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Vol. 26, No. 2 | Summer / été 2011

Waddington expedition a fun, safe trip pages 8

Rock on in Mexico!


# 40009034

page 18

SMALL INVESTMENT. BIG RETURNS. IT DOESN’T TAKE LONG TO BLOW THROUGH $24… A coffee here, a bagel there. Maybe a pint or two after work. Consider this: 24 bucks nets you six issues of award winning h humour, world class adventure and top notch gear reviews. N to mention awesome images, amazing people and a Not w whole lot of “Holy #@%$!” moments. Bre your own coffee. Toast your own bagel. Brew







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The Alpine Club of Canada

What’s Inside... Members

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

Executive Committee Peter Muir President Gordon Currie Secretary Neil Bosch Treasurer Selena Swets VP Access & Environment Zac Robinson VP Activities Carl Hannigan VP Facilities Isabelle Daigneault VP Mountain Culture David Foster VP Services Marjory Hind Honorary President Lawrence White Executive Director

Publication Lynn Martel Gazette Editor Suzan Chamney Layout & Production Nathalie Delbecq Translator Nathalie Roulin Translator

Submissions Submissions to the Gazette are welcome! For submission guidelines, please e-mail the Gazette Editor with your ideas at Advertising Advertising rate sheet available on the website or by request. Please direct all advertising inquiries to Suzan Chamney, National Office by e‑mail to:

6 Roger Neave recognized for climbs, ACC contributions 12 Mon bénévole préféré: Orvel Miskew 13 My favourite volunteer: Orvel Miskew

Mountaineering / Climbing

8 Waddington expedition a fun, safe trip 10 Tobacco Road revisited 15 Canada’s first World Cup comp a roaring success 18 Rock on in Mexico! 26 Success, tragedy on Everest


14 Cultivating the “safety culture” of the ACC


30 Littlest custodians visit Elizabeth Parker Hut

Mountain Culture / Science

21 Books ends 22 Yoho and Glacier national parks celebrate 125 years 28 Wolverine study yields valuable fur and facts

Editorial / National News / Awards

Short rope What’s your dream trip? Qu’elle est votre voyage de rêve? ACC Grants awarded in 2011 Winter TNF Leadership Course John Lauchlan Memorial Award Heritage Club milestones Recherche d’itinéraire Route finding National Volunteer Awards Prix nationaux pour bénévoles Executive Committee slate announced 31 Open air 31 À ciel ouvert 6 8 8 12 23 24 24 24 25 25 25 29

What’s Outside... Cover photo: Nick Matwyuk, Simen Vogt-Svendsen, Kjell Erik Reinhardtsen, Christian Veenstra and Line Veenstra walk the Homathko Mainline carrying heavy loads, Mount Waddington in the background. Photo by Steve Mullen. Story on page 8. Inset photo: Pierre Jordache rappells down La Gran Ilusion, 5.10 on El Diente. Photo by Marie-Marthe Gagnon. Story on page 18.

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 Backcountry Access Black Diamond Equipment CHM Heli-Skiing Devonian Properties Forty Below Golden Alpine Holidays Jardine Lloyd Thompson

Lafarge Ortovox Canada Osprey Packs Outdoor Research Patagonia Rocky Mountain Books Zaui Software

Club alpin du Canada



2011  5

Roger Neave recognized for climbs, ACC contributions by Lindsay


Lynn climbs the final crux snowbank at the trailhead parking lot after skiing the three-day, 50-kilometre Six Pass route from Maligne Lake to Sunwapta warden station in Jasper National Park in April 2011. photo by Julie Muller.

Short rope by Lynn



ow are you guys feeling about our objective right now?” Alan asked. Four of us were skinning slowly into a cloud high above the Columbia Icefield on the upper slopes of “No Name” peak, directly southwest of Mount Andromeda in Jasper National Park. Alan was asking the question because as we climbed higher, the temperature was inching higher too, causing the character of the snow to morph under our skis. He was asking what we were all won‑ dering—should we continue up, or enjoy the ski run down from where we were? With that question though, I mulled over another thought. What is our objective, anyway? For me, the answer is always simple: to go have a fun, safe adventure in the mountains from which all members of the party return home in one piece. The two parts of that sentence, or that goal, cannot be separated. They comprise a single goal. The summit, any summit, is optional. Icing on the cake, especially on those clear sky, see forever days, but not an “objective” that can be definitively decided upon in an e-mail, in the parking lot or over a couple of beers with maps spread across the floor. Once you leave the trailhead, all plans are tentative. Unfortunately, several accidents involving ACC members really reminded 6  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011


oger Neave was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England in 1906. He had four brothers and one sister. Two of his brothers, Ferris and Hugh, (both of whom predeceased him), climbed extensively with him in Canada and made their own significant contribu‑ tions to Canadian mountaineering. Roger arrived in Canada in 1928, joining his brother, Ferris, who was a freshwater biologist at the University of Manitoba at the time. For most of his professional life, Roger worked as a civil engineer with Imperial Oil Company in Sarnia, Ontario. While in Winnipeg, both brothers were initiated into climbing by Alex McCoubrey. That initiation grew into a full-blown passion, as the mountains of Canada became, for Roger, a life-long love. Over the years he made some 35 first ascents: the first was in 1929 in the Mount Toby area of BC’s Purcell Mountains with Ferris and McCoubrey. The last was in 1978 on a 5,000-metre peak in the Champará Range of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca with his brother Hugh, Ralph Hutchinson, Joe Bajan, Dave Fisher and Paul McEwan. In the 49 years between those events, and afterward too, Roger climbed

extensively in the Rockies (including the first ascent of the Molar Tower in 1933) and in all the major ranges in British Columbia. He made four expeditions into the Premier Group of the Cariboo Range, three into the Stikine Icecap and one to the Yukon. He also attended numer‑ ous Alpine Club of Canada camps. His overseas climbing included two exped‑ itions to the Cordillera Blanca (four first ascents); Africa, where he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 1973 with Paddy Sherman, Ralph Hutchinson and Scipio Merler; Guatemala; Europe’s Alps; and Britain’s Lakes District. He also led three treks to Nepal, the last being in 1988. Roger remained an active climber and skier to the end of his life. One of his most ambitious exped‑ itions was in 1934, when he attempted to climb Mount Waddington, in BC’s

me of this over the past winter season, as three Alpine Club of Canada members lost their lives in avalanches on ski tour‑ ing adventures. Everyone who knew them deeply misses the company of Ray Norman, Manfred Rockel and Brenda Desnoyers. While the circumstances of the two accidents that claimed their lives are different, as fellow ACC members we share a few things—the feelings of loss that come with the death of a friend, but also the gaining of knowledge that comes with learning from events that have led to serious accidents in the mountains. In this ridiculously over-connected age of YouTube and Facebook and reality TV, climbing and associated selfpropelled mountain activities are receiv‑ ing more media attention than ever. One thing that hasn’t changed much however,

is which stories garner the biggest headlines: successful climbs to the high‑ est summits, and tragic, disheartening accidents. What never makes the headlines are all those invaluable moments when the thousands of people, who are out climb‑ ing or backcountry skiing every day of the year all over the world’s magnificent mountains, make the good solid decisions that keep them safe to climb another day. Yup, boring, but really, those stories are the truly important ones. One more thing ACC members can all feel especially good about sharing: the desire and the commitment to a simple, clear goal to have fun, safe adventures in the mountains from which all members of the party return home in one broadly smiling piece. What better way to honour all our partners in adventure?

Roger Neave, front, sits with Rafe Hutchinson on the ridge of Mount Noel in 1977. photo Gil Parker.

Coast Mountains. At the time, 10 par‑ ties (including the partnership of Don and Phyllis Munday) had failed in their attempts on the mountain, and its summit had become one of the most sought after prizes in Canada. In 1933, McCoubrey convinced both Roger and Ferris to attempt the mountain via a route not yet attempted by the Mundays. Roger and Ferris drove out from Winnipeg to Tatlayoko Lake in the Chilcotin, which, in those days, was no mean feat. With Cam Secord and Arthur Davidson, they rowed their gear down the lake, then with the help of horses, progressed to the eastern entrance of the Homathco Canyon, a fierce gorge that cuts through the heart of the Coast Mountains to Bute Inlet. All the previous parties had fol‑ lowed the Franklin Glacier approach first pioneered by the Mundays. They spent three weeks relaying loads before they finally set up their camp at the base of the mountain on the Tiedemann Glacier below Rainy Knob. It was two trying days before they finally succeeded in reaching Spearman Col. In poor conditions they made a reconnoiter to the base of the final rock tower, but with driving snow they returned to camp. The next day, with time running out, they had no choice but to make the final attack in obscuring snow flurries. After several attempts they managed to get across the bergshrund, which put the party on the mountain’s east face, but in conditions where fresh snow covered verglas-sheathed rock. With daylight hours running out in tediously slow climbing conditions, they conceded defeat less than 150 metres below the summit. Their descent continued to be an epic and they were forced to bivy in an ice cave near the bergshrund where they sat out an overnight snowstorm. The next day they reached basecamp in clear‑ ing weather but, with no supplies for a further attempt, they had to admit defeat when victory was so close. Their return trip was an epic of equal proportions, exacerbated by their lack of food. As a memorial to their valiant attempt, two peaks have been named for them: Mount Ferris and Mount Roger. Roger’s love of the mountains led him to devote much of his time to ACC affairs, and in recognition of his leader‑ ship he was awarded the Silver Rope in 1934. He was a frequent leader at Club camps and when he was elected to the

Think outside. With over 100,000 copies of previous editions sold, Gillean Daffern’s bestselling hiking guides to Kananaskis Country have been completely reformatted, revised and updated. The previous two volumes have been extended into five exhaustively researched books. As the pre-eminent expert on the area, Gillean continues to offer something for every level of traveller, from novice to experienced hikers, scramblers or backpackers.

