wapta Icefield area.
On top of that, in 1898, it was Collie
who, with Herman Woolley, made the
first ascent of Mount Athabasca – a full
traverse following the northeast ridge,
descending by the northwest ridge and
north glacier back to their camp. It was
from that 3492-metre summit, now
among the most frequently climbed
alpine peaks in the Rockies, that Collie
and Woolley saw what no man had
witnessed before – the massive expanse of
the Columbia Icefield, a virtual ocean of
snow stretching before them, not to men‑
tion dozens of unclimbed peaks including
Mount Columbia, at 3747 metres second
only to the Rockies’ highest, 3954-metre
Mount Robson.
Collie however, was not only known
for his explorations that contributed
greatly to the mapping and development
of travel corridors in the Canadian
Rockies – which led to his being named
among the first of the Alpine Club
of Canada’s honorary members in the
Club’s inaugural year, 1906. He was also
a respected Himalayan explorer and a
skilled climber who made notable ascents
in his homeland of Scotland, particularly
in the popular mountaineering centre of
Sligachan on the Isle of Skye.
Do you wanna be a famous
writer? Ok, how about just a writer?
Contact the Gazette editor at
[email protected]
to have your article, story or event
published in the Gazette.
14 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
For the past three years, the Isle of
Sky-based Collie Mackenzie Sculpture
Group has been working to celebrate
the huge contributions of Collie and
his frequent climbing partner and guide
John Mackenzie, the first native Scot
to become a professional guide. Four
large hydro poles were scheduled to be
removed in September to make way for
the erection of a bronze statue that will
not only honour Collie and Mackenzie,
but also help promote the value and
connection of the local landscape, wild
places and unique Gaelic culture.
To help raise funds for the materi‑
als required for the two figures – 400
kilos at a cost of £1000 per kilo, or $1875
CDN for a total cost of about $750,000
CDN – the group is issuing certificates to
donors stating they have donated money
to purchase a certain weight in bronze.
Certificates will be available starting at
£10 for ten grams, or $18.75 CDN for ten
“This will be a chance for people from
around the world to buy in to a piece of
history in the making here in Scotland,”
said group member Steve Tinney.
As well, 16 schools on Skye are
involved in developing projects that relate
to the stories of both climbers, Tinney
said. They are hoping schools from the
Canadian Rockies would be interested in
partnering with them.
“One idea is to twin schools on
Skye with schools near the peaks in the
Rockies that Collie climbed and named,”
Tinney said. “I’m guessing places like
Jasper and Banff would be close to these
With the peaks, which include
Mounts Lefroy, Sarbach, Diadem, Snow
Dome, Thompson, Murchison, Edith,
Freshfield, Howse and Neptuak located
throughout the Canadian Rockies, indeed
numerous Alberta and B.C. schools do
To learn more, to purchase a certificate
for an amount of bronze or to become
involved, visit
NEW T-shirt
100 % brushed cotton
Climbing, hiking and ski touring
guidebooks for western Canada.
Large selection of topographic
maps and “Mapitfirst” software.
ACC labelled apparel
and accessories.
Visit our online store or phone 403 678-3200 ext. 1
ACC takes over Glacier Park huts
by Lynn
fter years of backcountry hut
users in B.C.’s Glacier National
Park assuming that the Alpine
Club of Canada was responsible for
running Asulkan Hut in Rogers Pass, the
ACC formally took over operation of the
high mountain cabin in August.
The ACC and Parks Canada final‑
ized a licence of occupation agreement
formally designating the ACC as being
responsible for the operational needs of
Asulkan Hut and Glacier Circle Cabin
and the basic four- to six-person high
alpine Sapphire Col shelter.
“We’re pretty excited, particularly with
the Asulkan Hut, which complements
the Wheeler Hut,” said ACC Executive
Director Lawrence White. “And less on
a user-base, but more from a historical
perspective, we’re really excited about
taking over the operation of Glacier
Circle Cabin, since it’s a recognized
historical building. We’re quite honoured
they would entrust us with a recognized
heritage building like Glacier Circle.”
