Page 1

Vol. 27, No. 3 | Winter / hiver 2012

Ice Climbing World Cup  page 6 La Coupe mondiale d’escalade de glace  page 8


# 40009034

Canadian skimo duo clocks fastest-known Wapta time  page 24


MEC is a proud partner of The Alpine Club of Canada.

The Alpine Club of Canada

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 vacant 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 Marie-Andrée LeBlanc 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:

What’s Inside... Mountaineering / Climbing

6 Ice Climbing World Cup—from impossible to inevitable 8 La Coupe mondiale d’escalade de glace 10 Ottawa and Toronto climbers join Calvin’s Calabogie Caper 12 Cochamó is how we spell paradise 14 Challenges, personal bests met in Peruvian Andes 18 MEC U25 Camp about climbing— and more! 22 TNF Winter Course serves up lessons, camaraderie and powder 24 Canadian skimo duo clocks fastestknown Wapta time


5 Major upgrades benefit Club’s huts

Mountain Culture / Science

19 Book ends 29 Geoff Powter receives 2012 Summit of Excellence


26 Mon bénévole préféré : Rick Checkland 26 ACC Funds and Grants Program 27 My favourite volunteer: Rick Checkland 27 Nominate a volunteer 28 Adieu Rick Collier 28 Phyllis Hart 28 Victor Henry Heller 29 Richard Guy, 95 summits Ha Ling Peak

Editorial / National News / Awards 4 13 20 21 21 26 29 30

Short rope Quick draws Recherche d’itinéraire Route finding Executive Committee slate ACC Funds and Grants Program Nominate a volunteer À ciel ouvert

What’s Outside... Cover photo: ACC member Kendra Stritch cleaves flesh and stone with steel and bone in the Hall of Justice area at Ouray Colorado. Photo by Carter Stritch. Inset photo: Canadian Ski Mountaineering Team member Melanie Bernier sets the stiff track up the Balfour Glacier. Photo by Ian Gale. Story on page 24

Corporate Partners 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 Devonian Properties Forty Below Jardine Lloyd Thompson Ortovox Canada Osprey Packs

Outdoor Research Patagonia Petzl Rocky Mountain Books Scarpa Yamnuska Zaui Software

Club alpin du Canada


h  iver

2012  3

Christmas Ski Week Anyone? The lotteries for ski weeks at the Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut and the Kokanee Glacier Cabin for winter 2013 are complete, but some space remains including the Christmas week (December 22-28) at both huts. In the winter months both huts are accessed by helicopter and the flights are included in the hut fee. If you are making plans for a backcountry skiing Christmas, you’re in luck.

Spring Ski Week Anyone?

Lynn cooks up the next issue of the Gazette on a spectacular eight-day backpacking trip in B.C.’s Mount Robson/Moose Pass area. p hoto by May Guan.

Short rope by Lynn



ne theme that plays out again and again on the pages of this Alpine Club of Canada Gazette is that of the differences between indi‑ viduals’ perceptions, interpretations and enjoyment of their chosen mountain experiences. That, I find, is one of the most engaging things about the pursuit of mountain recreation, whether it’s trad climbing or backpacking, bouldering or ice climbing, ski touring, hiking, mixed climbing, scrambling, cutting-edge alp‑ inism, sport climbing, mountaineering, busting new moves on plastic gym holds or on wacky ice climbing World Cup structures—there’s a mountain pursuit to attract and satisfy just about every desire and personality type. With that, one of the coolest and most enjoyable things about being Gazette editor is the incredible variety of stories submitted to me by Club mem‑ bers. Opening e-mails and the attached

4  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

The lottery for ski weeks covers Christmas to the end of April, but fantastic skiing often runs into mid June at both huts. The weeks after the lottery dates (May 4 onward) are now open to be booked by ACC members.

Additionally, some space remains for ski weeks in January at Fairy Meadow Hut.

Kokanee Glacier Cabin holds 12 in the winter, must be booked as a full hut, and costs $875 per person for the week. Fairy Meadow Hut sleeps 20, can be booked in twos, and costs $925 per person for the week. For all ski week bookings and inquiries, contact Rob Shears at 403-678-3200, ext. 104 or stories is definitely a lot like digging into a big box of chocolates—I never know what I’m going to get. Good thing I love chocolate! But whether those articles grew from suggestions I presented to members will‑ ing and keen enough to volunteer their time to write a story with a defined word count and strict deadline, or they arrived in my Inbox completely unsolicited—which I do NOT encourage because of space limitations—I never cease to be amazed and delighted by the range of mountain experiences ACC members from coast to coast to coast are so happy to share. Reading these stories reminds me regularly of how our country is truly a mosaic of people and cultures—including those of us gathered under the wide-reaching tarp of mountain enthusiasts. That’s another cool thing about being ACC members—as participants of General

Mountaineering Camps, day-trips to local sport crags or long-weekend skills courses, we often share our mountain expeditions, adventures and even dreams with fellow members we don’t know very well, or often just met that morning in the parking lot. That is at once a rewarding, sometimes challenging but always fundamental ele‑ ment of the ACC experience, as we learn not only from those whose experience and skill set is better developed than our own, but also from those who are not as fast, as strong or as capable. Hopefully, that’s when we learn the most about ourselves. So, with stories in this issue being shared by World Cup athletes, weekend warriors, novice rock climbers, tireless volunteers and the ACC’s seasoned hut renovating team, I’m hoping all readers will be entertained, inspired and, once in a while, as gobsmacked and thoroughly delighted as I am.

Major upgrades benefit Club’s huts by

Keith Haberl


Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut

Abbot Pass Hut

Sydney Vallance (Fyratt) Hut

Above: Kokanee Glacier Cabin | Below: Conrad Kain Hut

perating and maintaining the largest network of backcountry huts in North America is a large undertaking. The Alpine Club of Canada’s huts are mostly remote alpine shelters which are spread across multiple mountain ranges in two provinces. Summer is our chance to service the huts—that means replacing outhouse barrels, refilling the firewood supply and generally making sure they are all in proper condition. We also use the summer season to make upgrades or otherwise improve the huts. These larger, capital projects are planned through the winter and then executed between June and September. In the summer of 2012, the ACC maintenance team completed one of the most significant summers of capital projects in the Club’s history carrying out five major hut upgrades. In June the big projects began with a major face lift to the Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos. All of the windows and doors were replaced and new siding was installed. The weather largely cooperated and the team finished the project in time to open the hut for the Bugaboo climbing season. This project was made possible by a very generous donation from All Weather Windows of Canada. July was a productive month with two capital projects mixed in with routine ser‑ vice work in the Kootenays and Rockies. The Kokanee Glacier Cabin (all three stories) received two coats of exterior staining all around. Also in July, the Sydney Vallance (Fryatt) Hut in Jasper National Park underwent a large interior renovation, including a new rubber floor, new kitchen and furniture as well as a modern outhouse. By the middle of the summer the ticklist was growing smaller and the upgrades were being completed on schedule.

August saw continued good weather for two projects in the Selkirks. Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut was up first and received new interior furniture, which had been built in our shop in Canmore through the winter, plus a new sauna, which was constructed on site. A new oven in the kitchen completed the upgrade. Also in August, a completely new woodshed was built at the A.O. Wheeler Hut at Rogers Pass in B.C.’s Glacier National Park. As September arrived, the tight schedule was progressing as planned with one major project remaining. Abbot Pass Hut, built in 1922 on the Alberta/B.C. border between Lake Louise and Lake O’Hara at 2,926 metres, the Club’s oldest hut and a National Historic Site of Canada, had a leaky roof. The requirements in renovating a Class One National Historic Building are significant, as are the logistics of roof‑ ing at 9,600 feet in the Rockies. From September 12 to 16 the ACC maintenance team and professional roofers from Canmore battled high winds and moun‑ tain weather to return the Abbot Pass roof to form. The ACC’s hut system, with 26 huts servicing more than 40,000 users every year, is North America’s largest. The huts are used as bases for some of the greatest mountain recreation in Canada and as emergency refuges for all mountain travellers. They are a proud symbol of the ACC and an enormous part of our Club’s past, present and future. The capital projects completed in the summer of 2012 made our hut system, and our Club, stronger. The ACC extends its sincere thanks to the maintenance team, the contractors, cooks and more than 50 volunteers who made this summer’s projects successful. In addition to being the author of Alpine Huts: A guide to the facilities of the Alpine Club of Canada, Keith Haberl is ACC Marketing and Communications Manager. Our sincere thanks to All Weather Windows of Canada for generously supplying the new windows installed in the Conrad Kain Hut (left). Club alpin du Canada


h  iver

2012  5

Ice Climbing World Cup—from impossible to inevitable by

Gord McArthur


he practice of climbing with metal objects as sharp as knives, swinging them around like luna‑ tics, doesn’t seem like a smart idea. It’s like watching a juggling act at the circus, where the juggler tosses a set of knives into the air catching every one of them oh so perfectly in hopes of not slipping or screwing up. It doesn’t make logical sense. Ice and mixed climbing is sort of the same idea; every swing counts, with an axe or the front point of a crampon. There’s little room for error. But there’s just something about it that creates a certain energy inside that leads you to want more. Technical ice climbing has been around for decades, mixed climbing not as long, but both continue to grow steadily. Whether weekend warriors or enthusiasts who manage to get out almost every day, there’s a shared level of psych every fall when you smell winter in the air. For me, mixed climbing is where my dedication lies. I do like ice climbing, but there’s just something about “monkeying about” on steep terrain, leaping from hold Russian competitor Alexi Dengin makes his move on one of the wacky man-made obstacles that comprise the Ice Climbing World Cup route at Saas Fe, Switzerland.  photo courtesy of Gord McArthur.