Lynn Martel’s vast experience and insight into the top activities for tourists, locals and the most intrepid weekend warriors infuse this collection of 20 of her best adventure stories. Complete with colour photos and maps, difficulty ratings, seasonal details and more, these stories will inspire everyone seeking adventure in Kananaskis Country, Canmore, Lake Louise, and Banff, Yoho and Jasper national parks.

board of directors, he brought to it his practical common sense, as well as his instinct of what was appropriate. In 1966 Roger was elected President of the ACC, an office he held for two years. It was while he was president that the Club sponsored and organized the 1967 Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition. Roger moved to Vancouver Island in 1970 and joined the Vancouver Island Section, becoming section chair in 1973. Roger retired in 1968 but never gave up all the interests he was involved with, which were many. Ralph Hutchinson wrote of Roger: “He was a small, wiry

man of surprising strength. Whenever he put on his boots and donned his parka and pack, he acquired an extra dimension; his face would light up, and his enthusiasm would infect even the most reluctant.” Roger died suddenly at his home in Cedar, near Nanaimo, on Nov. 17, 1992 at the age of 85. His wife, Francis, had passed away in 1990. Editor’s note: A film recording the Neaves’ 1934 journey from Ontario to Mount Waddington is rumored to exist. Anyone with information about such a film is asked to contact Club alpin du Canada



2011  7

Waddington expedition a fun, safe trip by Line Veenstra


he 30-plus kilos in my backpack felt like they were crushing me; every step was a struggle. Looking up from the gravel of the Homathko Mainline road, I saw a depressing yel‑ low sign: “2 miles”. Ahead were more than 40 kilometres of flat logging road, a marathon in telemark boots with 17 days’ ski mountaineering gear and food. I had carried similar weight before, but I had never imagined how much it would slow me down on a flat, well-maintained logging road. Somehow I thought weight only mattered when going uphill. Three days earlier, Simen VogtSvendsen, Kjell Erik Reinhardtsen, Nick Matwyuk, Steve Mullen, Christian Veenstra and I left BC’s Quadra Island in three double kayaks to paddle 100 kilometres to Bute Inlet. We planned to complete a self-propelled, self-supported trip to the Waddington Range by kayak, foot and ski. We hoped to climb Mount Waddington’s northwest summit, but our main goal was to enjoy the beauty of the range in a safe and fun way. Everything went well until the road; we all struggled. Moving at two kilo‑ metres per hour, I saw the days of skiing Line Veenstra takes advantage of the sparse snow on the Coola Creek logging road.  photo by Nick Matwyuk.

in the beautiful Waddington Range disappearing in the dust of the logging road. I felt discouraged and depressed, but with the guys taking a few things from my backpack and Steve’s endless supply of stories, I managed to regain the joy of the self-supported adventure. Two and a half days after stepping onto the Homathko road, we reached Scar Camp. Four kilometres along the Homathko River we finally turned up Coola Creek and began gaining elevation. Although our speed was even slower, I was excited to be approaching the alpine, the snow and the magical moment when we could step into our skis. The follow‑ ing day the views of the Waddington Range increased while the road condition decreased; slide alder and landslides are slowly taking over the Coola Creek log‑ ging road. A few hours of struggling with big packs in the slide alder wasn’t enough to discourage us though, because soon we were on skis. The next couple of days we made great progress. It felt great to finally reach the top of Scar Mountain and thereafter, the alpine. Looking back down the Homathko Mainline, I felt proud to have come all that way. We even man‑ aged a few turns after summitting Pivot Dome. By day seven we were cruising, skiing around Martello onto Bert Glacier and then the upper part of Waddington Glacier. Arriving at Mystery Pass fairly early, we decided to try Mount Munday.

Nick Matwyuk, Simen Vogt-Svendsen, Kjell Erik Reinhardtsen and Christian Veenstra check out Angel Glacier.  photo by Steve Mullen.

Feeling uncomfortable with the sun– affected snow at the short steep section that gains the ridge, especially with the sun still baking the rest of the slope, Christian, Nick and I turned around while the rest continued, and succeeded. That night we camped in Ice Valley, a place well named as there was ice every‑ where, and freezing temperatures. That was probably the first night we really needed the enormous snow wall the boys had been erecting every night thus far. On day eight we started early to cross

What’s your dream trip?

Qu’elle est votre voyage de rêve?

f you are a young woman with an idea for a mountain adventure con‑ sider applying to the Jen Higgins Fund to help make it a reality. The Fund is awarded annually to young women aged approximately 17 to 30 carrying out their own creative, self-propelled mountain adventures. Trips need not be highly technical in order to be success‑ ful, but should provide a challenge to the applicant as well as give back to the community in some way. For selection criteria and trip reports of past recipients visit grants/higgins.html. Deadline to apply is January 31 each year. 

i vous êtes une jeune femme avec une idée pour une aventure en montagne, envisager d’appliquer au Fonds Jen Higgins pour aider à en faire une réalité. Le Fonds est décerné chaque année à des jeunes femmes âgées de 17 à 30 ans pour appuyer leurs aventures en montagne. Les voyages subventionnés ne doivent pas forcément être très technique, mais doivent fournir un défi à la requérante ainsi que redon‑ ner à sa communauté d’une façon ou une autre. Pour les critères de sélection et des rapports de voyage de récipiendaires, vis‑ itez grants/higgins.html. Date limite de candida‑ ture le 31 janvier de chaque année.



Talon 33 1_3SQ EN ACC Gazette.pdf

Jester Pass before the sun hit, and to set up camp on Dias Glacier early for our summit attempt the following day. I was quite nervous about the upcoming climb; the Dias Glacier looked quite broken up. We went to bed at 4 p.m., then rose at midnight. I soon realized that Waddington was a mountain too big for me, so I turned around. It felt weird being at the tents alone, and I was relieved when everybody reappeared on the Dias Glacier at 10 a.m. They had climbed to 500 metres below the summit, but turned around because the Angel Glacier was mostly water ice covered with powder snow—poor conditions, particularly with a two-kilometre high cliff for a run out. We spent the rest of the day eating. We stayed at our Dias Camp the next couple of days to climb other nearby peaks. On day 10, Christian, Simen, Nick and I summitted Cavalier Mountain. The following day was Norwegian Constitution Day, so we proudly hoisted the Norwegian flag in early morning and it travelled with Kjell and Simen all day. Unable to choose an objective, we split up. Kjell, Simen and Nick attempted The Tit, but unfortunately were turned around at the nipple. Steve, Christian and I had better luck on Finality. It was quite the summit, giving us an impressive view over the range, including a glimpse of Knight Inlet. Finality had been at the top of my list, so I was super excited. The ski down was even enjoyable! Through regular contact with White Saddle Air via VHF radio, they informed us bad weather was coming in, so on day 12 we woke early and returned to Ice Valley. Despite bad weather we reached Scar Mountain in a day and a half. Looking down at the Homathko Mainline, a part of me wanted to walk all the way back, to do it self-propelled. Another part—a rather large part—hoped that Chuck, Homathko Camp owner, would offer us a ride back in the pick-up he had stashed on this side of the river. I held my breath as Christian called him on the VHF, but didn’t have to for long because almost immediately Chuck offered us a ride. We enjoyed a shower, good food and a real bed at Homathko Camp. The kayak back wasn’t as easy as the way in. We struggled with winds, a bear tried to eat a drybag containing Nick’s sleeping bag, and we spent a day pulled over on big boulders. A couple of fishermen tried to help us by towing our



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kayaks, but it was a gong show. A few hundred metres from shore the first kayak tipped, so we turned around. At least it was fun while it lasted, and as consolation the fishermen fed us some fresh prawn chowder; the best I’d ever tasted. The following night we rose at mid‑ night and were on the water an hour later.

It was beautifully calm and we had no problem paddling through the narrows. Five days after leaving Homathko Camp we reached Quadra Island, excited at completing a fun and safe trip. Many thanks to the Alpine Club of Canada’s Jen Higgins Memorial Fund for helping to make this adventure happen.

Steve Mullen, Simen Vogt-Svendsen, Kjell Erik Reinhardtsen, Christian Veenstra and Line Veenstra take a nap under the tap while waiting for better weather.  photo by Nick Matwyuk.

Tobacco Road revisited by

Andrea Petzold


t the start of a great adventure, it’s fun to sometimes have a ritual during that time. Maybe it’s a tiny bit bad, but it’s an odd reminder that makes that adventure a bit special. For us, the ritual was Drum tobacco, two packs of Zig Zag rolling papers and a plastic lighter. We collected in late March, 2011, and almost 18 years had passed since the four of us had spent any time together, really. Oh yes, there were some 50th birthdays and a few weddings, but these visits were often pep‑ pered with interruptions and not like the “real thing”—like spending time together in the mountains. In the spring of 1993, Mary Clayton, Sylvia Forest, Leanne Allison and I climbed the east ridge of Mount Logan, and now we were in Nelson, BC instead of Whitehorse, YK for an adven‑ From left, Mary Clayton, Sylvia Forest, Leanne Allison and Andrea Petzold rest ture on the Bonnington ski traverse. Of course we packed some at the doorstep of the Copper Cabin on the Bonnington traverse in BC’s West Drum tobacco and two packs of Zig Zag rolling papers and a Kootenays.  photo by Andrea Petzold. plastic lighter. in many directions, no one track was an downloaded the exact route and carried The Bonnington Range is a low range obvious route to the hut. We located the two GPS units programmed from separ‑ of mountains southwest of Nelson in the Grassy Cabin by following the GPS. ate sources. We zipped together map Selkirks and the traverse forms a horse‑ We loved the funky nature of the sheets 82 F/4, 82 F/5 and 82 F/6 from a shoe that wraps around the head of Erie rough-sawn log door and make-do topographic mapping program. Creek. There are three “Kootenay style” bench—a great place for rolling. All To coordinate shuttling a car, we cabins with firewood and Coleman stoves cabins require an advance book‑ opted to hire a taxi, leaving one car at the along the way, making our packs comfort‑ ing and this can be done online at finish which saved us a drive back to the able and this four-day ski one of the more start after a long and rainy final day. We enjoyable tours I’ve done. Although there for a $10 fee per person, per night—no highly recommend this—it’s cheap and is easy access, warm cabins and moderate refunds. super convenient. distances, to call this ski traverse a begin‑ We were glad for the unexpected good At the Bombi Summit on Crowsnest ner trip would be a mistake. The spring weather, despite a rather poor forecast. It’s Highway 3, 20 kilometres west of Salmo, weather in the Kootenays can often be not inspiring to be shuffling along in fog; we followed the power line along frozen warm, wet and windy. These low-level it’s also a bit stressful. From Grassy Cabin snowmobile tracks and chatted. After six cabins are tucked away in the BC bush, we headed north, meandering along the kilometres or so, we left the power line making them a challenge to find. More ridge and eventually busting through and aimed northeast for an obvious sad‑ than one entry in the logbook writes, treeline at 2,000 metres, while grab‑ dle at UTM 640 587. This ridge is treed “thank goodness for global positioning”. bing views west to the nearby town of and although many ski tracks headed From a public Internet posting, we Castlegar and the Kootenay River below. Mary Clayton and Andrea Petzold take in the view at dusk—and a few turns above the Steed Cabin.  A pond at the headwaters of Glade photo by Leanne Allison. Creek in the canopy of trees provided a fine lunch spot out of the wind. Gaining the saddle west of Marble Lake (UTM 671 658) goes a bit easier by staying on a low-angle traverse to reach the most northern part of the saddle. The Steed Cabin is 500 metres beyond in an open forest, but the heavy snowfall this year had just about buried the place. With the roof-line camouflaged from only 50 metres away, I loved the adventure. We dumped some stuff and took an early evening ski to the ridge. Then we rolled one, sitting on our packs at the cabin door. This is the obvious place to spend an extra day, with plenty of inviting ski runs of moderate length and steepness on the eastern flanks of Siwash Mountain. On our third day, we ventured through 10  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