Constructed circa 1920, the log
cabin Glacier Circle Cabin was built for
the use of Canadian Pacific Railway’s
Swiss mountain guides to access the
towering peaks surrounding it, a long
day’s travel southward from Rogers
Pass across the massive Illecillewaet
Névé. First rehabilitated in the 1970s
in an effort spearheaded by industrious
mountain-lover and honorary ACC
member William Putman, more recently
the hut was rebuilt in 2006 by a team of
volunteers from the Friends of Mount
Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks,
Parks Canada and the ACC, who gave
the aging cabin a new lease on life with
a new roof and solidly supported floor,
making the building worthy of its Federal
Heritage Building designation.
While Parks Canada will maintain
ownership of all three huts, the ACC is
now responsible for all operations of the
backcountry shelters, including regular
servicing and improvements, as well as
taking reservations – which the ACC
had already been doing for Asulkan Hut
for the past decade, and which helped
engender the formal agreement.
“This arrangement happened almost
through public misconception, since
the ACC had been taking bookings for
Asulkan for years. People just assumed it
was an ACC hut,” White said. “It got to
the point where it seemed like it was the
next logical step.”
White said the ACC looks forward to
looking after the operational needs of the
huts and to bringing them to the stan‑
dard of comfort of the ACC’s other huts,
starting with upgrading the sleeping pads,
cutlery, dishes and stove at the well-used
Asulkan Hut, which sleeps 12
and is particularly busy with ski
tourers accessing the phenomenal
terrain and deep snow of Rogers
Pass throughout the winters.
“The Club is well positioned
to give the attention these facili‑
ties require,” White said. “And
we’re looking forward to working
with the Friends of Revelstoke/
Glacier Parks, since they’ve been
so integral to the restoration of
Glacier Circle Cabin. We look
forward to working with them
more to promote the values of
the park.”
Reprinted with permission from
the Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Above: Sapphire Col Hut. photo by Roger Wallis.
Below: Glacier Circle Cabin. file photo.
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 15
Denali debut
Dean Albrecht
fter climbing Aconcagua in
February, 2008, I chose my next
big mountain adventure – Mount
McKinley. It was relatively close, rela‑
tively affordable and relatively challen‑
ging. Just don’t refer to its official name
in the presence of Alaskans. For them it’s
Denali; The High One.
With over 4000 metres of vertical
rise from base camp to the 6194-metre
summit (20,320 feet), Denali’s challenges
are significant. The effects of altitude,
cold, wind and precipitation combine
to deny the prize to half of those who
attempt it. I chose the normal route,
which ascends the West Buttress, cover‑
ing 25 kilometres and accommodating
roughly 75 per cent of traffic on Denali.
A tip from another climber led to an
early booking with a Colorado-based
outfit, one of the few authorized to guide
on the mountain. I then sourced out a
few deals on equipment and the flight to
Anchorage. Double boots were the most
significant upgrade from my Aconcagua
gear list.
After months of training for
the expected big loads, our team of
nine clients and three guides met in
Anchorage on May 31. Dave, the lead
guide, was a local legend with an enviable
success record. The climbers included two
Brits, four Americans, a New Zealander, a
Dutchman and me, the lone Canadian.
Camp two. photo by Dean Albrecht.
The following day we drove to
Talkeetna and obtained our permits at
the national park office before heading to
the Air Taxi. Upon landing at base camp
on the Kahiltna Glacier at 2134 metres, we
organized our first camp then set about
rigging sleds for glacier travel. Realization
of the combined weight of personal and
group gear caused many to cache their
non-essential items.
The next day we travelled ten
kilometres up the lower glacier to camp
one at 2368 metres. Dave assured us
that the initial downhill, ominously
named Heartbreak Hill, was a temporary
Climbers return to a lower camp via the Kahiltna Glacier. photo by Dean Albrecht.