6  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

Gord McArthur concentrates on his next move while competing at the Ice Climbing World Cup event at Saas Fe, Switzerland. p hoto courtesy of the UIAA.

to hold with a set of tools in my hands that gets me so psyched. Taking it one step in a different direction, I love the art of mixed competition, climbing on futur‑ istic, spaceship-like structures all over the world. Competing at Ice Climbing World Cup events is like nothing I’ve experi‑ enced anywhere else. The style of climbing movement required is essen‑ tially non-existent in North America, and the terrain on which such movement is performed is as foreign as one can com‑ prehend. Imagine being blindfolded then removing the blindfold and suddenly there’s a spaceship in front of you and you’re told to climb the spaceship. Crazy in all its forms! For years the ice climbing competi‑ tion scene has been dominated by the Euros, Russians and a few noteworthy South Koreans. Their level of athleticism has been unprecedented and hardly matched—as expected. Their level of training (sport-specific) is at a height that’s unheard of in North America. Their dedication and determination is of such commitment it’s no wonder they continue to dominate the podium. They have access to more funding, sportspecific terrain (i.e. World Cup-like structures), coaching staff, support staff and travel isn’t far. Unfortunately, if you’re from North America you begin with a higher handicap. Most North Americans

have wondered, what’s the point? That was until Will Gadd and his wife, Kim Czismazia, showed up in 2000—and won. That changed everything. No longer did such a level of competition belong to those across the pond. A barrier was broken and soon other fellow North Americans followed. Several years ago I was asked if I had any interest in going overseas and com‑ peting on the Ice Climbing World Cup circuit. At first the idea of performing on such a stage made me cringe, but the thought of experiencing such an oppor‑ tunity—heck, why not? And what an exhilarating and humbling experience I’ve endured. Travelling around the world is no easy task. Packing a couple of suitcases that you’re forced to live out of for weeks upon weeks is not for the faint of heart. But climbing and competing for Canada on World Cup structures—that experience is worth every minute! It’s not, however, all fame and glory. Always on planes, busses, travelling in cars for hours, hotels and beds that aren’t ideal, food that’s out of your comfort zone, different lan‑ guages—and then, of course, the actual competitions. World Cup competitions require such a level of focus that without it, your competitive chance is over in seconds. The mental and physical capacity required is at a level that can only be acquired

HALF DOME • Lightweight durability • One-handed customizable fit • Secure headlamp clips • Optimized ventilation

by further commitment of that specific nature. After my second full season com‑ peting at the World Cups, paying close attention to how my fellow competitors move, their technique and strategies, things are starting to come together. Committing my climbing to the competitive side is something I’m fully excited about. Learning the mental state that’s needed to compete has been a long, but great journey that’s heightened my passion for climbing to a level I didn’t know existed. It’s been a tough journey too. Just when you think you’re strong enough, you’re not. When you think you’re on your way to the chains, you fall. Sometimes trials and tribulations trump reason. Often you question yourself; what’s the point? And that’s when you dig deeper, try harder, train longer, build more circus-like structures in your back‑ yard to learn more, to perform better. You need to want it—I mean truly want it— to go forward, to go higher, to clip the chains. I believe, for me; and it’s certainly not over. It’s been proven before that anyone is beatable, anything can happen. Some of the top competitors are strong. They are very experienced and

they may have an advantage with how they train, the facilities they have access to, and more money. But we have the advantage of being Canadian, and Canadians are known for taking the impossible and making it the inevitable. Canadians have desire. It is the essence of our soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Desire fuels our ability to turn dreams into reality. Canadians stick together and passion often trumps logic. With a goal such as the Ice Climbing World Cup, to be great you need support. Team Canada needs support. We can’t do it on our own. Whether through funding, training, support staff (ie. coaching), we need your help. We need to grow this force to become a force to be reckoned with. The Euros and Ruskies (the Russians), along with a couple of sturdy South Koreans, have proven worthy of an elite strength, performing at a level once seemed unthinkable. Their training is clearly on the right track, and their results on last year’s entire tour reflected that. Although disheartening at first, as we all

paid close attention we soon understood how and what it would take to rise to the occasion—move faster, pull harder, kick higher. Train more efficiently to the style that is required. Focus on speed with big‑ ger movement. Check, check, and check. “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” —Christopher Reeve Alpine Club of Canada member Gord McArthur, 32, lives in Cranbrook, B.C. A psyched ice and mixed climber for the past seven years, he’s been competing for four years; internationally for three. He can smell winter coming.


ancouver Island member Lindsay Elms send his regrets for not submitting another excellent profile of an ACC member who has made a historically significant contribution to the Club because he was too busy climbing this past sum‑ mer! Look for Lindsay’s next piece in the Spring 2013 Gazette. Club alpin du Canada


h  iver

2012  7

La Coupe mondiale d’escalade de glace —De l’impossible à l’inévitable par

Gord McArthur


première vue, l’idée de grimper tout en faisant voler autour de soi des tas d’objets aiguisés comme des couteaux, ne semble pas une très bonne idée ! C’est un peu comme au cirque, lorsqu’on regarde un jongleur lancer des couteaux en l’air et les rat‑ traper sans faille les uns après les autres, en espérant qu’il ne se trompera pas. Logiquement, ça n’a aucun sens. Pourtant, c’est à peu près ce que l’on fait en escalade de glace et en escalade mixte; car que ce soit avec un piolet ou la pointe d’un crampon, chaque mouvement compte, et il y a peu de place à l’erreur. Mais tout cela est si énergisant qu’on ne veut plus s’arrêter. L’escalade de glace technique existe depuis des décennies, l’escalade mixte depuis un peu moins longtemps, mais la popularité de ces deux sports ne cesse de croître. Que l’on soit un grimpeur du dimanche ou un passionné qui réussit à grimper presque tous les jours, nous partageons tous la même excitation quand nous sentons qu’il y a de l’hiver dans l’air. Pour ma part, j’ai choisi de consacrer mes efforts à l’escalade mixte. L’escalade de glace me plaît bien, mais pour moi il y a quelque chose d’unique à aller « jouer » sur une pente raide et sauter d’un appui à l’autre, outils en mains. Et pour pousser plus loin, j’aime pratiquer l’art de la compétition mixte, où l’on grimpe sur des structures futuristes qui ressemblent à des vaisseaux spatiaux. Participer aux compétitions de la Coupe du monde d’escalade de glace est une expérience qui ne ressemble à rien à de ce que j’ai vécu auparavant. Cette technique d’escalade n’est, pour ainsi dire, jamais utilisée en Amérique du Nord, et le type de terrain où elle se pratique est complètement différent de ce que nous connaissons. C’est un peu comme si on vous retirait un bandeau que vous aviez sur les yeux, et que vous vous retrouviez soudain devant un vaisseau spatial à escalader. C’est complètement fou! Pendant des années les Européens, les Russes, et quelques Sud-Coréens exceptionnels ont dominé le milieu de la compétition d’escalade de glace. Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, leur degré

8  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

d’agilité dépassait tout ce que l’on avait vu auparavant, et était rarement égalé. Ces grimpeurs s’entraînent à des niveaux inimaginables en Amérique du Nord et font montre d’une détermination et d’un engagement exceptionnels. Il n’est donc pas surprenant qu’ils continuent à dominer le podium. En plus de recevoir du financement, ils ont à leur disposition des terrains consacrés à l’escalade mixte (ex. : de structures comme celles de la Coupe du monde), des entraîneurs, et du personnel de soutien. Et ils habitent près des lieux de compétition, ce qui élimine les longs voyages.