the keyhole at UTM 684 677 to views of Snowwater Creek, Mount Connor and Copper Mountain. We shuffled along the shoreline of Rocket Ship Lake, as we called it, because it is shaped like one on the map. Our travelling conditions were great with good stability and good visibility, so we aimed directly for Copper Cabin from UTM 698 699, descending to UTM 705 700 and then marching to the hut. The Copper Cabin register had a very comical entry, poetically complaining about the daylight view roof, a short doorway and never-ending icy drip win‑ dow—all good value. Our final day was long and rainy. A blizzard on the alpine ridge of Empire Peak turned into a rain shower in Barrett Creek with nearly 1400 metres elevation loss. The ski down to Barrett Lake had rapidly changing snow—the south aspect had hero skiing that morphed to gorilla skiing in a short distance. As predicted, the logging road along Barrett Creek was well packed by snowmobiles. This race‑ track gave a good leg burn for our last few hours. I noticed how I love the smell of the BC cedars, the sound of open water and the outline of my ski buddy ahead. Good thinking for Leanne to pack some

beer in the snowbank near the car. Our next stop would be the OsoNegro Café in Nelson and a complete change of clothes. Times haven’t changed much, really, since 1993. We still love an adventure and being a tiny bit bad, rolling a rag top and scanning the group to see who is ready to join in. This ritual is followed by candid conversa‑ tions solving all the problems of the world. The only problem we didn’t solve is the destination of our next adventure. “So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” –Helen Keller

Top: Leanne Allison carves a turn below Siwash Mountain in BC’s West Kootenays.  photo by Andrea Petzold. Right: From left, Sylvia Forest, Leanne Allison, Mary Clayton and Andrea Petzold arrive at the glacier below Mount Logan in May 1993.  photo by legendary northern pilot Andy Williams.

You will never sleep with another.

Marmot Tent Collection Just one way Marmot helps you bond with nature.

Photography: Mick Follari, Brad Clement •

Mon bénévole préféré: Orvel Miskew par

Gabrielle Savard


rvel Miskew est un membre actif du Club Alpin du Canada depuis plus de 30 ans. Cela est certainement un accomplissement en sois même. Ce qui distingue Orvel des autres membres du Club avec autant d’expérience, c’est sont engagement continuel et sa dévotion en tant que bénévolat. En travaillant come bénévole Orvel a entrepris plusieurs activités ce qui inclut guide amateur pour les camps aux niveaux nationaux ainsi que pour les sections. Il a aussi publié quelques articles au sujet de la sureté dans les montagnes, et servi à plusieurs comités. Tels que des comités sociaux, de la sécurité nationale, les comités des prix, ainsi que les comités de l’escalade, et du ski, avec la section de Calgary. Un des plus grand talent d’Orvel est sont enthousiasme pour le maintien, réparation, et coordination de l’utilisation d’équipement de la section de Calgary. Tel que les tentes, cuisinières d’arrière pays, les kits de premiers soins et de rép‑ arations, les abris bivouacs, les pèles, les bêches et même les latrines – peu importe il en prend soins! Encore plus import‑ ant c’est que pendant plusieurs années Orvel s’est dédier en tant que mentor à tout débutant qui avait un grand désirent d’escalader. Avec générosité il partage ses connaissances sa sagesse ainsi que sont temps - une commodité qui est rare

de nos jours. J’étais ému en regardant cet homme prendre son propre temps pour amener les nouveaux grimpeurs dans les collines et les escarpements, et d’encourager les vieux amis de mon‑ tagnes à grimper aux sommets après qu’ils s’étaient absentés pendant plusieurs années. J’ai rencontré Orvel pour la pre‑ mière fois en 1995 au Camp Général de l’Alpinisme Clemenceau. C’est là que j’ai remarqué sa patience inspirante avec les novices. Orvel prenait toujours le temps de réviser les points les plus importants durant la prise de décision en sorti d’alpinisme. Aux courants des années il a écrit plusieurs articles à ce sujet et à d’autres, par exemple le meil‑ leur équipement à avoir lors d’un bivouac imprévu aux sommets des montagnes. Ma première expérience avec tel besoin m’est arrivée il y a quelques années lorsque nous avions atterri au sommet du Mont Brock à minuit. D’après ses amis, partenaires et débutants, les systèmes uniques dévelop‑ pés par Orvel pour assurer la sécurité de l’escaladeur sont légendaire. Récemment je me suis fièrement procuré une de ses invention nommé «l’ombilical ajust‑ able», ce qui a été conçue pour protéger le premier de cordée sur la glace. Il est fameux pour partager ses idées et sa «technologie» avec n’import qui intéressé – et assez curieux pour essayer ses propres fabrications.

ACC Grants awarded in 2011


he Alpine Club of Canada is pleased to make available more than $18,000 in grants this year to a number of worthy mountain-related projects. The Jen Higgins Memorial Fund is awarded to Vancouver climber Laura Morrison for her proposed climb of Denali in Alaska, an expedition which includes research into altitude sickness. The Karl Nagy Award is presented to Trevor Carter, an aspirant guide living in Calgary, Alberta. The Environment Fund is divided among: ●● Meghan Anderson, who will receive $200 towards her study on the effects of log‑ ging activity on mountain caribou and moose populations. ●● Natalie Stafl, who will receive $2,000 to study the effects of trails on the American pika. ●● The Nature Conservancy, which will receive $2,000 to help develop a conservation volunteer program in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region. To learn more about the ACC’s financial grants and awards, visit 12  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

Orvel Miskew describes his latest gear invention at the base of Chantilly Falls in Evan-Thomas Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta.  photo by Gabrielle Savard.

Orvel continue l’escalade en hiver comme en été, même après 30 ans avec le club. Et il est en meilleur forme que la majorité des autres escaladeurs. Ceux qui sans doute et essaye de le dépasser en montagnes feront face à un sérieux défi! Orvel aime être le premier en cordée, mais il est plus heureux lorsqu’il peut compter sur un grimpeur passionné pour mener la route, car il peut garder un œil vers l’arrière. Finalement pour ceux qui non pas eux la chance de passer du temps avec Orvel dans les montagnes, j’espère que vous pourrez un jour jouir et partager de son enthousiasme et de sa passion pour les montagnes. Merci Orvel! Gabrielle Savard est un membre de la section de Calgary ainsi que la section des Rocheuses. Si vous voulez écrire au sujet de votre bénévole préféré, s’il-vous-plaît veuillez contacter: Translated by ACC member Nathalie Delbecq.

My favourite volunteer: Orvel Miskew by

Gabrielle Savard


rvel Miskew has been an active member of the Alpine club of Canada’s Calgary Section for more than 30 years. That is certainly an accomplishment on its own merit. But what distinguishes Orvel from other Club members who have been around for as many years, is his ongoing commitment and dedication as a vol‑ unteer. Among his numerous volunteer activities are his serving as amateur leader for camps at both the national and section levels, publishing articles about mountain safety issues and serving on various committees, including Calgary Section climbing, skiing and social com‑ mittees, and National safety and awards committees. One of Orvel’s greatest talents is his enthusiasm for maintaining, repairing and coordinating the use of all the Calgary Section gear used for different section camps, including tents, stoves, first aid and repair kits, bivy shelters, shovels, spades and even latrines—you name it, he’s looked after it! But more, and probably most import‑ antly, Orvel has for many years served as a dedicated mentor for aspiring climbers of all ages. He generously shares his vast knowledge and his wisdom as well as willingly sharing his time—a far more valuable commodity these days. I have watched with awe as he has gone out of his way to take new climbers out on trips to the hills and the crags, and to coax older climbing friends back up a moun‑ tain after some years of abstinence. My first encounter with Orvel hap‑ pened at the 1995 Clemenceau General Mountaineering Camp. It was there I first noticed that his patient demeanour with novices was particularly inspiring. Orvel would always take the time to review the finer points of decision mak‑ ing in mountaineering. Over the years he has written numerous articles on this and other topics, such as the best bivy gear to have in your pack for those unplanned overnight stays on peaks. My own firsthand experience with such a need came a few years back when we landed on the summit of Mount Brock at midnight. Among his many friends, partners and acolytes, Orvel’s unique “systems” for optimizing climber safety are nothing less

than legendary. Just recently I became the proud owner of a set of his pat‑ ented “adjustable umbilicals”, which are designed to protect a lead climber on ice. He is famous for generously sharing his ideas and his “technology” with anyone interested—and curious—enough to try out his designs. Even after 30 years with the Club, Orvel continues to climb regularly in winter and summer, and is fitter than most out there. Any doubters who might try to outpace him in the mountains would definitely be up for a serious chal‑ lenge! Orvel does love to lead, but is even

happier when he can trust a keen climber on the sharp end of the rope while subtly keeping an eye on things from behind. Finally, for those who have not yet been fortunate enough to spend time in the hills with Orvel, my wish is that you may be able to do so, and to enjoy sharing his unabashed enthusiasm and passion for the mountains. Thank you Orvel! Gabrielle Savard is a member of both the Calgary and Rocky Mountain sections. If you’d like to write about your favourite volunteer, please contact



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2011  13

Cultivating the “safety culture” of the ACC by

Ernst Bergmann

“Mountaineering is a risk sport with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept the risks, as they cannot be eliminated. Assessments of them, planning how best to meet them and coping with them are an integral part of mountaineering. It is the overcoming of risk that provides the special stimulus and satisfaction. Participants should take responsibility for their own actions and involvement.” —UIAA Policy on Mountain Safety


first got involved in “extreme” sports— climbing, kayaking and eventually, backcountry skiing—as a teenager growing up in Germany. Back then, somebody who knew much more about it than I, provided me with some words of wisdom: if you do this a lot and long enough, it is not a matter of if, but just a matter of when you will be confronted with a big wreck. I didn’t actually understand the advice I was given back then, but took it to heart over time anyway. I got training and educated myself about safety and rescue, preparing for what might happen some‑ day. The advice also proved prophetic and, unfortunately, correct over time. I con‑ sider myself a careful guy, but have seen my share of close calls, had some neardeath experiences and, sadly, lost friends. Is mountain safety then, an oxymoron? On the contrary, it is exactly because these are dangerous activities, with a residual risk that can never be completely eliminated, that safety needs to be an ever-present theme and overriding con‑ cern in everything we do in the moun‑ tains. The Alpine Club of Canada needs to further cultivate its “safety culture”.