16 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
On day three we cached a load further
up the mountain. While enjoying another
day of pleasant weather, we were humbled
by stories from others who did not
experience the best of Denali. We buried
our loads at 3100 metres and moved to
camp two (3414 metres) the following
day, travelling early to avoid the intense
sun which was a hazard from above and
reflected from below. I burned the under‑
side of my nose while others had painful
sunburn to the insides of their lips!
On day five we made a back-carry to
retrieve the cached load. Dave called this
an active rest day. Day six was scheduled
for a load carry up Motorcycle Hill and
past the infamous Windy Corner at
4054 metres, but true to form, a ferocious
wind denied us our objective. We settled
for caching a little short and looked on
sympathetically as other teams struggled
miserably to move up.
With more favourable weather, the
winds died the following day, allowing us
to push on to camp three at 4358 metres.
Advanced base camp is the point where
teams stage before advancing to more
serious terrain. A ranger station provided
medical and rescue assistance or helicop‑
ter evacuations when required. The luxury
of a sit-down toilet was also appreciated.
With another active rest day, we
retrieved our cache. Those interested
in some adventure detoured to a small
peak for a good view of the surrounding
mountains while later we celebrated a
teammate’s 50th birthday.
On day nine, our first full rest day, we
visited a promontory named End of the
World for hero pics leaning into the void.
Our attempt to construct an igloo failed
but provided a popular photo moment.
We also rested the next day and stared
apprehensively up the Headwall, where
fixed lines marked the ascent route. Some
time was spent training as a team to move
efficiently along these lines and through
the snow pickets that lay ahead.
Day 11 marked our move to high camp
at 5242 metres. The long and strenuous
day was made tolerable by more pleasant
weather. This camp was significantly more
compact and weather-beaten than the
others and set a properly serious tone.
Rest the next day was timely as symptoms
of altitude sickness were beginning to
show. While many experienced headaches
or loss of appetite, only one person was
having significant difficulties. Day 13 was
also scheduled for rest but the weather
forecast was threatening and we feared
any delay might turn into several days
of waiting or worse. With most feeling
healthy, Dave decided to go for the
At 9 a.m. we moved onto the face of
the Autobahn and into a queue of teams
heading for Denali Pass at 5486 metres.
Past this bottleneck, the groups stretched
out according to their pace. Above Pig
Hill, the summit ridge appeared and
by 8 p.m. we were on top. A tiny survey
marker occupied a snow mound fit for
one person to pose while the others
waited their turn on a small plateau
below. After an hour in the biting wind
we headed down.
Unfortunately, our sick member began
to lose control, culminating in a tumble
off the ridge ahead of me. Instinctively I
dropped into self-arrest to prevent a long
slide. The climber was able to crawl back
up and was short-roped the remaining
distance to camp, which extended our
journey until after midnight.
On day 14 we descended directly to
camp two then moved to base camp the
following day. With heavy loads and
tired feet, we suffered up Heartbreak Hill
to the air strip and our flight out.
Overall, I can’t believe how fortunate
we were with the weather. Thankfully,
our group’s overall fitness and positive
attitudes allowed us to take advantage of
Denali’s gift.
Dean Albrecht is an ACC member living
in Edmonton.
de Saint-Boniface
12, 13 & 14
Partenaires / Partners
Let it snow
Festiglace_2x5.indd 1
29/09/09 18:19:00
New Kode Series
Insulated hydration
Wet and dry
gear organization
Multiple snow toys
carrying options
Ready to ride
OSP066 Guaran
3:08:35 PM
Innovation and Quality in
Packs since 1974
Kode 1_3 SQ ACC Gazette.indd 1
Alpine Club of Canada
11:45:11 AM
 Winter 2009 Gazette10/5/09
Hard and soft skills tested on TNF Summer Leadership Course
by Ian
Curran and Clifton Potter, photos by Cyril Shokoples
wice a year, The North Face
(TNF) supports training camps
through the National Office of
the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). The
courses are designed to provide leadership
skills training for active ACC section
trip leaders, General Mountaineering
Camp (GMC) amateur rope leaders and
national camp managers.