Gord McArthur donne son meilleur coup à la Coupe du Monde d'escalade de glace à Saas Fe, Suisse. p hoto gracieuseté de Gord McArthur.

Malheureusement, pour les NordAméricains, le handicap de départ est plus élevé. La plupart d’entre eux se disent donc : à quoi bon essayer ? Enfin, telle était la situation jusqu’à ce que Will Gadd et son épouse, Kim Czismazia, se présentent à la Coupe du monde d’es‑ calade de glace en 2000 et remportent la compétition. Cela a changé la donne. Dès lors, la victoire aux compétitions de haut niveau n’était plus réservée aux résidants d’outre-mer. Une barrière avait sauté et, rapidement, d’autres alpinistes nord-américains ont suivi.

Il y a quelques années on m’a demandé si j’étais intéressé à me rendre outre-mer pour participer aux compéti‑ tions de la Coupe du monde d’escalade de glace. J’ai d’abord hésité, mais j’ai ensuite réalisé qu’il s’agissait d’une occasion unique et je me suis dit : « Ma foi, pour‑ quoi pas ? ». Ce fut non seulement une expérience exaltante, mais aussi une leçon d’humilité. Voyager à travers le monde n’est pas chose facile. Vivre pendant plusieurs semaines à partir du contenu de quelques valises est une véritable épreuve, mais grimper sur les structures de la Coupe du monde et représenter le Canada est une expérience fantastique dont chaque instant vaut la peine d’être vécu ! Toutefois, il n’y a pas que la gloire et les honneurs, mais aussi les avions, les bus, les longs voyages en auto, les lits et les hôtels qui laissent parfois à désirer, une nourrit‑ ure souvent bien éloignée de notre zone de confort, les diverses langues et puis, bien sûr, par-dessus tout, les compétitions elles-mêmes. Celles de la Coupe du monde exigent un niveau de concentration extrêmement élevé sans lequel les chances de victoire s’évaporent en quelques secondes. Les exigences physiques et psychologiques de cette compétition ne peuvent être atteintes que par un engagement excep‑ tionnel. Après avoir terminé ma deuxième saison complète sur le circuit de la Coupe du monde et observé attentivement les techniques, les stratégies et la façon de bouger des autres grimpeurs, tout com‑ mence à se placer. Je suis enthousiaste à l’idée d’intégrer la compétition à ma pratique de l’escalade. Le chemin par‑ couru pour atteindre l’état psychologique qu’exige la compétition fut long, mais extraordinaire. Il a porté ma passion pour l’escalade à un niveau que je n’avais jamais cru possible. C’est un cheminement exigeant. Juste au moment où l’on se croit assez fort, on manque de force. Juste comme on se croit sur la bonne voie, on tombe. Il est parfois difficile de donner un sens à toutes ces difficultés. On se demande souvent : à quoi bon continuer ? Mais lorsque cela se produit, on réfléchit encore plus, on redouble d’efforts, on

ng festiv al a nd c o m pe

ti ti o


de Saint-Boniface

l a c e | I c e c li m b i

La structure d'escalade Coupe du Monde promet des défis formidables pour les concurrents à Cheongsong, Corée du Sud. p hoto gracieuseté de Gord McArthur.

Festival et c


ti ti o

n d’escalade su rg

s’entraîne plus longtemps, et l’on construit dans la cour arrière de sa maison d’autres structures bizarres comme au cirque, pour apprendre plus de choses et améliorer ses performances. Il faut vouloir, vouloir vraiment, pour pouvoir aller plus loin, grimper plus haut, et se clipper aux chaînes. Moi, j’y crois, et ça n’est pas fini. On a déjà eu la preuve que personne n’est invincible et que tout peut arriver. Parmi les meilleurs participants à cette compétition, on retrouve des athlètes exceptionnels. Ils possèdent une longue expérience. Leurs méthodes d’entraîne‑ ment, leur équipement, et leurs moyens financiers constituent un avantage certain. Mais notre avantage à nous est celui d’être canadien, et les Canadiens sont reconnus pour leur capacité de trans‑ former l’impossible en inévitable. En tant que Canadiens, nous avons le désir de réussir. C’est notre âme, le secret de notre existence. Rien de ce qui fait la grandeur de l’être humain n’a jamais été accompli sans désir. C’est le moteur qui permet de transformer les rêves en réalités. Les Canadiens savent se tenir les coudes et, pour nous, la passion l’emporte souvent sur la raison. Mais si nous visons la Coupe du monde d’escalade de glace nous aurons besoin de soutien. Nous ne pourrons réussir seuls. L’équipe Canada a donc besoin de votre aide. Alors, que ce soit sous forme de financement, d’en‑ traînement, d’équipes de soutien (ex. :

entraîneurs), accordez-nous votre aide. Nous devons améliorer la force que nous possédons pour qu’elle devienne une force avec laquelle il faut compter. Les Européens, les Russes, et quelques Sud-Coréens particulièrement forts ont montré qu’ils faisaient partie de l’élite. Leurs performances atteignent des sommets autrefois inimaginables. Les résultats qu’ils ont obtenus tout au long de l’année dernière prouvent que leur entraînement va dans la bonne direction. Au début, leurs performances nous ont découragés, mais en les observant atten‑ tivement nous avons vite compris ce qu’il fallait faire pour atteindre ce niveau : bouger plus vite, tirer plus fort, lancer la jambe plus haut, s’entraîner plus efficace‑ ment dans le style requis, et se concentrer sur la vitesse en augmentant l’amplitude de nos mouvements. Pour chacun de ces points, nous disons : compris ! « Au départ, nos rêves semblent impossibles, puis improbables, et en invoquant notre volonté, ils deviennent vite inévitables. » —Christopher Reeve Gord McArthur a 32 ans et vit à Cranbrook, en Colombie-Britannique. Membre du Club alpin du Canada, il pratique avec enthousiasme l’escalade de glace et l’escalade mixte depuis environ sept ans. Il fait de la compétition depuis quatre ans, dont trois au niveau inter‑ national. Il sent qu’il y a de l’hiver dans l’air…

February 15, 16 & 17 février Festival et compétition d’escalade sur glace Ice climbing festival and competition Partenaires / Partners

Section Saint-Boniface du Club Alpin du Canada Club alpin du Canada


h  iver

2012  9

Ottawa and Toronto climbers join Calvin’s Calabogie Caper Story and photos by Calvin Klatt


aving lived in Toronto for many years, I recall the difficulty of finding climbable ice every winter. I remember bumming a ride off other Alpine Club of Canada members, climbing in the back seat in the mid‑ dle of the night, then waking up two hours later—at sunrise—for a hurried breakfast. From there we’d continue for another hour or two in search of ice. The return drive—at night, in winter, while exhausted—was terrifying. Don Collier (Toronto Section) once calculated the number of winter kilometres driven per metre of ice climbed—a shocking num‑ ber! The ability to drive long distances in dark wintry conditions remains an essen‑ tial skill for Toronto area ice climbers. Fast-forward 15 years; I’m comfortably residing in Ottawa, with good ice climb‑ ing at several places within about an hour from my door. Not only that, I have a car with heat! At the 2011 Toronto Section AGM, I proposed a trip that would help Section ice climbers do their thing while hopefully not dying in automobile acci‑ dents. The idea was that they would come to Ottawa on a Friday night (four and a half hour’s drive) and stay at my home over the weekend. They could climb on both Saturday and Sunday before the long drive back to Toronto. Kitty Thompson belays her fellow Toronto Section member Rob Ramirez on an ice curtain at Calabogie, near Ottawa.