What is a safety culture? The term originated in research and analysis after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and has been used in dangerous industries since. It has also found its way into military and rescue organizations. In some circles, it has become an almost overused buzzword, and research into its effectiveness is lacking. Some com‑ ponents of the currently used industrial systems, however, are worth considering and useful. At its core, a safety culture requires a commitment to safety as a priority throughout all levels of an organiza‑ tion. The components of a functioning safety culture are that it be an informed, reporting, just, learning and flex‑ ible culture. A reporting culture is an 14  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

environment where safety issues are freely reported without hesitation. A just culture provides objective rewards for safe behaviour where everybody understands the rules and procedures for safety. It does not primarily rely on punishment, even though rules for corrective actions in case of flagrant safety violations are usually required. A learning culture is one that has implemented a system where conclu‑ sions from incident reviews and novel safety concepts are effectively translated to improve training. A flexible culture can easily adapt its procedures and training to these new concepts.

How can the ACC continue to develop its safety culture? The Club makes mountain safety a focus for all activities, procedures and training. We are committed to safety as a high priority at all levels, from the Executive and the Board of Directors to the sections, as well as individual guides, camp managers, staff and volunteer trip leaders. The Club needs to refine procedures that allow it to review inci‑ dents and accidents in an objective and non-judgmental manner, with a focus on learning from these incidents. Finally, we need to find ways to more effectively and quickly translate conclusions and recom‑ mendations from accident reviews into improved training and procedures. We must also find effective means to com‑ municate and disseminate those conclu‑ sions and recommendations throughout the Club.

Where is the Club on the path to an even better safety culture? The commitment to safety exists, and the newly stated values of the Alpine Club of Canada reflect this commitment; this was clearly demonstrated at the May 2011 Annual General Meeting through discussions within the Board of Directors and the comments shared by President Peter Muir.

The ACC now needs to articulate within its goals the long held belief in a safety culture, establishing objectives that will see the Club continue as a leader in safety training, and also the leading authority for mountain safety in Canada. This is not a competition though, and the Alpine Club of Canada needs to collaborate with all other organizations that have an interest in mountain safety, including the ACMG, CAC, FQME, Parks Canada and others. Specifically, the ACC’s Safety Committee recently updated the Standard Operating Procedures for incident reporting, requirements for reporting of incidents and the actual inci‑ dent report form. The incident reporting guidelines were originally influenced by the requirements of our liability insur‑ ance. The updated version also recognizes the need for incident reviews to feed a learning culture. The Club still needs to establish the mechanisms to feed the results of objective incident reviews and other research into improved training and policies. The focus will be to establish channels for communication and dissemination of safety information. Regular safety columns in the Gazette are a first step. Updating of the ACC website and a rejuvenated accident database will be fol‑ lowing as the web presence of the ACC is modernized. Section representatives who will maintain close communication with the National Safety Committee will also be required. In the end, mountain safety and a safety culture represent more a path than a destination. Ernst Bergmann is Alpine Club of Canada Edmonton Section Chair and National Safety Committee Chair. In spite of being required to read all the incident reports, he continues to go to the mountains and take risks.

Canada’s first World Cup comp a roaring success by Lynn



n May 27 and 28, Canada hosted its very first Bouldering World Cup competition in the Rockies’ town of Canmore, Alberta. With 1100 spectators, volunteers and officials cheering their vocal chords off, neither fresh snow on the high peaks or even on the ground of Millennium Park where the competition took place in a terrifically well-organized outdoor festival tent venue could dampen anyone’s spirits at this country’s first International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup event. Presented by Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Alpine Club of Canada, 70 of the world’s very best competitive boulderers from 10 countries pulled and flexed and lunged and balanced their way through the qualifying round, leav‑ ing Canadian men Eric Sethna, Sean McColl, Josh Muller and Terry Paholek, and women Alannah Yip, Elise Sethna, Thirza Carpenter and Stacey Weldon to advance to the semi-finals. Of the 20 semi-finalists from each category, only six advanced to compete in the final round, including athletes from Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, the US and Vancouver’s own, Sean McColl. Following a spectacularly impres‑ sive show of strength, determination, technique, style and enthusiasm­—helped along deafening cheers rivalled only by those expressed for a Canadian Stanley Cup winner—Japan’s Tsukuru Hori and Akiyo Noguchi took the gold in the men’s and women’s events, respectively. Silver went to Slovenia’s Klemen Becan and

Vancouver’s Sean McColl works his way along a tricky balancing problem during the final round of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup competition in Canmore on May 28 en route to a bronze medal.  photo by Pam Eveleigh. For more photos visit /worldcup

Austria’s Anna Stöhr, while Korea’s Jain Kim claimed bronze for the women. One the men’s side, McColl cruised the third, ridiculously steep, 135-degree problem to capture bronze. “Bringing the first ever World Cup bouldering competition to Canada has shown the International Federation of Sport Climbing and the world that the ACC is serious about competitive climb‑ ing in Canada,” said ACC Executive Director Lawrence White. “We’re here to support our athletes at home and abroad and are committed to the growth of the sport. It was a fantastic event all round.” In addition to the athletes, HUGE thanks are due to numerous volunteers

and the event organizers, especially ACC Competition Climbing Committee/CEC Chair Dave Dornian and Vsion Climbing Gym owner DÜng Nguyen who, since arriving in Canmore a decade ago, has worked tirelessly to train junior climbers and foster world-class climbing events in Canada.


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2011  15



these images may ma

The Alpine Club of Canada can

Photo: John Derick

Photo: Heiki Pauli

Photo: Suzan Chamney

Photo: Jordan Smith

The Largest Network of


w w | 403.678.

ake you want to leave your job and go hiking with us.

n not be held responsible for your actions. Viewer discretion is advised.

Photo: Dave McCormick

Photo: Nick Pavelich

Photo: Darren Rudy

Photo: Tanya Koob


in North America

.3200 x 1 |

Rock on in Mexico! by

Marie-Marthe Gagnon and Pierre Jordache


riving through Mexico can be at once an exciting and frustrating adventure. The scenery is truly breathtaking, given the splendid array of beaches, mountains, rivers, volcanoes, fauna and flora that line the horizon. The people of Mexico are a pleasant lot as well—appealing, easy-going and friendly. That said, if climber’s ambition ever drives you towards little-known mountains, be prepared to lose your calm—and a few car parts along the way. If you have explored Mexico by car, you are already familiar with the gaping holes, debris, animals and such that litter the roadways, all aggravated by a flagrant lack of signage. The pay highways are fine, but also quite expensive. Other factors can taint the Mexican experience, such as limited food choices, questionable hygiene, hot and cold weather extremes, bug explosions and the constant presence of all manner of thorns. When my partner, Pierre, and I arrived in Mexico in the fall of 2010, we were only planning to climb at Potrero Chico and Jilotepec, two well-known sites appreciated by international climb‑ ers. We drove our camper, a 1999 VW

Wall # of Stars

State / GPS



1,800 metres

5.7 to 5.13

1,300 metres

more than 500 limestone and dolomite more than 100 caliza, tufa and stalactites 60 volcanic

short from primitive camping

2,500 metres

120 basalt conglomerate

5.8 to 5.14

mainly short

Michoacán 19º 34’ 50” 101º 05’ 55” Guanajuato 20º 59’ 44” 101º 14’ 59” Jalisco 20º 47’ 23” 103º 23’ 50” Guanajuato

10 to 20 minutes from primitive camping 10 to 30 minutes

1,930 metres

50 volcanic

5.9 to 5.13

7 to 50 metres

2,250 metres

80 some granite

5.9 to 5.13

20 to 100 metres

close to primitive camping

1,600 metres

60 rough granite

5.8 to 5.13


10 to 20 minutes

1,900 metres

50 volcanic/basalt

5.9 to 5.13

FDM 20º 09’ 03” 99º 54’ 47” Guanajuato 20º 23’ 06” 101º 12’ 05”


2,325 metres

basalt—lots of trad, a few sport

5.9 and higher

10 to 60 metres 20 to 30 metres


1,932 metres

more than 25 volcanic, basalt

5.9 to 5.12

El Hoyanco “Chonta”



Jalisco 20º 57’ 05” 103º 23’ 42” FDM

El Oasis, Cañon de Tumbisca, Barranco de la Noria k k La Bufa k k El Diente k k Cañada de Gigante k Cañon de Aculco - Cañada de Concepción k La Alberca k

18  Alpine Club of Canada

all of this since we had more time to chat with Mexican climbers. We asked them where they lived and where they loved to climb in Mexico. Some pointed out a few recommended cliffs on our Mexican map. Armed with these reference dots, we embarked on a two-month journey to discover Mexican roads and mountains. The initial excitement was rapidly replaced by weeks of utter frustration. All said and done, we probably spent more time driving than climbing. The paucity of information, on the Internet or other‑ wise, regarding Mexican climbing sites is


Nuevo Leon

Jilotepec - Peñas de Dexcani Alto k k

Eurovan, proudly making its fifth trip to Mexico from Montreal. We crossed the USA-Laredo border—the closest entry point leading to Potrero Chico—problem free. After a few climbing days at Potrero Chico, we headed south of Mexico City to a site near Taxco. Our destination was the Petzl RocTrip Festival, an event that attracted most top Mexican climbers. Unfortunately for us, the climbing condi‑ tions were far from excellent that week. Long lineups and a cold spell prevented us from truly enjoying the cliffs. But, as usually happens, there was an upside to

5 to 30 minutes from the campground 40 minutes from primitive camping 35 to 50 minutes

Potrero Chico k k k

El Cuajo k k k

The authors’ 1999 VW camper van made the journey from Montreal to this lovely spot at La Posada Campground near Hidalgo. El Potrero Chico in the background. photo by Marie-Marthe Gagnon.


Summer 2011

1,500 metres

Grades 5.12 and 5.13 5.9 to 5.13

Height up to 600 metres 20 to 200 metres 12 to 40 metres

10 to 30 metres

quite deplorable. You also need to know that Mexican cliffs are poorly equipped with many homemade bolts, as well as poorly drilled standard bolts. Moreover, there is also the frequent risk of falls because the second and third bolts have been placed too high. Having survived all this, we want to share our experience in the hopes of making others’ trips to Mexico more enjoyable. As for us, our next Mexican adventure will certainly be more relaxed, as we’ll stick to the cliffs we most enjoyed and to which we have attributed more than one star.