The 2009 Summer Leadership Course
took place during the tear-down week
(Aug. 8 thru 15) of the GMC in the spec‑
tacularly beautiful Neptune/Trident area
of B.C.’s northern Selkirk Mountains.
Two ACMG mountain guides – Cyril
Shokoples and Helen Sovdat – provided
professional instruction. Additional
mentorship was offered by amateur leader
Roger Marchand and camp manager
Brad Harrison.
We spent three days climbing in the
alpine setting surrounding the camp. On
our first day, a sunny day dawned with
the group practising short roping on a
cliff behind the camp. A variety of belay
stances and techniques were reviewed,
practised and then tested.
On Tuesday, we travelled up to and
then across the Escarpment Glacier
en-route to three objectives – Mount
Nereus, Mounts Priapus and Janus, and
Escarpment Peak. Rain, fog, wind and
then wet snow were soon upon us provid‑
ing us with only a rope’s length visibility.
The end result was that by the noon radio
call, everyone was heading towards the
toe of the glacier realizing how lucky they
were to practise their whiteout navigation
skills on their very first field day.
We spent our Wednesday climbing
Trident Mountain (3136 metres). Our
route employed all of our hard and
soft skills as we took turns leading the
group hiking, scrambling along exposed
ridges, rappelling from a hanging belay,
short-roping steep snow slopes, cross‑
ing gaping bergschrunds on airy snow
bridges and some moderate climbing on
verglas-covered granite. The view from
the summit was of little else than our
fellow climbers.
On Thursday, we awoke to a
clearer day and headed up to our
snow and ice school on the lower
reaches of Porpoise Glacier. After
some refinement of our French
and German techniques, we
practised pitched climbing with
protection in the form of ice
screws and snow anchors, then
practised our crevasse and rock
rescue techniques.
On Friday, we had planned to
go for Porpoise Peak, but overnight
snow and rain precluded that route,
so we went for Rhea Peak (2932
metres) instead. The trip involved a
scramble up an old moraine, fol‑
lowed by threading our way through
snow-covered crevasse fields to the col.
After gaining the ridge, we travelled
northerly to a snow gully, then gained
the rock and shortroped to the summit.
The greatest views on
the summit were of
our flashy new The North Face jackets.
On our final day, we tore down
camp and caught a very brief glimpse of
what it actually takes to be a
Harrison. The respect we
all held for the efforts
that generations
of the Harrison
family have put
into making the
GMC a reality
was reinforced.
The first three
groups were
able to fly out
that day before
the weather
closed in,
leaving a few
people and
many sling
loads to go out
the next day.
We thank
The North Face
for its generous
support, which
makes this camp
possible. The
privileged partici‑
pants will now share
their acquired skills
with other members as
they continue the Alpine
Club of Canada’s century-long tradition
of members leading members through the
valleys and up the mountains of Canada.
Course participants were: Will Cadell (Prince George),
Bill Cardinal (Rocky Mountain),
Dylan Cooper (Rocky Mountain),
Ian Curran (Edmonton),
Peter Lloyd (Calgary),
Benham Giwi (Vancouver),
Carsten Moldenhauer (Edmonton),
Clifton Potter (Rocky Mountain),
Lawrence White (National)
and John-Paul Zakardonski
18 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
JLT ad - one third page.pdf
It’s There
Leo griLLMair
Patron, guides Ball 2009
from your friends at CMH!
The Karl Nagy Memorial Award was established in 2001 to assist amateur leaders
and guides in the development of their leadership skills. Until his death in 2000,
Karl set an outstanding example as a mentor in the mountains and was well known
for his leadership, safety and success.