This doesn’t seem like it would be difficult to arrange, but it was. I wanted a co-leader from Toronto, mainly to organ‑ ize car pooling, but the willing helpers were all booked. Eventually I just picked the best weekend I could and the Ottawa climbing coordinator entered it in the surprisingly full calendar as “Calvin’s Calabogie Caper”. At this point things grew ugly. I had scheduled the trip on top of a “women’s only” event and was immediately informed of my incompetence. In an ugly e-mail battle I refused to move the event or change the dates, but I gave up all hope of using the ACC equipment cache. I told everyone to rent crampons and ice axes and to bring equipment to set up top ropes. By way of contrast, as word spread, several people stepped up with offers to help, including a number of experienced Ottawa Section climbers who proved to be a huge help. Many people offered to host visitors if my house became too full. Other offers poured in. On the Friday of the event a snow‑ storm hit Ottawa, leading me to think that our visitors would cancel. Instead they were blissfully unaware, departing Toronto in the rain. In the end I hosted six overnight visitors, while a few others stayed with family in the area. Some of them had never climbed ice, and the rest had not done so recently. At the last minute I was offered half the ACC gear cache, which was a godsend as renting didn’t always work out. We’d planned to climb in a couple of different local areas, but warm weather and the group

size dictated otherwise. This became a Calabogie-only caper, since Calabogie has the most reliable ice and can handle the biggest groups. On Saturday, we had about a dozen climbers; half from Ottawa, half from Toronto. The fresh snow made Calabogie look like a winter wonderland. The ice was only in fair condition due to the warm weather, but everyone had lots of fun. They had such a good time that a few people insisted on climbing right to sunset. Saturday night was party time with everyone invited to join us for beer and pizza. At 10 p.m. I started worrying; we had a good party going but the house full of people also had to get up for an 8 a.m. departure! The party died down by 10:30 and soon we were back at Calabogie climbing. On Sunday we had colder weather, but an even bigger group of 19. After the sun climbed high enough to warm us up the day was perfect. At the end of the event the Ottawa folks were saying the Toronto Section is much more fun, while Toronto folks were telling me how much friendlier the Ottawa Section is. A rock-climbing trip was being planned for Toronto climbers to visit Ottawa in the summer (for which I was told my house would be “perfect”). In turn I expect to get local help with a future Ottawa Section trip to the crags of the Northern Niagara Escarpment. For Calabogie Caper footage, visit Host extraordinaire Calvin Klatt belongs to the ACC’s Toronto and Ottawa sections.

At its height, the Ottawa Section’s Calabogie Caper boasted 19 climbers from the Ottawa and Toronto sections.


Whether you think about it, read about it or live it, the new explore is Canadian adventure at its very best.

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Cochamó is how we spell paradise by Inga



remember in my bones what it felt like to hike to, be in and leave Cochamó Valley, a northern Patagonian gem that my partner, Jan Riopelle and I discovered during semana santa, the holy week between Christmas and New Year’s.  We learned about Cochamó from a guide we met while trekking in Torres del Paine National Park. He said, “If you want something different, go to Cochamó. The trekking there is an experience unlike any other.” The only way in was a five-hour hike. We had been trekking in Peru and Bolivia during October and November and were spending December in Chilean Patagonia to enjoy the southern hemi‑ sphere’s endless days of summer. To reach Cochamó we could have flown from Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt, but instead opted for the slow way—embarking on the Navimag ferry in Puerto Natales. This four-day excursion through Patagonian fjords and open Pacific Ocean is used by two kinds of people—backpackers and truckers ferry‑ ing livestock and other goods. We rested, admired glaciers, dolphins and shipwrecks and met backpackers undertaking all manner of journeys. It was worth the time.

Inga Petri makes use of a fixed rope as she climbs beneath huge alerce roots on a steep granite slope. p hoto by Jan Riopelle.

Steep granite walls rise high from the floor of Cochamó Valley as photographed from Arco Iris.  photo by Jan Riopelle.

We arrived in Puerto Montt on Christmas Eve just in time to stock up on food and wine before stores closed for the holiday. We purchased tickets for the local bus ($4 each) for the two-hour ride to Cochamó. Our bus driver and his assistant’s unbridled enthusiasm for our destination startled us. We had intended to find a local ride from the village of Cochamó to the trailhead, but instead our excited driver let us off several kilometres past the village at the beginning of the six-kilometre gravel road leading to the trailhead. After we disembarked, the bus disappeared in a plume of dust down the dirt road leaving us at an unremark‑ able, empty intersection in Northern Patagonia’s Lake District. We had a snack and water and shouldered our 45-pound backpacks. There was no traffic. We passed a few farm houses and beekeepers. The last house on the road was said to serve drink, food and have space for camping. We said hola to the owner. Due to the holiday he was out of supplies but invited us to stay on our return. Soon we were hiking on part of the storied Gaucho Trail connecting Argentina’s Lake District across the Andes with the Pacific. It had been raining hard, so we encountered copious amounts of mud as we hiked deeper into the valley. The trenches, forged through cattle drives and some as deep as two

metres, were filled with puddles of uncer‑ tain depth. River crossings featured logs with few man-made supports, if any. We were glad to wear gaiters and waterproof boots despite the summer’s heat. Progressing from sea level near the Reloncaví estuary, we hiked through dense native forests with glimpses of the crystal Cochamó River. Huge bamboo shoots appeared as we proceeded through Patagonian rainforest. Suddenly, the vista opened toward La Junta, our destination, with its pampas grassland surrounded by sharply rising 1,000-metre granite domes. We settled into camp ($4 each per day) with its central cook house, outhouses, information board and a handful of tents and roaming horses. Following the path to the rustic cable car crossing—powered by human effort alone, so it’s best to have a friend along especially because the return is slightly uphill—we introduced ourselves at Refugio Cochamó. All were here to climb, hike or toboggan the waterfall slides. Without exception, they referred to Cochamó as paradise. The next day we hiked to the base of Trinidad Mountain through thick, steep rainforest. The trails were obviously cut as approach trails to big wall climbs, demanding and at times spectacularly exposed. Fixed ropes are installed where necessary to ensure upward movement, not to provide comfort. The following day, Arco Iris (1,668

Continuing RMB’s long tradition of authoritative updates of our bestselling guidebooks, Summits & Icefields 2: Alpine Ski Tours in the Columbia Mountains is written by legendary alpinist Chic Scott, with certified mountain guide Mark Klassen. Together with Summits & Icefields 1: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies (RMB, 2011), these guides will continue to be the bibles for ski mountaineers looking to experience the grandeur of western Canada’s mountains.

metres) was our objective. This trail was cut by machete as Cochamó’s first val‑ ley-to-peak trail in 2007. Native forest gave way to massive 3,000-year-old alerce trees, rainforest and then the first magnificent views across the valley. The most unusual trail feature might well be the fixed rope leading steeply up a granite slab beneath massive tree roots. Or maybe it was the wild granite ridge above tree line. From the snow-capped summit hikers enjoy awesome views over the valley and surrounding mountains, the Reloncaví estuary and distant volcanoes. The next afternoon we hiked out in order to reach the famed coastal city of Valparaíso for New Year’s celebrations. We had planned to camp at the trailhead and catch the bus the next afternoon. When we arrived two locals told us the owner had been taken to hospital. Reluctantly, we hiked the additional six kilometres to the main dirt road, then started toward the village. A couple of kilometres in, a lovely woman in a pickup truck offered us a ride. We gladly jumped on the back in our seventh hour of hiking. She didn’t want payment and instead dropped us off at her brother Ruben’s private camp ($5 each). With gorgeous views of the glaciated Yate Volcano across the estuary, we had the meadow to ourselves and enjoyed a perfect camp stove dinner while the sun set across the Pacific and dabbed the clouds overhead in shades of red. Since this was the last camping meal of our three-month South American trek, we left our fuel with Ruben. For more information, visit Ottawa resident Inga Petri joined the ACC in 1998, and currently belongs to the Ottawa and Montreal sections. Read her blog at

Completely revised and updated, this new edition features both classic and new tours, plus a variety of information that has been greatly expanded or freshly redone, including the ever-popular sections on Rogers Pass and the Bugaboos / Rogers Pass Traverse. With stunning, full-colour photos throughout and digital maps prepared from satellite imagery, these new editions will set a unique standard for ski guidebooks in North America.

Think outside.

Quick draws Compiled by Lynn Martel

McColl takes top spot at World Championships With delegates from the International Olympic Committee looking on, Alpine Club of Canada member Sean McColl carried on his solid winning streak for 2012 by claiming top spot at the climbing World Championships which took place in Paris September 11 thru 16. Coming on the heels of two consecutive World Cup podiums— third place in Innsbruck in May, followed by second place at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado in June—McColl placed second in lead climbing, fourth in bouldering and set a new personal best in the speed event. This Canadian Bouldering champion is now World Champion too! Congratulations Sean! Read his blog at

UIAA backs Rio+20 resolution on sustainable development The UIAA Mountain Protection Commission declared its support of a United Nations resolution highlighting the urgent need to commit to sustainable development in order to protect a planet that is under attack on multiple fronts including climate change and out of control growth. The draft resolution recognizes the benefits derived from mountain regions as essential to sustainable development, including the crucial role mountain ecosystems play in providing water resources to much of the world’s population. It also notes that fragile mountain ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and deforestation, and that alpine glaciers around the world are retreating and thinning with increasing impacts on the environment and human well-being. As well, the resolution states that mountains are often home to communities, includ‑ ing indigenous peoples who have developed sustainable uses of mountain resources, but that these communities are often marginalized. The resolution calls for efforts to be made to address poverty, food security, social exclusion and environmental degradation in these areas. For more info visit