Getting there Potrero Chico: Drive 18 kilo‑ metres north of Monterrey on road 53 toward Monclova, and 3 kilometres west of Hidalgo. 105910764 Chonta: For Las Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, turn west on a little gravel road from Highway 55, 3.5 kilo‑ metres south of the “Y”. The routes are in the shade.


continued on page 20

Pierre Jordache rappells down La Gran Ilusion, 5.10 on El Diente. photo by Marie-Marthe Gagnon.










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Club alpin du Canada



2011  19

Get the 2011 Journal for The Emperor Face on Mount Robson—or Yuh-hai-has-kun, the Mountain of the Spiral Road—is about as grand a venue as the Rockies has to offer for big mixed gully systems in the alpine. Its handful of routes average about 20 pitches in length; plus, the positions are hard to beat. In the spring of 2010, it hadn’t required too many words between

Jason Kruk and me to know we were both ready to clear our schedules when the conditions appeared favourable for an attempt. Despite having never before tied in together, Jason’s energy was infectious, and I sensed he felt the same from me. He was hot-off successful trips to Patagonia and Yosemite, so I knew he’d be a perfect partner for Robson. Read the rest of Jon Walsh’s story The Spiral Road starting on page 34 of the 2011 Canadian Alpine Journal.

Add a subscription for the 2012 volume to your membership for $22 including shipping (in Canada), lower still if you also have the Huts Option on your membership!

The Canadian Alpine Journal (CAJ) provides a record of the Canadian mountain ethos and mindset through articles and images that reflect the ways Canadians approach mountain culture, history, sport and science. The CAJ represents Canadian climbing from coast-to-coast, as well as Canadian climbers’ activities internationally, celebrating and reflecting the broadest current standards of style and difficulty.

Available in July

continued from page 21

El Cuajo: North of Guadalajera, take Carretera Cototlan. At kilometre 23, turn right toward San Lorenzo. Within 2 kilometres metal steps on your right side indicate the start of the trail. There is limited parking nearby along the road. Routes exposed to the sun until 2 p.m. Jilotepec: Located 2 kilometres south of Jilotepec, most of the routes are in the shade. El Oasis: Located 23 kilometres south of Morelia (40-minute drive), the last 7 kilometres on a narrow gravel road. The shaded routes are located in a scenic canyon with a little river. or La Bufa: South east of Guanajuato city. On Panoramica Street follow a gravel road that starts at the electrical site near ISSTE Hospital for1. 6 kilometres. Look for a .5-kilometre trail. El Diente: North of Guadalajara, take exit Saltilo from the Periferico, direction Las Canãdas, San Isidro. Turn to Rio Blanco and ask for further directions. Rodrigo from Bucio (village) in the state of Mexico cooks rabbits for Cañada de Gigante: Drive 12 kilometres east of Leon (20 minutes), his restaurant following his family’s special 50-year-old BBQ recipe.  including 10 kilometres of gravel. Turn left and park on a private road. photo by Marie-Marthe Gagnon. The routes are located in a canyon on either side of a small river. Aculco: On the west side of Highway 55, between San Juan del Rio and Atlacomulco. Mostly shaded routes. La Alberca: West of Valle de Santiago, almost in the city. More internet sites about climbing in Mexico: mexico/105910759 20  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

Books ends by Lynn


Ruthie’s Trails—A Lifetime of Adventure, by Ruth Oltmann In these compelling tales of adventure by a forever young woman, Ruth Oltmann recounts how she was born in Ottawa, Ontario, but found her niche in the Canadian Rockies. Her varied careers included running hostels in the mountains, cooking in the back‑ country, working in Kananaskis Country information centres and writing books— all of which led to a myriad of adven‑ tures on the trails and in the Canadian mountains. An ACC Mountain Culture Committee member, Ruthie published her first book in 1978 and has had count‑ less articles published in various maga‑ zines and journals, many of which appear in this book. Published by Mount Fable Press,

Ecology & Wonder in the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks World Heritage Site, by R.W. Sandford Forty years in the writing, Sandford, who has authored more than 20 books, including several of the ACC’s Summit Series booklets, refers to this tome quite sincerely as his “life’s work”. At 352 pages, this valuable volume displays the Canadian Rockies parks in their entire context as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, exposing their natural and human history in one captivating, thought-pro‑ voking, worthwhile package. Published by Athabasca University Press,

All That Glitters: A Climber’s Journey through Addiction and Depression, by Margo Talbot World-renowned ice climber and ACC member Margo Talbot shares her compelling story of healing and self-discovery amid the frozen landscapes of the planet. Rescued from the depths of drug addiction and crime by the lure of climbing frozen waterfalls, Margo rises from the brink of suicidal depression in a jail cell to being envied by a client in Antarctica for hav‑ ing a “dream life”. All That Glitters is a story of healing and redemption; a story about losing oneself, and then finding one’s way back home. Published May 2010 by Sono Nis Press,

Life of the Trail 6—Historic Hikes to Athabasca Pass, Fortress Lake & Tonquin Valley, by Emerson Sanford Canmore author and ACC member Emerson Sanford has always been fascinated by stories about David Thompson and the brigades of horseback riding fur traders crossing the historical Athabasca Pass. As an avid and enthusiastic backpacker and modernday Rockies explorer, Sanford has also long been attracted to visit such remote corners of Jasper and the other mountain parks. In the sixth instalment of his popular eight-volume Life of the Trail series, Sanford visits not just Athabasca Pass, but also several equally remote, captivating and historically rich and fascinating destinations as Fortress Lake in Hamber Provincial Park and Jasper’s Tonquin Valley. Published by Rocky Mountain Books,

The Will of the Land, by Peter Dettling The crisp, evocative images of an elk cow licking her calf, a dreamy-eyed post-coital grizzly pair and the unforgettable scene of a wolf and hulking grizzly’s nose-to-nose standoff make this hardcover, coffee table-sized book’s 176 high-quality pages a treat to peruse. The real story, however, is not as pretty, as Dettling writes how the wild animals whose very survival is mandated as the purpose of Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper national parks are killed by many dozens annually on the highways and railroad tracks running through those very parks. Published by Rocky Mountain Books,

Check out Gazette editor Lynn Martel’s new book, Tales & Trails: Adventures for Everyone in the Canadian Rockies on page 7 of this Gazette, and at

Club alpin du Canada



2011  21

Yoho and Glacier national parks celebrate 125 years by


Megan Long

n 2011, Canadians celebrate the 125th anniversary of Yoho and Glacier national parks and the centennial anniversary of Parks Canada, the world’s first national parks service. The birth of Canada’s second and third national parks is inextricably linked to the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1885. Steel rails were laid across three mountain passes—Kicking Horse, Rogers and Eagle—providing access through seem‑ ingly impassable terrain and uniting the country from coast to coast. The CPR developed Canada’s first mountain luxury hotels at the bottom of Kicking Horse Pass and near the summit of Rogers Pass. In 1886, two Dominion Park Reserves, Yoho and Glacier, were created to protect the area surrounding the hotels for tourists and adventurers. Along with Banff, these two parks became the foundation for one of Canada’s most enduring legacies: the

world’s first national park service. Nearly a century later, in 1962, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker further united Canadians when he tamped down the “last patch” of asphalt at the opening ceremony of the TransCanada Highway at the Rogers Pass Summit Monument in Glacier National Park.

Inspiring places For 125 years, Yoho and Glacier national parks have inspired art, sci‑ ence and adventure. In the early 1900s, understanding of the natural world was expanded by geologist Charles Walcott, who discovered the world’s most signifi‑ cant fossil find, the Burgess Shale, and surveyor A. O. Wheeler, who mapped vast stretches of the rocky and columbia mountains, as well as co-founding the Alpine Club of Canada. Today, Parks Canada is an international leader in conservation. Charles’ wife, Mary Vaux Walcott was

an accomplished botanist, glaciologist, mountaineer, painter and photographer. Throughout her life, she painted more than 1,000 plant specimens, which were eventually published in five volumes entitled North American Wildflowers— the “must have” guide for early North American botany enthusiasts. While staying at Glacier House in 1887, the Vaux family from Philadelphia began the first glaciology and botany studies in Glacier National Park while photographing the Illecillewaet Glacier. Their photographs and notes remain invaluable to today’s study of glaciology and climate change. The splendour of areas such as Lake O’Hara and the Illecillewaet Glacier has been the muse of many artists, including Lawren Harris and J.E.H. MacDonald of the Group of Seven. From 1885 until the 1960s, the CPR commissioned artists to create advertisements and brochures that lured travellers to their mountain hotels and oceanic ships.

Inspiring adventure Adventurers have always been drawn to the parks’ challenging wil‑ derness landscape. Glacier and Yoho national parks, once described as “fifty Switzerlands in one”, are known as the birthplace of North American moun‑ taineering. In 1888, Reverends William Spotswood Green and Henry Swanzy spent six weeks exploring the Selkirk Mountains. Prior to their arrival, there was no record of tourists ever entering

ACC NewsNet Stay up-to-date on the latest climbing, access and environment news via the ACC’s weekly e‑Bulletin. Subscribe to the ACC NewsNet by sending an e-mail to: 22  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

Silent Auction Four Course Dinner Live Music and Dance






Swiss Canadian Mountain Guide and our first representative to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association N A DI A N M O





*Read about Greg Hill’s year in his article 2 Million Feat in the 2011 Canadian Alpine Journal, now avail‑ able on the ACC’s online store. Visit to purchase your copy.

22nd annual Mountain Guides Ball Fundraiser


the rugged landscape beyond the toe of the Illecillewaet Glacier. In fact, prior to then, no one was known to have ever climbed a mountain in western Canada solely for sport. Beginning in 1899, the CPR hired Swiss mountain guides to teach hotel guests how to climb safely. In 1904, guided by Christian and Hans Kaufmann, Gertrude Benham left Lake Louise, trav‑ elled over Abbot Pass to Lake O’Hara, then descended along Cataract Brook, rounded Odaray Mountain, climbed Mount Stephen and descended into the town of Field. They covered 26 kilometres and 2,400 vertical metres—a daunting route even by modern standards. Today, mountaineers such as Revelstoke’s Greg Hill continue to chal‑ lenge themselves in the mountains of Yoho and Glacier national parks. In 2010, Hill set a world record by climbing and skiing 2 million vertical self-propelled feet in just under a calendar year.* For more than a century, these scien‑ tists, artists and adventurers have helped establish a time-honoured legacy that continues to shape the culture and com‑ munities nestled near the dramatic peaks, glaciers and rivers of Yoho and Glacier national parks. Canada’s national parks are protected


The Alpine Club of Canada and The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

For more information, visit: for all time. Visitors today can enjoy these parks much as the early adventurers experienced them. This year, visitors from around the world are invited to celebrate Yoho and Glacier national parks as we look forward to the next 125 years.