This award provides an opportunity for Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) aspiring
amateur leaders and Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) candi‑
dates to participate at the ACC General Mountaineering Camp.
Alpine Club amateur leaders and ACMG candidates are given priority in
alternating years; 2010 is set for an ACC amateur leader. All applicants must be
current ACC members. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2010. For more
information, visit
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 19
Canada Day celebrations a high point at GMC
GMC participants celebrate Canada Day on the summit of Dolphin, which they reached by a new route.
From left, Roger Laurilla, John Andresen, John Wilms, Brian McCrindle, Diane Casurella, Kerry Mader,
Deborah Perret. Lying in front is Hugh McLeod. Photo by Sandy Walker.
Margaret Imai-Compton
anada Day at the 2009 Alpine
Club of Canada General
Mountaineering Camp actually
started on June 27, when our camp
manager, Edie Shakleton, handed out
Canadian flags at breakfast in Revelstoke.
The convoy of vehicles headed towards
the helicopter staging area at Bigmouth
Creek in the northern Selkirks was a
colourful stream of fluttering red and
white flags.
Because Canada Day ( July 1) fell
smack in the middle of the week, Week
One was destined to be a great birthday
celebration at this year’s camp. The camp
was nestled in the valley below Trident
(3136 metres) and Neptune (3201 metres)
while farther to the south, Escarpment
(3121 metres) and Nereus (2910 metres)
framed the skyline. Although the stream
running through the camp necessitated
some pebble-hopping between tents,
Brad Harrison’s set up team had thought‑
fully installed two log bridges over the
fast-flowing sections.
On July 1, various climbing groups
summitted Dolphin (3026 metres), Rhea
(2939 metres) and Porpoise (2943 metres),
proudly capturing their achievements
draped in Canadian flags. Many campers
sported Canadian flags for days after‑
wards, thanks to the skin tattoos Chung
Yee Loo so deftly applied to willing
victims early in the day.
And at dinner, a rousing rendition of
O Canada was sung, even though many
of us tripped on the lyrics because there’s
20 Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009
an old and new version of our national
anthem. “I just sing it the way I learned
it,” said Hugh McLeod. “I don’t remem‑
ber the part about ‘God keep our land’.”
According to Hugh, when the lyrics are
elusive, just keep repeating “O Canada.”
The GMC’s winning formula of
spectacular climbing objectives combined
with unsurpassed home cooking, superb
organization from Harrison and his crew,
and expertly guided climbs and instruc‑
tion met everyone’s expectations for both
returning and first time campers.
“This is absolutely amazing and
impressive. The camp set-up is excellent,
the people are fantastic and friendly and
the climbing is mind-blowing,” enthused
first-time camper Vi Pickering. “I can’t
believe I haven’t done this before.”
The early season start to this year’s
camp meant that many routes were still
deep in snow, so there was a substantial
amount of kicking steps by our guides
on virgin snow. Sylvia Forest, the most
petite and diminutive of guides, was the
acknowledged “queen of kicking steps,”
as she went out every day to stomp new
tracks for those on her rope.
With the exception of one morning
when we awoke to five centimetres of
fresh snow, the weather was consistently
sunny and bright and allowed us to climb
every day. The campsite was thankfully
close to popular peaks such as Trident,
Porpoise, Dolphin and Rhea. The daunt‑
ing and challenging climb to Neptune
was accomplished by three parties on two
different days.
The GMC is certainly about climb‑
ing objectives and achievements, but it
is a “camp” after all, and it’s interesting
to report on what happens off the
Week One was blessed with some
exceptionally talented musicians, includ‑
ing James Sawler who soothed and
comforted us at the end of every day
by singing classic ballads by Canadians
Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen,
as well as his original compositions. Brian
McCrindle expertly adapted Michael
Jackson’s song Billy Jean into a finger
snapping trip report of his Porpoise
As for the enduring GMC tradition
continued on page 19.
Participants at the GMC enjoy a heaping mountain breakfast. photo by Cyril Shokoples.