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics update UIAA Ice Climbing president Pavel Shabalin returned from a reconnaissance trip Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2011, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee and UIAA, along with the Russian Mountaineering Federation, initiated the inclusion of Ice Climbing in the games as a cultural event. Shabalin reports that he reviewed different sites with the help of the Sochi-2014 Organizing Committee and a venue for the ice climbing wall was chosen at the Gorky Gorod ski centre. The wall will be located between two lifts about 200 metres from central ski station. The resort will be home to the main Olympic Media Center and Olympic Media Village, which will host about 2,000 journalists. Club alpin du Canada


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2012  13

Challenges, personal bests met in Peruvian Andes by Leo



climbed my first 6,000-metre peak on an Alpine Club of Canada trip in 2010. That success opened new thoughts and plans in my never-ending passion for mountains. I returned home to Montreal with a desire to offer other climbers the same chance of discovering, and eventually enjoying, high altitude mountaineering. That’s how a long-time dream, Peru’s Cordillera Blanca came on stage. This compact range of mountains with 25 peaks above 6,000 metres is well suited to a wide spectrum of climbing skills and experience levels. It’s one of the best places for an introduction to high altitude mountaineer‑ ing or serious technical climbs. I began planning mostly alone, last October. I presented the trip to the ACC Montreal Section in December, then to other sections. Eventually nine ACCers joined from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Outaouais. As a fellow Club member once said to me, climbing with people we don’t know well or sometimes barely at all is a fundamental element of the ACC experience; from all nine, only two knew each other before and only one had ever climbed above 5,000 metres. The trip was conceived as an intro‑ duction to high altitude mountaineering for people with good climbing skills on ice and snow. The schedule included a generous acclimatization period, two 5,500-metre introductory summits and two technical summits above 6,000 metres. We all flew to Lima from where we

bused to the charming, colourful city of Huaraz. In Huaraz and around we spent three days acclimatizing before travelling to Ishnica Valley base camp. Easily reached from Huaraz and with a nearby alpine hut, the base camp is famous for being crowded, but was rather lonely during our nine-day stay. At 4,400 metres, the challenges of high altitude become very real, so we began negotiating our new reality. On day seven, the alarm rang at 2 a.m. All nine of us started up a steep and rocky ridge, each walking alone for a long while, fighting the night and the cold and wondering if we might reach the top. Regardless of experience, it’s probably the same for the first climb of every trip. Regrouping after two hours we counted the first bail-out. One hour later as we crested the glacier at 5,000 metres, the second bail-out ensued, so only seven roped up to continue. With just a few crevasses and moderate snow slopes to negotiate, at 8:30 a.m. we reached the 5,420-metre summit of Urus Este—a personal record for six ACCers. Overwhelmed by emotions, as always after a long time away from mountains, I sat a few minutes and enjoyed the beauty, the purity and the untouchable. Those indescribable minutes that make sense of all the efforts and the sacrifices; those minutes only very few can understand. Back in camp by early afternoon, we found one trip-mate in trouble with acute mountain sickness symptoms. As

The ACC Eastern sections team is all smiles on the 5,420-summit of Ishinca. From left, back row, Josiane Ruffa, Alain Turgeon, Geneviève Lefebvre and François De Léan. Front row, Benoit Mayer-Godin, Leo Bezman and Ryszard Tokarczyk. photo by Valentin Jaumouille.

the situation deteriorated, we arranged an emergency evacuation using burros and one arierro (burro driver) plus a taxi from the trailhead. He returned to safety in Huaraz, but it took him several weeks to fully recover and we learned once more that not everybody acclimatizes at altitude. Although I felt sorry for my distressed friend, I was happy to see the remaining group well acclimatized and in good spirits. Two days later at 2:30 a.m. under a bright full moon, we left camp for the summit of Ishinca. With a longer approach, more crevasses and steeper sec‑ tions, our entire team of eight made the 5,530-metre summit in wonderful sun‑ shine. Ishinca gave legacy to our trip and successfully concluded the introductory portion. Back in camp by mid-afternoon, another altitude record for seven ACCers was good reason to celebrate—albeit somewhat anxiously with our thoughts already to more serious climbs ahead. The next morning we moved to high camp at 5,000-metres to climb 6,032metre Tocllaraju, which impressively dominates the valley. In cold thin air, that evening we decided to seize the weather opportunity and climb the next morning, as I believe people well acclimatized at 4,500 metres should be able to climb at 6,000 metres after very little or no addi‑ tional time at 5,000 metres. Moreover, a good weather day should not be traded for unnecessary rest or acclimatization time. That decision, however, would come under fire the next day as at least one of us questioned whether more acclimatiza‑ tion time at the new altitude would have put us in a better position to summit. I don’t do a 6,000-metre mountain every year, so my night was full of emo‑ tions with very little sleep. We headed out at 2 a.m. with three and four climbers, respectively, on two 60-metre ropes. Saving weight, we carried no additional long ropes, thus making the teams dependable on each other for at least the descent rappels—a logistical oversight with serious implications. Seven hours into the climb, and finally into the sun, 400 metres below the summit, the unthinkable, and still so predictable, happened. One climber was exhausted and unable to continue. This

Following the huge success of his expert-level Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies (RMB, 2011), Andrew Nugara has now written the ultimate guide for those just getting into the sport.

descriptions are provided for each route, as well as level of difficulty, objective hazards, additional equipment requirements and handy listings of combined routes and family trips.

A Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies describes over 40 great routes for new snowshoers. The trips range from scenic Waterton in the far south to the breathtaking Columbia Icefield in the north section of Banff National Park. Stunning colour photos, maps and detailed route

Whether you are looking for an easy day on flat terrain amid beautiful surroundings or something slightly more challenging, you will find it in this new guidebook.

was quite dramatic since the rope short‑ age and missing bail-out strategy would force us all to withdraw. Furthermore, hesitation in communicating the crisis made the situation even tenser, and the decision to retreat more difficult to accept. We were six ambitious climbers with a strong desire to reach our first 6,000-metre summit in full view only a couple of hours away. The first goal of the trip, that everyone should return safely, was forgotten for a blip of a second, and the responsibility on my shoulders became unbearable for the first time. We retreated with broken hearts and broken team spirit, but found the energy to spend another night at our 5,000-metre camp to gain more acclima‑ tization for our remaining big mountain. I was heartbroken too. I bear the heavy responsibility of not trying to conciliate, regain confidence and the next day, make a second attempt that would have had a reasonable chance of success, I now think. We descended to base camp instead, returning to Huaraz the day after for a good rest, good food and team reconciliation. We spent two days in Huaraz prepar‑ ing for Chopicalqui, at 6,354 metres one of the highest, most beautiful peaks in the range—the final, most desired objective of our trip. We reviewed strategy and decided to proceed with faster teams of two climbers carrying two 60-metre ropes and enough pickets and screws to independ‑ ently descend from any point. To match everyone’s ability, fitness and dedication, we hired three professionals—one guide and two assistants, increasing the team to 10 climbers, four porters and a cook. With lots of gear and food, we crowded into a van and drove to trail‑ head in the Llanganuco Valley, then

Think outside.

hiked directly to Morena Camp at 4,900 metres. For the first time on the trip, bad weather grounded us there an additional day. With clear skies the next day, we eagerly climbed to high camp at 5,500-metres, navigating fields of crevasses with half-collapsed bridges and numerous hanging seracs. Although in a tense mood, everybody felt well and ready for the challenge. Fifteen lights lined up Chopicalqui’s first steep slope at 1 a.m. Three Peruvians and two Germans joined our group of seven ACCers and three local guides. Climbing with the lead guide in the first team, I quickly realized fresh snow from the previous day’s bad weather would make our climb more difficult. With that, climbing at night on an unfamiliar glacier was not an easy task. Focused on my own work, I didn’t notice as the Germans, then Peruvians and two Canadian teams turned around, leaving only four ACCers and two guides on the mountain after sunrise. Gaining altitude, we ran into more technical terrain but also reached the warmth of the sun and the splendour of the views; the Cordillera seen from the steep slopes of Chopicalqui was breathtaking. I was finally living the dream. Soon we reached the final ridge before the summit mushroom, subject of a famous Chopicalqui picture that obsessed me for Peruvian guide Felix Silva and Leo Bezman set the track as they approach the summit mushroom on 6,354-metre Chopicalqui.   hoto by Ryszard Tokarczyk. p

years. On a sunny and rare windless day and overwhelmed by emotion, I reached the 6,354-metre summit of Chopicalqui, 10 hours after leaving camp. The minutes on the summit were profoundly reward‑ ing; the views and feelings again beyond belief. In such moments, my thoughts flew to the ones far away I love the most, the ones who missed me so much this year and to whom I dedicated the climb. Another ACCer and guide reached the summit shortly after me; two other Canadians stopped at 6,200 metres, less than one hour from the top. We all had climbed higher than ever before and enjoyed the clear day and astonishing views from the heights of Chopicalqui. With many thanks to fellow climb‑ ers: Ryszard Tokarczyk (ACC Ottawa Section), Alain Turgeon (Outaouais), Geneviève Lefebvre (Montreal, Outaouais), François De Léan (Outaouais, Ottawa, Laurentian), Benoit Mayer-Godin (Montreal), Manel Nitu (Montreal), Josiane Ruffa (Toronto) and Valentin Jaumouille (Toronto). Leo Bezman belongs to the ACC’s Montreal Section.