Megan Long is the Visitor Experience - Product Development Officer | Agente, Expérience du visiteur et élaboration de produit for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks | Park national du Canada Mont-Revelstoke et Glacier.

Winter TNF Leadership Course


ontinuing on the ACC’s tradition of mountain leadership, the TNF-ACC Winter Leadership course strives to enhance ‘soft’ leadership skills in our tireless volunteer activity organizers. This train‑ ing course emphasizes the "human factor" in leaders’ decision-making and is applicable to Section activities across Canada. Watch for it on our 2012 winter Adventures calendar.

Club alpin du Canada



2011  23

Recherche d’itinéraire par

Peter Muir


uand on cherche son itinéraire en montagne, c`est souvent un bon exercice de s’arrêter et regarder en arrière où on était, de regarder où nous sommes maintenant, puis de regarder en avant. L’Assemblée Générale Annuelle du Club Alpin du Canada (CAC) qui a eu lieu à Canmore en mai, ainsi que la publi‑ cation récente du rapport annuel du Club, mettent tous les deux en évidence que notre club est en très bonne santé finan‑ cièrement ainsi qu’en général. Le rapport annuel est disponible à (lien internet) annualreports.html Cependant la stabilité financière n’est pas la marque principale d’un club dynamique ayant du succès. Un bon

club dont les membres sont heureux d`y appartenir doit être un club partagé par des personnes ayant la même inclinaison vers des aventures à propulsion person‑ nelle autopropulsées en pleine nature, que cela soit par participation active, réflexion silencieuse sur des aventures passées ou même sur les aventures d’autres. Le dénominateur commun est que l’enthousiasme pour les poursuites alpines à propulsion personnelle pour le seul but du plaisir est une ‘vocation’ en et de soi-même. En lisant le Journal Alpin du Canada ou la Gazette, ou en scannant les sites internet des différentes sections du CAC et les calendriers hebdomadaires d’événements, on peut y voir les membres du Club là-bas dehors, en pleine nature



50 years

Roy Everest, Jasper, Alberta David Krashes, Princeton, Maine Donald C. Morton, Victoria, British Columbia Karl Winter, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia



very year, the Alpine Club of Canada celebrates those members who have been with the Club for 25, 35 and 50 years. The Club recognizes these members with a special lapel pin, with the 25- and 35-year members receiving an attractive certificate and the 50-year mem‑ bers receiving a handsome wall plaque. In 2011, 20 members reached the 25-year milestone, 14 members reached the 35-year milestone and four members reached their 50-year milestone. Congratulations to everyone, and especially to all of those named below— you are in very esteemed company!


Heritage Club milestones





John Lauchlan Memorial Award As recipients of the 2011 John Lauchlan Memorial Award, Canadian alpinists Jason Kruk and Chris Geisler made an outstanding attempt to establish a new route on and near the infamous Maestri Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia without using any of its dozens of existing bolts, or placing any new ones. The two climbed new terrain to a point high on the headwall, but were forced to descend from just 50 metres below the top of the rock headwall. Well done! Read their story in the 2011 Canadian Alpine Journal now available at: For information on how you can apply for the John Lauchlan Memorial Award, visit: 24  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

s’y amusant. Toute publication ou événe‑ ment soutenu par le Comité Culturel de Montagne démontre que la poursuite créative, que ce soit par l’écriture, la pein‑ ture ou le théâtre, est un aspect unique et complet de l’escalade en montagne. C’est pour cela que nos membres ont parlé avec tant de passion à propos de notre bib‑ liothèque CAC. La visibilité de notre club est en croissance. Les profiles d’athlètes, d’événements et de cabanes de montagnes deviennent le point central régulier de beaucoup de publications. Bien sûr, une visibilité accrue amène des défis accrus. Ceux-ci incluent de s’assurer, autant que possible, que les membres aient accès aux actifs et programmes créés par et pour eux, aussi bien que d’avoir à faire en général à une variété de personnes hautes en couleurs, ayant des perspectives, buts et inclinaisons différentes. Tous ces défis sont bien gérés par des membres exécutifs du national et des sections dédiés au CAC. Pas souvent remercié, ou en tout cas certainement pas assez souvent, est la multitude de bénévoles qui rende tout cela possible. Globalement l’image est très posi‑ tive. Si positive que j’ai le grand plaisir d’annoncer qu’à l’Assemblée Générale de printemps 2011, le Club a donné la bien‑ venue à une nouvelle section du nord du Canada, la Section du Yukon. Je suis sûr que vous serez d’accord avec moi que ceci est un développement passionnant pour le CAC et pour le potentiel d’alpinisme d’une région incroyable du Canada. Pour ce qui est de la part de l’Assemblée des Directeurs, nous continu‑ erons de faire tout ce que nous pourrons pour encourager le plaisir en montagne autopropulsé afin qu’il se fasse de manière sûre et respectueuse de l’environnement pour le bénéfice de tous nos membres et pour l’alpinisme même. —Peter Muir, ACC President Translated by ACC Member Nathalie Roulin.

Route finding by

Peter Muir


hen route finding in the mountains, it is often good practice to stop and look back to where you’ve been, to look at where you are, and then to look ahead. The Alpine Club of Canada’s Annual General Meeting, which took place in Canmore in May, plus the recent publication of the Club’s annual report, both highlight our club to be very healthy—financially and other‑ wise. The annual report is available at annualreports.html Financial stability, however, is not the main mark of a successful, vibrant club. A good club whose members are happy to belong should be one shared by people with an inclination toward self-propelled wilderness adventure, whether that means active participation, quiet reflection on past adventures or even the adventures of others. The common denominator is that shared enthusiasm for self-propelled alpine pursuits for the purpose of enjoy‑ ment is a high calling in and of itself.

Reading through the Canadian Alpine Journal or the Gazette, or scanning the various ACC section websites and weekly events calendars, one sees the Club’s members out there enjoying themselves. Any publication or event supported by the Mountain Culture Committee dem‑ onstrates that creative pursuit, whether in writing, painting or drama, remains a full and unique aspect of climbing. That is why our members have spoken so pas‑ sionately about our ACC library. The profile of our club is growing. Profiles of athletes, events and back‑ country huts are becoming regular focuses in many publications. Of course, increased profile brings increased challenges. Those include ensuring, as much as possible, that mem‑ bers have access to the assets and pro‑ grams created by and for them, as well as the general variety of dealing with people, their colourful personalities and different perspectives, aims and inclinations. All these challenges are well-handled by con‑ scientious national and section executive

members dedicated to the ACC. Not often thanked, or at least cer‑ tainly not often enough, are the many, many volunteers who make it all happen. Overall, the picture is very positive. So positive, that I’m very pleased to announce that at the 2011 spring AGM, the Club welcomed a new section from Canada’s north—the Yukon Section. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is an exciting development for the ACC, and for the mountaineering potential of an incredible region of Canada. For the Board of Directors’ part, we will continue to do what we can to encourage self-propelled mountain enjoyment in a safe and environmentally responsible manner for the benefit of all our members, and for mountaineering in its own right. —Peter Muir, ACC President

Recycle this Gazette Leave it in your psychiatrist’s office

National Volunteer Awards

Prix nationaux pour bénévoles

he Alpine Club of Canada extends its congratulations to the following devoted volunteers who were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the national and/ or section levels of the Club in 2010. A description of the recipi‑ ents’ accomplishments can be found on the ACC’s website at

élicitations aux bénévoles dévoués, mentionnés ci-dessous, qui furent reconnus pour leurs contributions exception‑ nelles au Club Alpin du Canada en 2010, tant au niveau national qu’au niveau des sections. Une description des réalisa‑ tions des récipindaires est disponible sur le site web du CAC au



A.O. Wheeler Legacy Award

Presented in recognition of outstanding and varied contributions to the Alpine Club of Canada over a period of many years:

David Dornian, Competition Climbing Canada/ Compétition d’escalade Canada

Don Forest Service Award

This award recognizes significant service to the ACC. The Don Forest Award for 2010 was presented to: Cedric Zala, Vancouver Island Section Murray Levine, Montreal Section Karen McGilvray, Toronto Section

Many thanks to the members of the Awards Committee:

Dave Dornian receives his award from ACC President Peter Muir. photo by Cam Roe.

Un grand merci aux membres du Comité des prix :

André Mahé (Chair/président, section Saint-Boniface), Paul Geddes (Vancouver Section), Rod Plasman (Rocky Mountain Section), Dave McCormick (Saskatchewan Section), Bill Scott (Ottawa Section) and Tom Haslam-Jones (Montreal Section). Club alpin du Canada



2011  25

From left, Elizabeth Tertil, Peter Kinloch and Enrique Rodriguez take in their moment on the world’s highest point. photo by Lhakpa Sherpa Lama.