B.C. Mountain Club publishes centennial book
Ron Dart
o help celebrate the British
Columbia Mountaineering Club’s
centennial in 2007, editor Michael
Feller and his team have produced
The B.C. Mountaineer: 100 Years in
Mountaineering 1907-2007.
The large book, replete with excellent
essays and fine photographs from differ‑
ent decades, is divided into 14 sections
covering the Coast Mountains, poetry
and songs, thinking and philosophy, and
perspectives on climbing and the BCMC.
The large book is a well-rounded,
relatively comprehensive and balanced
presentation of climbing events and the
more political and reflective aspects of
mountaineering. Most of the photo‑
graphs in the large and weighty volume
are visual delights that will inspire and
encourage one and all to take to the rock
guardians of old, frigid glaciers and white
towers. The history of BCMC and moun‑
taineering in B.C. is generously covered,
with much deserved attention focused on
Mount Waddington, but the many trips
6166 ORC Alpine Club 1/3pg 9/9/09
by BCMC members that have turned
to challenging peaks outside Canada are
also touched on. This book clearly shows
the initial century of BCMC life as a
golden and energetic phase of the Club’s
life. Much gratefulness should be offered
to those who put in countless hours to
make this historic document a keeper for
generations to come.
Ron Dart is a Vancouver Section
1:21 PM Page 1
Every second counts…
continued from page 18.
The world leader in avalanche safety equipment.
Fully automatic switch Detailed situation
analysis at a glance
over: transmit/scan
Accurate navigation by Intuitive, visual pinpoint Manage transceiver
functions - print
means of bearing line search: fast and
activity with NEW
and direction arrow
2.1 software
Canada 403-283-8944
photo: N. Rapaich
of trip reports, we came to anticipate the
end of dinner when campers stood up
and summarized their adventures. Trip
reports became increasingly more creative
and competitive throughout the week.
The hands-down winner in this category
was Kerry Mader, who crafted a Trident
trip report based on Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs featuring Roger Laurilla
as the handsome Prince, Sandy Walker
as the princess Snow White and seven
campers who expertly played their parts
as Happy, Grumpy, Doc, Sleepy, Dopey,
Bashful and Sneezy.
And for those of you who have ever
attended sleepover summer camp, either
as a young person or as a GMC attendee,
you’ll know what I mean when I say there
were a few undeclared “camp crushes”!
Margaret Imai-Compton is a Toronto
Section member.
Alpine Club of Canada
Winter 2009 21
National Office news
by Lawrence White
all is certainly upon us. There is
snow in the hills. Days are shorten‑
ing and toques have replaced ball
caps. There is a reluctance to let go of
summer but winter is part of what it
means to be Canadian.
With the exception of the Fall Board
meeting, the Mountain Guides Ball,
and the Banff Mountain Book and Film
Festival, autumn at the National Office
provides time to catch up from summer’s
activities. And what a busy summer it
The biggest news of the year of course
was the demise of the Fay Hut. The Club
has exercised its right to rebuild on site,
again, per the terms of our Parks Canada
License. While these discussions work
their way through our administration
Lawrence White en route to climb Mount Huber.
Photo by Pat Morrow.
and that of the Parks agency, the very
real need to clean up in the aftermath of
April’s fire was undertaken. Such events
are never planned for and when they
occur it stretches resources in all kinds of
directions. So it is with great appreciation
that we in the office can look to a cadre
of volunteers ready to step up and get
their hands dirty – literally. These same
volunteers were called upon to assist with
a number of construction, as opposed to
deconstruction, projects over the summer.
Among those was a new roof on the
Wheeler Hut in Rogers Pass as well as
a new kitchen. Base logs on the Stanley
Mitchell Hut were also replaced along
with its kitchen.