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MEC U25 Camp about climbing—and more! story and photos submitted by


Andrew Abel

’ve always been into the outdoors— climbing, hiking, scrambling, backpacking, you name it, I would do it. I reached a point where I really wanted to start getting more serious about the outdoors and join a culture and a group of people who love to do what I love to do. I also wanted to learn from those who had been doing it for a long time. So, in 2012, I joined the Alpine Club of Canada and the first newsletter came and I was amazed at the opportunities available. I found the MEC Under 25 Climbing Camp while reading the Gazette and thought to myself, why not? My main reason was I wanted to meet people around my age range who love to do what I love to do. I’ve had a hard time finding people who are interested in the outdoors like I am. I really wasn’t sure what my expect‑ ations were going into the camp, since I had never participated in, or ever thought of signing up for a camp like the MEC Under 25. I won’t lie; I believe my expectations were a little skewed, a bit grandiose in my mind, of what we would learn to do. I had thoughts of being able to go from top-roping to multi-pitch climbs in a couple of days, and that after the camp we could go climb anywhere. Overall though, the camp exceeded my expectations as I learned how work, knowledge and safe practice is what it takes to really master rock climbing. We learned about safe rope handling tech‑ nique, sport climbing, cleaning anchors, short introduction to multi-pitch sport climbs, and a brief overview of trad anchors. The things I wasn’t expecting to learn though, really had to do with the com‑ munity that is rock climbing. It was hard for me to understand at first that there is a community of people who love to do what I love to do, and dedicate a lot of their time, talents and money to make what I do possible. Some of my best memories weren’t necessarily the climbs, or the techniques learned, but truly the time that each of us had to interact with and get to know one another, and also to have the amazing opportunity to learn from Jen Olson and Sonnie Trotter. I believe without them the camp would not 18  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

have been the same. It was amazing for us who are younger to be able to talk with them, learn from them. To bounce ideas and thoughts off of them was truly the highlight of the camp in my mind. One of the things I truly learned from the camp was that rock climbing isn’t about climbing as much as it is about being with others who love to do what you love to do, spending time with them, having fun and being safe. I’m very glad I signed up because now I have gained some friends I can climb with, and from the camp we started those friendships. I would highly recommend this camp. Just the information, the skills you learn, the rock you get to climb, the scenery, the relationships and the guides and people you meet make it all worth it. Everything from accommodations to the food we were given was above and beyond my expectations. Everything was arranged and the guides helped everybody; no matter the skill level everybody learned something and was able to climb some‑ thing they thought maybe they couldn’t at the beginning of the camp. Afterward, I felt my abilities and knowledge gained were far higher than before. I also realized from the guides that the outdoors is always about learning and changing, and you never really know it all. It’s about constant discovery, of yourself and the outdoors. Andrew Abel is a 21-year-old ACC Edmonton Section member who is currently working to save money to embark on a twoyear mission for his church.

Top: Andrew Abel unclips from an anchor during the 2012 MEC Under 25 Climbing Camp. Middle: Andrew Abel fine-tunes his rappelling skills while participating on the 2012 MEC Under 25 Climbing Camp. Bottom: MEC Under 25 Climbing Camp instructor Sonnie Trotter shares some beta on proper rappel technique with participant Nick Dimopoulos at Lake Louise.

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Book ends Compiled by Lynn Martel

John Clarke: Explorer of the Coast Mountains by Lisa Baile This fascinating biography provides a detailed portrait of John Clarke, the man who became British Columbia’s most renowned mountaineer by doing it his way. Uninterested in “trophy climbs”, Clarke never did ascend many of B.C.’s highest peaks. What he did accomplish in the most impressive and admirable fashion was to explore more virgin territory and rack up more first ascents than any other climber. Covering his remarkable life through his own words and photographs as well as those of many of his friends, this well-researched book reveals the spirit of one of the very few mountaineers to receive the Order of Canada. An active ACC and B.C. Mountaineering Club member who co-founded the Wilderness Education Program with Clarke, Baile’s writing beautifully captures a modest man who dedicated his life not just to exploring the numberless, nameless peaks of the Coast Mountains, but to tirelessly working on environmental and conservation education to preserve that unique landscape. Published by Harbour Publishing EXPLORER of the COAST MOUNTAINS

Lisa Baile

Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 4 Sheep/Gorge Creek/North Fork by Gillean Daffern What began as the only guidebook to Alberta’s cherished Kananaskis Country has blossomed into five individual pub‑ lications. Exhaustively researched and meticulously designed, just like all of Daffern’s signature guidebooks, K-Country Guide Volume 4 provides definitive trail information for the region’s eastern river valleys, sinuous ridges and rolling foothills, encompassing the Sheep River and Gorge and Threepoint creeks area. This “true explorer’s paradise” features hidden waterfalls, alpine tarns and bucolic meadows. Coordinates for GPS users, camping, hunting, road closures and river crossing info, plus a generous collection of modern-day crisp colour photos and equally clear colour topo maps, index and easy-toread route diagrams all round out another outstanding Daffern guidebook. Published by Rocky Mountain Books









Banff Rock: A Guidebook to Rock Climbing in Banff National Park Canada by Chris Perry Bursting with more than 500 pages, this beefy guidebook weighs as much as a rope, but for climbers living in or visiting the Banff area, it’s equally indispensable. With 400 ultra clear photos revealing well-defined rock features, this self-pub‑ lished volume shows careful attention to little extras such as rounded corners and meticulously drawn route topos. Written descriptions are comprehensive, indicating whether the route is bolted or requires trad gear, followed by pitch-by-pitch beta, up-to-date info on anchors, rappel stations, approaches and descents. The extensive history section, written by Rockies writer and climber, Brandon Pullan, is an essential component, beginning and ending at the Bow Valley landmark, Mount Louis, first climbed in 1916 by legendary Austrian guide Conrad Kain and famed ACC member Albert McCarthy. Published by CIMATECH PRESS. To purchase your copy visit Club alpin du Canada


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2012  19


Recherche d’itinéraire par

Peter Muir


e 15 juin 2012, grâce au travail fantastique des sections du Manitoba et de Saint-Boniface du Club alpin du Canada, une petite plaque a été placée à l’endroit où a eu lieu la première réunion du CAC en 1906. En tant que président du CAC, j’ai prononcé un petit discours à cette occasion, dont voici une version abrégée. Il est à la fois amusant et ironique que le Club alpin du Canada soit né à

Winnipeg. Mais rappelons que, pen‑ dant la majeure partie de son histoire, Winnipeg a été l’une des villes cana‑ diennes les plus influentes d’abord par son emplacement géographique, puis par son développement : au début, les fleuves, puis les chemins de fer. Son infrastructure de l’époque montre bien l’influence importante exercée par l’immigration, l’économie, et la culture.