Success, tragedy on Everest by

Gordon Hopper

Editor’s note: This article contains details that some readers might find disturbing.


n March of 2010, Elizabeth Tertil and I embarked on our second attempt to climb Mount Everest. Our 2009 summit bid was thwarted, when on the eve of our summit attempt we helped rescue another climber at the 8,300-metre camp.  After six days in Kathmandu, we left for Tibet, taking three acclimatisation and three driving days to reach basecamp at 5,200 metres in Tibet’s Rongbuk Valley. To adjust to the altitude we ascended to the intermediate camp at 5,800 metres in the East Rongbuk Valley, then two days later hiked to advanced basecamp (ABC) at 6,400 metres. There we practiced ice climbing and ascended to camp 1 at 7,050 metres for two nights. Our oxygen saturations were in the high 60s, low 70s [normal values are 97 to 99]. Since at high altitudes the body prefers to con‑ sume itself rather than absorb food from the intestine, we descended to basecamp to recover. Acclimatisation is a complex process which involves changes in haemoglobin, 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate, respiratory acid/ base status and induction of various meta‑ bolic enzyme systems which allow cells to function at a lower partial pressure of oxygen. Some individuals do not possess

26  Alpine Club of Canada


Summer 2011

the ability to adjust and cannot stay at elevations much above 3,000 metres. After a few days’ rest we started the process all over, this time spending four nights at the North Col and on one day ascending up to 7,600 metres without oxygen. Descending again, this time to the towns of Shegar and New Tingri at 4,200 metres, we allowed our bodies to better recover, regaining our strength for the upcoming summit bid. Ten days later we returned to basecamp where we tried to coordinate our summitting with the

most favourable weather forecasts. Our last hike to ABC was followed by two days’ rest and then the final summit push started. We decided to use oxygen at 2 litres per minute above the North Col to conserve our strength. The 800 metres from the North Col to camp 2 was a long haul, but we managed very well. Next day was a shorter 500-metre climb in cloud and light snow to camp 3 at 8,300 metres. Once there, we had only a few hours to rest, rehydrate and prepare for the summit departure at 11 p.m. It took us so long to melt and boil enough snow to rehydrate and each carry a litre of hot fluid to the summit that we did not get any sleep at all. Soon after leaving for the summit in blowing snow and -30 C temperatures, we encountered a descending Japanese climber with advanced High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE). My dexa‑ methasone was frozen solid and difficult to thaw to draw into a syringe. Right after administering a dose it refroze; the needle and syringe parted company and the remainder was lost. We had to abandon him as our efforts were too late to save him. We continued climbing up the steep face to the North Ridge, then proceeded to the first of three rock steps. The threequarter moon had set, making it dark and very cold. I was not feeling as strong as I thought I should and given the extreme nature of the weather and surround‑ ings decided it prudent to turn around at 8,500 metres. I took the extra bottle of oxygen from our Sherpa while the others continued up. Having noticed an overhanging rock I headed there to take shelter there to wait for daylight before descending the steep face to camp 3. On

Tents tucked into the North Col camp add a splash of colour high on the mountain. photo by Gordon Hopper.

arrival however, I found a body inside. I had no option but to hunker down beside him—likely a Pakistani climber known as Green Boots from the 1996 tragedy account, Into Thin Air. After sunrise I enjoyed a magnificent view of Makalu, Lhotse and Everest’s north ridge leading up to the summit. While rappelling to high camp I checked the Japanese climb‑ er’s carotid pulse but he was already cold. I also had an episode of oxygen failure likely caused by freezing of the conden‑ sation in my mask, but soon realised I would be OK without it. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and the others endured a prolonged journey to the sum‑ mit due to fogging goggles and buried ropes, not arriving until noon. By that time the wind had become quite strong with the wind chill lowering temperatures to the equivalent of -50 C to -60 C. Elizabeth joined me in camp 3 around 4 p.m., where we suffered another night with little sleep as we assisted in the rescue of our unfortunate colleague Peter Kinloch. He had begun to develop HACE on the summit, with subtle signs appearing on the descent as he stumbled then fell and became blind. The guide and Sherpas who were with him, along with the others we had sent up to treat and help bring him down, had to abandon him when, in his confusion, he threw his oxygen cylinder down the mountain. Having been above 8,600 metres for more than 24 hours, his rescuers were forced to descend as their lives were in danger. The following day Elizabeth, most of the others and I descended to advanced basecamp. We felt sad at Peter’s death, but pleased with our achievements. I was disappointed at not reaching the summit, but glad to be alive and have all parts of me intact. I was very happy at Elizabeth’s success, not only on having summitted Everest but also being one of the few women in the world to have climbed the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each continent. Gordon Hopper and Elizabeth Tertil are ACC Calgary Section members. Gordon is an MD who has specialized in anaesthesia and sub-specialised in anaesthesia for open heart surgery for 25 years, which exposes him to critical care medicine, physiology and pathophysiology of the lungs and heart on a daily basis. On May 25, 2010, Elizabeth completed her Seven Summits project when she reached Everest’s summit.

Tents at the intermediate camp at 5,800 metres in the East Rongbuk Valley are dwarfed by “pilgrims”. p  hoto by Gordon Hopper.

Altitude-related illnesses can be divided into three conditions: Acute Mountain Sickness is characterised by headache, lack of appetite, nau‑ sea, light-headedness, insomnia and fatigue. It will often resolve spontaneously if one refrains from ascending for two or three days, but if not, one has to descend. Prevention is best accomplished by ascending no more than 300 to 400 metres per day above 2,500 to 3,000 metres, depending on one’s initial altitude of acclimatisation. Treatment is with analgesics such as ASA and Tylenol for headache, and acetazol‑ amide to help hasten the body’s acclimatisation process. If all else fails, one must descend. ●● High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) is characterised by breathlessness out of proportion to the level of exertion, and dry cough which eventually produces secre‑ tions that are often blood stained. The chest sounds as though it is full of secretions and the pulse is fast. The best strategy to avoid HAPE is to ascend slowly, avoid exces‑ sively strenuous exercise and with prophylactic acetazolamide [Diamox]. Treatment is to descend, descend, descend. To buy extra time, it is worth taking nifedipine (Adalat LA), dexamethasone and Viagra. The latter drug was originally developed for pul‑ monary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lung), and this is one of the major pathophysiological features of HAPE. Inhaled Salmetrol may allow a HAPE prone climber to ascend higher in safety. If available, a pressurised Gamow body bag helps buy extra time to descend. ●● High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE) can be the most rapidly lethal of the altitude related conditions. Its onset can be easily missed with symptoms such as behaviour that is unusual for that individual. This progresses to stumbling, falling, increasing confusion, irrational behaviour and blindness. As in HAPE, the treatment is to descend as quickly as possible. To buy time, dexamethasone should be admin‑ istered by intramuscular injection (intravenous, though best, is not usually possible). Oxygen should be administered if available and a Gamow bag can be a life saver. One must remember that it may take more than 24 hours to assist a disabled climber from high on Everest to advanced basecamp. One last condition that can quickly sap a climber’s strength is diarrhoea. The best quick fix for this is Imodium or loperamide and ciprofloxacin. Two to three doses of ciprofloxacin 12 hours apart will cure most episodes of this condition. In addition, some climbers take one dose of Imodium before leaving for the summit to avoid any exposure of bare skin to the elements. Most of these drugs can be bought very cheaply in Kathmandu without a prescription.  ­ —Gordon Hopper ●●

Club alpin du Canada



2011  27

Wolverine study yields valuable fur and facts story and photos by Lynn



up, a wolverine has definitely been here!” exclaimed Barb Bertsch as we skied into a clearing following her GPS signal a few hundred metres from the Pipestone River bank, two and a half hours from the trailhead near Lake Louise. “I hope he left more than bones.” Opening a metal box fastened to a tree a metre above the snow surface, Bertsch, a tracker, field technician and veteran of numerous wildlife studies, and wildlife ecologist Tony Clevenger, lead researcher for a five-year study examining the impacts of the TransCanada Highway wildlife crossings, checked on the remote infrared-operated camera encased within. The bones to which Bertsch referred—including telltale elongated front teeth—were all that remained of a beaver carcass that had been securely nailed about three metres above the snow to a tree several metres from the camera. Below the bones, a spiral of barbed wire eight revolutions high wrapped the tree.

Approaching the tree brandishing a pair of needle-nose pliers, Clevenger quickly spied his treasure. “Oh ya, we’ve got some fur,” he announced. Moving to within a few centimetres of his gloved finger tip, I finally spotted the fine strands of animal fur snagged in the barb. Recording strand numbers in a log‑ book, Bertsch marked the location of each sample in relation to the camera to help identify which animal left each sample in case of multiple individuals of a certain species. “You don’t always get a sample from a hair/fur strand,” Clevenger explained. “You have to have the follicle. That’s why it’s important to rip the fur out, rather than taking shed hair. It’s nice to have a big tuft of fur, but even one hair with a good follicle is useful.” “Some sites you see this big wad like a dog shed and it’s like yahoo, you know you’ve got some good ones,” Bertsch

Wolverine researcher Tony Clevenger, right uses needle-nose pliers to remove strands of fur from a barb a half-metre below the skeletal remains of a beaver carcass that was hung to lure wolverines, while field technician Barb Bertsch records information.

added, explaining a large tuft usually means all the strands are from a single animal since each barb can only hold so much fur. Moving methodically around the tree, Clevenger placed the samples into num‑ bered envelopes. They will be sent to a US Forest Service conservation genetics lab in Missoula, Montana to be analysed by a top North American mustellid and land‑ scape genetics expert. Tests will identify the species and also individuals, including gender and offspring, the results of which are expected in about six months. Clevenger and Bertsch then dis‑ mantled the site, packing up the wire, camera and casing in their packs. This was just one of 48 such sites established in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks during the 2010/11 winter season, includ‑ ing five non-park sites in BC’s Columbia Valley. It took three full-time and three part-time staff, including Clevenger and Bertsch, a full month to set up the sites by mid-January. Reaching each site meant skiing for several hours carrying a 15-kilo‑ gram solidly frozen beaver carcass plus other gear in a backpack. Several remote sites required overnight stays in warden cabins, with the beavers, secured inside barrels, delivered by helicopter. Hanging the carcases on south-facing trees with a smelly lure was physically taxing, messy work best carried out—but not always— by two-person teams. Through the course of the winter, each site hosted one beaver for three 30-day sampling sessions. Despite skiing more than 2,000 kilo‑ metres in temperatures as low as minus 25 C and wielding barbed wire, hammers and spikes, the researchers ran the project injury-free. Dismantling the sites by the end of April, Clevenger and his team were thrilled with the success of Wolverine Watch, part of a multi-year partnership between Parks Canada, Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute, the Miistakis Institute and Woodcock and Wilburforce Conservation Foundations, with support from the Alpine Club of Canada. Overall, 88 per cent of the sites saw wolverine visits, with only three of the park sites not visited. Having wolverine activity throughout

teeth, trying to get it down. “It was amazing, it was up pretty high,” Bertsch said. “Wolves just stand around hoping it will drop,” Clevenger added. Once hit, the sites were usually visited again. Lab results will determine if it was the same wolverine on stake out waiting for a fresh beaver carcass. The project hit a snag in February when beaver carcasses became scarce. Fortunately, trappers from BC and Alberta responded to Clevenger’s Internet posting: “Need beavers, will pay $30.” “All of a sudden beavers came out of the woodwork,” Clevenger said. “Without beavers the whole project is jeopardized.” On the up side, Clevenger was grate‑ ful to have more volunteers than he could assign. “We know so little about wolverines in the three [Yoho, Banff and Kootenay] national parks, other than tracks that are commonly seen in localized areas with high visitation, such as Lake O’Hara,”

Clevenger said. “Before the survey began, I guessed we would have had 30 to 40 per cent visitation rate at the hair traps. “We’re thrilled; we’ve done much better than that.” To learn more, please visit Reprinted with permission from the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Executive committee slate announced


he Alpine Club of Canada’s Executive Committee for the 2100 to 2013 term assumed office at the Club’s Annual General Meeting on May 14. The Executive members are as follows: President - Peter Muir (Winnipeg); Secretary - Gordon Currie (Calgary); Treasurer - Neil Bosch (Edmonton); VP Access and Environment - Selena Swets (Victoria); VP Activities - Zac Robinson (Edmonton); VP Facilities - Carl Hannigan (Calgary); VP Mountain Culture Isabelle Daigneault (Montreal); VP Services - David Foster (Ottawa). The Club extends a warm welcome to the new Executive Committee members, and huge thanks to the many who have agreed to continue serving over the next couple of years! Many thanks are also extended to outgoing VPs Roger Laurilla and Evan Loveless.




