The Alpine Club of Canada General Mountaineering Camp 2007 Review
Mount Alexandra, South Rice Brook, Canadian Rockies
This site is dedicated to Tim and his
a man whom I never knew,
a man whom I never met,
but who, in part,
gave me one of the coolest gifts I've ever received.
Me on the final summit ridge of Fool's Gold.
This summer I went to week four of the Alpine Club of Canada's annual General Mountaineering Camp (ACC GMC). This came as a rather huge surprise to me as I hadn't actually planned on going. In fact, I only found out 11 hours before I had to leave town. The couple of days leading up to it were certainly a whirlwind as the camp is normally something that people plan nearly a year in advance. The story behind how all of this occurred is explained in the My Arrival: On Loss, On Giving page.
The remainder of the website documents my experience as completely as possible - from reports of the actual trips I did, to the food, the guides, and to what life in general is like at the camp. I'm hoping that it will give those thinking about attending camp in the future an idea of what to expect, but also bring back some fond memories for those who attended camp along with me. Along with that, I've also written at a more personal level about my mixed feelings surrounding the circumstances of my being at the camp.
Most pages have a comments section where you are free to provide your thoughts or ask questions.
In 2007 the ACC GMC was located in a basin surrounded by glaciers at the base of Mt. Alexandra at an altitude of 2012 meters. Alexandra is about 100 kilometers north of Golden, British Columbia and access to it is troublesome other than by air. Thusly, Alexandra is one of the least climbed of the 11,000er's in the Rockies. Along with it, there are nearly a dozen other possible objectives of varying difficultly levels that were doable as day trips from camp. Below is the map created for the camp with most routes penciled in. The base camp is the yellow dot at lower center, just to the right of the 3 small tarns (lakes).
Map courtesy the Alpine Club of Canada
Getting the Most From Camp
I thoroughly enjoyed my GMC experience and would highly recommend it to anyone. Many who are less experienced may feel intimidated about going, but in fact I think those are the people whom can learn the most from the experience technically. However, you do really need to spend the time to ensure you come prepared with the correct equipment - proper crampons that you've already fitted to your boots, proper foul weather gear, etc - the ACC gives you a list of what to bring: take it seriously, as camp is expensive and there's no store out there. Also, ensure that you're physically fit enough to accomplish what you have in mind. If you intend to do 8- to 12-hour trips each day, you need to ensure you begin conditioning at home months in advance. The trips are supposed to be enjoyable, not torture sessions trying to keep up.
I did find that, aside from scheduled training like the Snow School day, the camp was one of those things where you have to take the initiative if you want to learn something in particular. The guides are more than willing to answer questions about the why's and how's of things they do during climbs, but it's up to you to ask the questions. And I asked a lot!
Aside from the learning aspects, the people are great and if you're just looking for a holiday out to climb with some people and have a great time, the camp is fantastic for that as well. Mountaineers are all really good people and there's lot's of laughs and good times to be shared over the week. The food is also first class.
The camp is also very well organized. My camp was the 101st - the ACC has been doing this a long time and have really got all of the kinks worked out. You only have to look at the 1st class outhouse, with it's sliding door design, to see that these guys know their stuff.
So go and enjoy an ACC GMC and, remember, what you get out of it depends upon what you put into it.
Although in creating this site I have tried to make the information as accurate as possible, it is not meant to be a guide, and I accept no responsibility for any loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by anyone using the information.
ACC GMC 2007 Review
© 2007 Parry Loeffler