NO Alpine Club of Canada





Incredible winter memories start here

Photo: Lynn Martel

Winter 2013 Adventures

Mid-Winter Ice Camp

Photo: Felix Camire

Photo: Sean Isaac

Photo: Jasmin Fredette

7 unique, fully-guided winter adventures Only with Canada’s national mountaineering club

Wapta Traverse

Feb 16-18 $695

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Winter 2012


Frustré par le peu d’intérêt que soulevait alors la création d’un club alpin canadien, le cofondateur de notre Club, Arthur Wheeler, a commencé à réfléchir à l’offre du docteur Charles Fay de créer une section canadienne à l’American Alpine Club. Mais avant de se résoudre à cette solution, Wheeler a décidé d’écrire aux principaux jour‑ naux canadiens pour demander que l’on soutienne la création d’un club alpin canadien. L’un de ces journaux était le Winnipeg Free Press, journal très influent dans l’Ouest canadien en 1906. Le rédacteur en chef de ce journal, J.W. Dafoe, a remis la lettre d’Arthur Wheeler à une jeune écrivaine canadienne nommée Elizabeth Parker. L’histoire raconte qu’il l’avait choisie parce qu’elle possédait 18 mois d’expéri‑ ence dans les Rocheuses canadiennes, mais aussi parce qu’il avait bien vu par les articles qu’elle écrivait dans le Winnipeg Free Press et dans le Canadian Alpine Journal qu’elle serait à la hauteur du défi proposé par Arthur Wheeler. S’appuyant sur le fait qu’il était inacceptable de se joindre aux Américains, Mlle Parker a écrit une série d’articles démontrant qu’il était possible de créer un club alpin canadien. Ses écrits, à la fois sans compromis, nationalistes, et prophétiques en matière d’environnement, ont inspiré la formation du Club alpin du Canada en mars 1906. Aujourd’hui, le Club alpin du Canada possède 30 refuges de montagne et compte plus de membres qu’Arthur Wheeler ou Elizabeth Parker n’auraient jamais pu l’imaginer, dans des sections qui vont de Terre-Neuve au Yukon, en passant par l’Île de Vancouver. Mais revenons à ce qu’écrivait Élizabeth Parker : « La réponse qui nous est parvenue de toutes les parties du Dominion fut une véritable surprise, contredisant tous ceux d’entre nous qui avaient déploré l’indifférence des Canadiens envers un sport pour lequel la nature nous a fourni un aussi vaste terrain de jeu, au cœur même de notre territoire. Nous étions sortis de notre sommeil et allions corriger la situation en créant une organisation de montagne des plus vigoureuses. » Vision accomplie !

Route finding by

Peter Muir


n June 15, 2012, after much hard work by the Alpine Club of Canada’s Manitoba and SaintBoniface sections, a small plaque was placed in Winnipeg at the location of the ACC’s first meeting in 1906. As ACC President, I made a small speech; here is an edited version. It is an amusing irony that the Alpine Club of Canada began in Winnipeg. But for much of its history, Winnipeg was among the most influential of Canadian cities because of geography, and then development; first rivers and then rail‑ ways. The city’s infrastructure from the time reflects its dominance of immigra‑ tion, economy and culture. Our Club’s co-founder, Arthur Wheeler, frustrated by the lack of interest in a Canadian mountaineering organiza‑ tion, began to consider Dr. Charles Fay’s overtures to create a Canadian section of the American Alpine Club. As a last ditch effort, Wheeler campaigned by letter to major Canadian newspapers for support for a Canadian club. One of those newspapers was Winnipeg’s Free Press—in 1906 western Canada’s most influential newspaper. Its editor, J.W. Dafoe, gave Wheeler’s letter to young writer named Elizabeth Parker. Common history says he chose her because she had 18 months’ experience in the Canadian

Rockies. Her writings in that paper and in the Canadian Alpine Journal however, reveal he believed she would rise to Wheeler’s challenge. Ms. Parker launched a tireless

Executive Committee slate


n accordance with Alpine Club of Canada bylaws, a committee nominates a slate of Executive Committee members for a two-year term. The nominating commit‑ tee proposes the following slate for the May 2013 to May 2015 term:

President:  Peter Muir Secretary:  Gordon Currie Treasurer:  Neil Bosch VP Mountain Culture:  Isabelle Daigneault VP Services:  David Foster VP Activities:  Zac Robinson VP Facilities:  Carl Hannigan VP Access and Environment:  Wayne Campbell

According to the Club’s bylaws, additional nominations may be submitted by a member provided the nominations: ●● are accompanied by the names and signatures of at least 50 supporting mem‑ bers in good standing, and ●● reach the Club’s National Office no later than December 1, 2012. If one or more such nominations are received, election ballots for the position(s) involved will be mailed to members in March. If not, the above slate will be declared elected and will assume office at the Club’s Annual General Meeting on May 11, 2013.

campaign of articles about a potential Canadian club based on the unacceptab‑ ility of joining with the Americans. Her words were uncompromising, national‑ istic and environmentally prophetic, and they inspired the formation of the ACC in March, 1906. Today’s ACC boasts 30 mountain huts and more members than Wheeler or Parker could have imagined belong‑ ing to sections from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to the Yukon. In Parker’s words: “The response from all parts of the Dominion was a surprise, and ought to have been a rebuke to us who had loudly lamented Canadian indifference to a sport for which Nature had provided so vast the playground on our own immediate territory. We had awakened out of sleep, and would redeem the past by a vigorous mountaineering organization.” Vision accomplished.

Recycle this Gazette Leave it on Santa’s lap

Club alpin du Canada


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2012  21

TNF Winter Course serves up lessons, camaraderie and powder The North Face Winter Leadership Course participants practice efficient transition in -25 C temperatures.

story and photos by


Matthew Smith

t was a great week of learning, camaraderie and even some excellent skiing. I’m talking about the Alpine Club of Canada’s 2012 The North Face Winter Leadership Course, which I had the opportunity to participate in last January. Excited, we met at the Alpine Helicopters hangar in Golden, B.C. and boarded the Bell 407 to fly into the early morning sun and the amazing panorama of the Purcell and Rocky mountains. The approach to Mistaya Lodge followed the stunning Wildcat Creek valley before settling onto the pad beside the beautiful wood lodge set in a magnificent cirque surrounded by 3,000-metre peaks. Not your standard alpine hut, Mistaya is quite luxurious with hot and cold running water, toilets, electricity, a wood stove, and even a wood fired sauna! I was impressed, as usual, with the diverse nature of my fellow ACC par‑ ticipants—they came from Alberta and British Columbia, of course, but also Ontario, Quebec and the newly formed Yukon Section. Lead instructor for the course was the legendary Cyril Shokoples, who kept us engaged with his wealth of experience and entertained with his repertoire of stories from the field. Mistaya’s owner and resident mountain guide, Dave Birnie, assisted with the guiding and made sure we were well taken care of. Hut custodian and chef extraordinaire Grant Coughlin kept us well fed with outstanding organic homemade meals. The days started early with careful, professional-standard recording of mor‑ ning weather observations by headlamp. 22  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

Then over coffee we discussed our find‑ ings and formulated a weather forecast. That was followed by the morning “guides meeting”, where we evaluated the avalanche hazard, did a stability evalua‑ tion and discussed the plan for the day. We spent most of each day in the field, evaluating terrain, practicing safe travel techniques, perfecting transitions, dis‑ cussing group management and making route finding decisions. In the afternoon we returned to enjoy some delicious après ski courtesy of Grant—including one afternoon, fresh, homemade sushi. Then it was an afternoon lecture, a delicious dinner and a continuation of the lecture until 10 p.m., when we retired for the night until the 6 a.m. wake up call. The course included an AST 2 avalanche certification, so there

was considerable lecture material to cover, but Cyril kept us engaged. We were able to witness the typical spectrum of Rockies weather—from splitter blue sky and high pressure, to heavy snow, brutal wind and extreme cold. The temperatures presented a challenge for most of the week, as the thermometer rarely rose above -20 degrees C; one night I recorded a low of -34 C. Despite the cold temps and strong winds, we achieved most of our objectives, including route finding in complex terrain and poor visibility en route to the sum‑ mit of West Peyto Peak (2,896 metres), the full AST 2 field work, and a surprise full-scale avalanche rescue scenario from a simulated serac fall complete with multiple burials, some deep, some shallow. This was an excellent demonstration of

Participants on the 2012 The North Face Winter Leadership Course show off their spiffy new TNF jackets with their instructor, Cyril Shokoples (fifth from left).

the necessity of practicing tactical ava‑ lanche triage; in this scenario, spending excessive time digging out a deep burial could negate the chances of rescue for a shallow burial that could be easily rescued with proper allocation of resources. Snow accumulation was minimal for the week we were there, but on the last day, thanks to Dave’s excellent terrain knowledge, we enjoyed some spectacular, knee-deep fresh stuff, despite the fact that there hadn’t been a dump in two weeks. A ski tour to Mohawk Ridge yielded run after run of beautiful powder in a perfectly spaced coniferous forest, and the hoots, hollers and sparkling trails of cold smoke floating through the trees had me wishing I could spend another week there enjoying the amazing terrain. Thanks to the ACC Ottawa Section for giving me the opportunity to attend; to Dave and Grant and for being such gracious hosts; to Cyril for his excellent instruction; and to my fellow course participants for the learning opportunities and memories: Mark Isaacs (Prince George Section), Yves Gobeil (Edmonton), Patrick Leclerc (Laurentides), Jennifer Eakins (Yukon), Charles Stuart (Yukon), Harold Steiner (Vancouver Island), Gerald Levac (Okanagan), Alexis Guigue (Vancouver), Mina Inamori (Rocky Mountain), Matthew Smith (Ottawa), ACMG moun‑ tain guide Cyril Shokoples, ACMG ski guide David Birnie and backcountry chef Grant Coughlin. Alpine Club of Canada member Matthew Smith is a flight paramedic and ski patroller living in Ottawa who plays in the mountains whenever possible.