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Tiny strands of fur are caught in a barb on wire wrapped around a tree where a beaver carcass was hung to lure wolverines to climb up for their dinner. The technique provides researchers with a non-invasive method of recording wolverine activity and population numbers in a study area.

V I T – ES 29 2011 M



the six-square-kilometre study area con‑ trasts information garnered from a similar study conducted in Kananaskis Country over the winter, which showed much lower visitation rates, suggesting the national park population may be a source for the non-park areas that are subject to trapping and more impacted by human activities. “The main study is to learn if the Trans Canada and other highways are barriers to their movement and gene flow that fragment the population in two,” Clevenger explained. “Such fragmenta‑ tion would ultimately reduce population size and chances for long-term survival in the area.” Rarely seen, the dog-sized wolverine travels up to 40 kilometres a day; males roam up to 1,000 square kilometres while avoiding all types of human disturb‑ ance, including roads, forest-cutting, snowmobilers and heli-skiers. Setting the non-invasive (no collars or human con‑ tact), traps in winter meant hibernating bears were unlikely to reach the beavers. The study began with six pilot sites last year, and will resume in 2012/13 with more hair traps. Along with the excitement of find‑ ing wolverine fur on the first trap they checked, the researchers also experienced some challenges. One site witnessed so much pine marten activity the camera card was full before any wolverines showed up, while something chewed through the cable to the infrared trigger disabling the HD video. Another camera captured a determined coyote climbing the tree and grabbing the carcass in its



Photo: Alex Girard backcountry skiing, Rogers Pass, B.C. © Ryan Creary


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Club alpin du Canada



2011  29

Littlest custodians visit Elizabeth Parker Hut by Val



fter locking up the truck at the base of the Lake O’Hara access road, I hoist my pack and head to the bus shelter. On my ride up I’m confi‑ dent two weeks’ rain will cease. Off the bus, I set out for the Alpine Club of Canada’s Elizabeth Parker Hut, hoping to score a spot in the small Wiwaxy Cabin. As a descending gentleman passes, I joke, “I’m tired already.” “You’ll get used to it,” he smiles. “Do you know if there’s space in the little cabin?” I ask. “It’s possible.” After a pause, he con‑ tinues, “But, be forewarned! There are a couple of squeaky little kids in there!” Optimistic, I head on. My senses awake to the surroundings: lush flora, mushrooms of unfamiliar shapes and colours, ferns, soft moss, lichens—a mid‑ summer’s dream. Water newly freed from ice and snow plays secretively around and over fallen trees and mossy rocks. Sprays of bright vertiginous growth covering much of the small valley extend an invita‑ tion to simply be present. Excited, my spirit expands into the

Anna Erickson, 5, and Francis Benoit, 4, eagerly help with chores at Elizabeth Parker Hut.  photo by Scott Benoit.

brilliant greens of this intensely private place as I breathe in the light, the trees, the far sky surrounded by snowy peaks. I am home. Near the bridge, Elizabeth Parker Hut stands inviting and deserted. I cross the wooden bridge onto the stone path and open the door of the little cabin to find a sleeping space by the window. I unpack. Minutes later I leave the cabin, turn‑ ing right at the bridge, striking out to Lake McArthur. Trekking up a boulder field that grows increasingly rough high above Lake O’Hara, I eventually emerge at a shallow lake where a goldeneye’s webbed feet splash loudly like a kid with a flutter board. Shadows growing long, I decide Lake McArthur will wait until tomorrow and instead follow a rising trail into forested rockfall. Massive formations echo the mossy hulls of abandoned ships which evokes in me the unimaginable past of this terrain as a shallow sea floor. Upon my return to the hut, hungry people fill the kitchen so I collect kin‑ dling and start an evening fire in the sleeping cabin. Later I prepare beef stro‑ ganoff but find cleaning up a challenge amidst a group of eight. Leaning back against the counter to wait, I hear a faint sound from outside. Hesitating, I slowly open the door to find a tiny brown-haired girl carrying a large load of wood. This is Anna. “Well hello!” I say, opening the door wide. The dishwashers step aside to form a corridor of applause. Anna, pleased, makes her way to the common room to deposit the firewood. After dinner I notice Anna in polk‑ adot tights bounce over to fill water buck‑ ets for kitchen use while her companion Francis squeals, “Can I chop wood?” The children are with their dads, one of whom is the hut custodian. It’s clear the children are learning through example and instruction that the mountain wilder‑ ness is precious and must be tended with respect and care. In the bunk above me the kids giggle before sleep. When they descend the wooden ladder in the morning I whisper to Anna, “You guys are angels!” She smiles quietly.

With the ascent to Wiwaxy Gap behind them, Anna Erickson and Francis Benoit share lunch high above Lake O’Hara.  photo by Scott Benoit.

Next day I stay a long time alone at Lake McArthur as the emergent sun changes the lake’s surface from grey to jewelled turquoise. I’m in a sacred place where one feels wholly present and part of nature. Guests at Elizabeth Parker Hut that September weekend had an opportun‑ ity to take away the example set by two youngsters already familiar with the mantra, “do more than your share and leave only handprints”. Foreshadowing a hopeful future, Anna Erickson and Francis Benoit demon‑ strated more awareness of appropriate backcountry safety and behaviour than many adults I’ve encountered, contribut‑ ing both delight and promise to our experience at Yoho National Park.

Open air by Lawrence White


listen to a lot of CBC Radio. My less liberal friends make fun of me for this, but like the Alpine Club of Canada, CBC is a Canadian institution. Granted, the ACC doesn’t receive any funding from the federal government, but both organizations do share a fun‑ damental belief in promoting Canadian culture, and, in the ACC’s case, Canadian mountain culture. I particularly enjoy the morning Daybreak program on CBC Calgary that reaches the Club’s National Office in Canmore, which is located in the Bow Valley, about an hour’s drive west of the city. The program is hosted by Jim Brown

CLASSIFIEDS AFFORDABLE HIMALAYA and ACONCAGUA 5% discount for acc members Climbing and walking trips for men and women, with Dan Mazur. All ages and abilities, expert to novice. Everest climbs and treks, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Baruntse, North Col, Lhotse, Everest Glacier School, Island Peak, Muztagh Ata, Mera Peak. 360-570-0715

NOTICES Upcoming Meetings Executive Committee meeting: ●● Sept. 10 - 11, 2011 in Lake Louise Board of Directors meeting: ●● October 29 - 30, 2011 in Canmore Mountain Guides Ball: ●● October 29, 2011 in Banff

Classified Ad Rates: $25 plus $1 per word + GST E-mail your ad to: or mail to the address on page 3.

ACC staff gather outside the Canmore Clubhouse. From left to right: Jeff Lockyer, Chris FenlonMacDonald, Rick Gardiner, Earl Takahashi, Emma Varga, Kevin Lohka, Mary Lovell, Toby Harper, Nancy Hansen, Sylvain Vanier, Lawrence White, Darren Enderwick, Micheline Charette, Crystal Como; front: Sheila Churchill. Missing: Suzan Chamney, Venessa Langhorn, Riley McGurk and Chelsea Selinger.

who used to be heard on CBC Radio St. John’s Newfoundland and, I have come to learn, is the former host of the popular CBC show, The Current. With the exception of the sometimes funny, more often not, “Voice” who opens The Current, I also enjoy this program which is hosted by none other than Anna Maria Tremonti, who, it could be said, borders on Canadian institutional glory à la Don Cherry, but for the more refined. By now you’re probably asking yourself where this is going. Besides

drawing the parallels in our mutually iconic status in Canada, it occurred to me that, like radio hosts, ACC mem‑ bers, the “listeners”, almost certainly have preconceived images of what their humble staff members look like as they toil away in the Canadian Rockies wil‑ derness. I for one was surprised to see what Jim Brown looked like. Of course, now that I know, he looks exactly like he sounds. Lawrence White is Executive Director of the Alpine Club of Canada.

À ciel ouvert par Lawrence White


’écoute souvent Radio Canada. Mes amis un peu mois libéraux se moquent de moi à cause de ça, mais comme le CAC, Radio Canada est une institution canadienne. C’est vrai que le CAC ne reçoit pas de subvention du gouverne‑ ment fédéral, par contre les deux organi‑ sations promeuvent la culture canadienne - dans le cas du CAC, la culture cana‑ dienne des montagnes. J’apprécie particulièrement le pro‑ gramme matinal Daybreak aux ondes de CBC Calgary, que j’écoute au bureau national du Club à Canmore. Canmore est situé dans la Vallée de la Bow à environ une heure de conduite à l’ouest de la ville. Le programmeme est animé par Jim Brown, celui qu’on entendait à CBC St. John’s Terre-Neuve et comme anima‑ teur pour The Current un programme populaire du CBC national. Avec l’exception d’une « Voix » parfois (mais pas souvent) drôle qui débute The Current, j’aime aussi ce programme qui est animé

par nul autre que Anna Maria Tremonti, qui, ont pourrait dire s’approche de la même gloire institutionnelle canadienne que Don Cherry, mais un peu plus raffinée. Vous vous demandez probablement où cet article vous mène. Appart l’élaboration des parallèles dans notre status commun emblématique au Canada, j’ai réalisé que les membres du CAC («les écouteurs») ont certainement des images préconçues de ce que leurs membres du person‑ nels, comme les animateurs à la radio, ont l’aire lorsqu’ils se promènent dans les Rocheuses canadiennes. Moi, j’étais surpris après avoir rencontré Jim Brown en personne. Comme de raison, là que je le sais, il ressemble exactement à ce que j’entends quand il parle. Lawrence White est le Directeur Executif du Club Alpin du Canda. Translated by ACC Member Nathalie Delbecq. Club alpin du Canada



2011  31

The Gazette Summer 2011  

The Alpine Club of Canada's newsletter, the Gazette. Summer 2011 issue.

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