It’s not just Facilities that benefits
from a wealth of volunteer time, com‑
mitment, and expertise. For the second
summer in a row, I attended the General
Mountaineering Camp, this time
as a participant on The North Face
Leadership Course. If you’ve yet to attend
a GMC, put it on your “to do” list. It is
truly an exceptional experience replete
with Club spirit and climbing mentors
giving their time to teach the art of
mountain craft. Of course you don’t have
to go that far to find these selfless people.
They’re in each and every section. All you
need do is look to your local trip schedule.
Another pillar of the Club is in the
area of mountain culture. This summer
marked the 100th anniversary of the
arrival of Conrad Kain to Canada.
Your Club supported the efforts of
the Conrad Kain Centennial Society
( throughout the
year, culminating in a climb of Mount
Huber. At 3368 metres, Huber was one
of the first significant peaks that Kain
guided for the Alpine Club of Canada
during their summer camp at Lake
O’Hara in 1909. The event also brought
out the Parks Canada Mountain WIT
troupe to perform its one-man show on
Kain’s life. Dozens of people gathered
by the shores of Lake O’Hara to watch.
If you’re interested, the play is available
for your section. The celebrations didn’t
stop there – a feature article appeared in
the Canadian Alpine Journal authored by
ACC member Zac Robinson, professor at
the University of Alberta. There was also
a re-release of Kain’s famous book, Where
The Clouds Can Go, with a new introduc‑
tion by Pat Morrow, chair of the Conrad
Kain Centennial Society.
These activities are really a frac‑
tion of what the Club gets involved in
throughout any given year, coast to coast,
and internationally. One common thread
through it all though is a sense of Club.
We’re bound together by our passion for
alpine regions and our mountain heritage.
Snow, toques, and the ACC; it doesn’t get
much more Canadian than that.
ACC Funds and Grants Program
hrough the generosity of many donors, the Alpine Club of Canada has
established funds to support mountaineering related projects and initiatives.
The deadline for submission of grant applications is January 31, 2010. Grant
recipients will be announced March 15, 2010.
The Environment Fund – provides support that contributes to the protection
and preservation of alpine flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The focus of the
Fund is wilderness conservation.
The Jen Higgins Fund – promotes creative and energetic alpine related outdoor
pursuits by young women. These projects should demonstrate initiative, creativity,
energy and resourcefulness with an emphasis on self-propelled wilderness travel,
and should provide value and interest to the community.
Jim Colpitts Fund – encourages young climbers between the ages of 17 and 24 to
participate in mountain related courses and programs such as wilderness first aid,
avalanche training, rock/crevasse rescue and mountain leadership training.
For complete info and application forms visit:
or call the ACC National Office at 403-678-3200 ext. 108.
Mike Beedell
In June 2009, the DehCho First Nations
and Parks Canada announced a massive
expansion of the Nahanni National Park
Reserve – from under 5,000 km2 to over
30,000 km2 – creating the third largest
national park in Canada.
The Nahanni is culturally and spiritually
significant to the DehCho. Their commitment to its preservation is long-held.
Thousands of people across Canada also
added their voice to the Nahanni campaign, demonstrating a vast and unified
support for wilderness conservation. The
result: a spectacular portion of our Boreal
wilderness ecosystem is protected forever.
This was the kind of success we had
in mind when the Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Mountain
Equipment Co-op founded
Help contribute to further successes like
the Nahanni. Add your voice to the call
to protect at least half of our wild land
and water across Canada – add your
voice to
Change in park size
4,765 km2
over 30,000 km2
The Big Wild was founded by
Mountain Equipment Co-op
and the Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

Similar documents

Elbrus—high point of Russian visit

Elbrus—high point of Russian visit Publications Mail Agreement No. 40009034 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: The Alpine Club of Canada Box 8040, Canmore, AB Canada T1W 2T8

More information

Once Upon a Mountain Once Upon a Mountain

Once Upon a Mountain Once Upon a Mountain The North Face Corporate Members Adventure Medical Kits Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Backcountry Access Black Diamond Equipment Can...

More information