Shaffle Jacket

radiSh Midlayer

Meru BiB

JS1001123_ACC_tNF_1/3_PAGE_WINtER_2012.indd 1

9/27/12 5:06 PM

Karl Nagy Memorial Award


he Karl Nagy Memorial Award was established in 2001 to assist amateur lead‑ ers and guides in the development of their leadership skills. Until his death in 2000, Karl set an outstanding example as a mentor in the mountains and was well known for his leadership, safety and success. This award provides an opportunity for Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) aspiring amateur leaders and Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) candidates to participate at the ACC General Mountaineering Camp. Alpine Club amateur leaders and ACMG candidates are given priority in alter‑ nating years; 2013 is set for an ACMG aspirant guide. All applicants must be current ACC members. Deadline for applications is January 31, 2013. For more information, visit

Club alpin du Canada


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2012  23

Melanie Bernier glides across Sherbrooke Lake en route to completing the classic Rockies Wapta ski traverse in the fastest known time.

Canadian skimo duo clocks fastest-known Wapta time Story and photos by Ian Gale


he trip didn’t start well. It was 4:30 a.m. and we were running or stumbling down to Peyto Lake through 70 centimetres of isothermal snow, swinging from branches through short broken sections of cliff. Our mis‑ sion was a one-day speed traverse of the Wapta Icefield from Peyto Lake to Sherbrooke Lake, and in my over-excite‑ ment I thought I was guiding through an open glade that would eliminate a Melanie Bernier scrambles up the bare moraine in Peyto Canyon en route to gaining the icefield above, Mount Habel (formerly known as Rhondda North) in the background.

24  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

few switchbacks. Now all I could do was shrug, apologize and keep the bushwhack moving. Mel Bernier and I have raced together for the Canadian Ski Mountaineering team for a few years and have shared enough adventures in the mountains to know we’re a well matched team. With the Alpine Club of Canada’s support we have had the honour of representing Canada at multiple World Cup and World Championship races across North America and Europe. In countries such as France and Italy, ski mountaineering (skimo) is wrapped in history, originating from world wars where soldiers would patrol the high Alps, pioneering routes for now classic grande courses, including the Patrouille des Glaciers, Mezzalama and Pierra Menta. On the first day of the 2010 World Championships in Andorra, Team Canada and 20 other nations paraded through the principality’s capital, Andorra la Vella, shutting down its main street for hours. Throughout the World Championships, winning racers from French, Italian and Spanish teams made the front pages of the national papers, like hockey players would in Canada. It’s a whole ’nother league over there. It doesn’t take long after seeing the speed and comfort ski mountaineers have in the Alps to start looking at our own Canadian classics and wonder what could happen if you just changed your tactics and mindset a little bit? What if, instead

of a 70-litre pack, you carried a 20-litre pack, and instead of 180-centimetre powder skis and four-buckle boots, you wore two-buckle, 500-gram ski slippers on each foot and stepped into 160-centi‑ metre carbon skis weighing 700 grams? Include glid-y mohair skins cut just behind the heel... Imagine the freedom of movement! After a few failed attempts to do the traverse in years previous, Mel and I had our eyes on conditions spring 2012. When things looked like they’d shaped up all it took was a quick text on Thursday and Saturday’s mission was on. All teams face challenges and luck‑ ily our stoke and caffeine levels were high enough that it was going to take more than 120 metres of isothermal bushwhacking to hold us back. Once at the lake we easily made ground on the supportive crust through the canyon, moraines and onto the glacier. Above 2,440 metres a breakable crust gave way to fresh blown snow and 20-centimetre ski penetration. Finding a sustainable pace, we swapped leads back and forth powering through the kilo‑ metres. At the Saint Nicholas/Olive Col we congratulated ourselves on making it half way in a bit over three hours. Seeing tracks out to Vulture Col, an alternate route to the base of Mount Balfour, we were doubly happy to know we’d have a set skin track up to the Balfour High Col, pleased to be done with tiring, slower trail breaking.

Kode 30 1_3SQ EN AC Gazette.pdf

Three and a half kilometres of rolling glacier descent gave our legs a needed rest as we watched the scenery meander by. Unfortunately, once we reached the moraine below Balfour Glacier our hearts sunk. Our trail breakers had chosen a different route, leaving us to punch the 550-metre route to the Wapta high point. At this point Melly stepped up and showed why she’s one of Canada’s fastest racers. Throwing on the rope, she pinned it through the broken bottom half of the route, giving me time to down a few gels and drink some sports drink mix before she stepped aside for me to take it to the col. Satisfied with making the high point of the traverse, we took a moment to absorb the day and appreciate where we were and what we were doing. I also took the time to absorb a caffeinated gel, electrolyte tabs and some ibuprofen. Snow conditions were superb down to the ACC’s Scott Duncan Hut, a sup‑ portive crust carried us to a set track over to the Niles/Daly Col and we enjoyed firm safe conditions on the ski out to Sherbrooke Lake. We skated across the lake, racing for the start of the monkey trail/luge track and the waiting car beyond. Clicking the watch confirmed our time of 7 hours, 35 minutes. With that three-year project complete we were content to sit back and ponder the whole purpose of the ski, not for the competi‑ tiveness, but for the feeling of freedom we get from time in the mountains, the feeling of uninhibited movement and the potential of where your legs can take you. Team Canada would like to thank the ACC for its continued support of competitive ski mountaineering in Canada. To learn more about Canada’s other national ski team, please visit Golden, B.C.’s Ian Gale is a member of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s mountain safety team who enjoys exploring the Dogtooth Range, Rogers Pass and the Rockies on both skinny and fat skis. His summers are spent biking, mountaineering and working as a firefighter, not necessarily in that order. At press time Ian and his wife, Shauna, were awaiting the birth of their first child.



2:47 PM









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Club alpin du Canada


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2012  25

Mon bénévole préféré : Rick Checkland par Lil Lezarre

Rick : On m’a demandé d’écrire cet article, alors je devais le faire ! J’ai écrit précédemment un article dans la section d’Edmonton du bulletin Breeze, et Rick m’a dit que j’avais exagéré, ce qui montre bien le genre de personne qu’est Rick Checkland. ’ai rencontré Nick pour la première fois il y a cinq ans pendant le cours « Summer in the Mountains » organisé par notre section. Lorsqu’on nous a présentés, je lui ai dit que j’assistais au cours pour pouvoir emmener mes enfants en montagne de façon sécuri‑ taire. Il m’a alors invitée à participer à un voyage qu’il ferait avec sa famille ce weekend-là. Rick possède un énorme bagage de connaissances sur toutes les activités que l’on peut pratiquer dans l’arrière-pays : ski, alpinisme, escalade, voyage en terrain glacé; et il aime com‑ muniquer son enthousiasme à tous ceux qui l’entourent. Au cours des 44 dernières années, il a donné les cours d’introduction aux cours « Winter in the Mountains » et « Summer in the Mountains » et était presque toujours présent aux weekends d’activités reliés à ces cours. Je l’assiste depuis quatre ans et j’apprends quelque chose de nouveau à chaque cours. Cette année, Rick a constaté qu’il serait utile d’organiser un SIM plus court. Il a donc


conçu et dirigé un cours accéléré, qui comprend un exposé et un weekend d’activités. Rick se tient au courant de toutes les nouveautés en matière de techniques, technologies, équipement, et informa‑ tions sur la sécurité. Il connaît toutes sortes de détails, comme la façon dont les différents motifs cousus ont un effet sur les vêtements de duvet, les changements physiologiques subis par le corps lorsqu’il doit s’adapter à la température, la façon dont la composition des tissus affecte les vêtements, et ce qui fonctionne le mieux dans certaines conditions. Sa plus récente responsabilité en tant que bénévole con‑ sistera à diriger le cours « Winter on Ice » de notre section. Tous les ans au cours du weekend de l’Action de Grâces, il nettoie et prépare pour l’hiver le refuge WatesGibson à Jasper. Au printemps dernier, lorsque Parcs Canada a demandé de l’aide pour refaire le sentier menant à ce refuge, Rick a immédiatement répondu qu’il irait et a offert d’emmener des passagers. En voyage, Rick est la personne la mieux préparée que j’aie jamais vue; il apporte un double de tout. Ainsi, au cours d’une randonnée d’escalade, il a offert d’enlever les cordes. J’ai donc décidé d’alléger ses bagages. J’ai commencé à enlever des choses de son sac, pour

ACC Funds and Grants Program


hrough the generosity of many donors, the Alpine Club of Canada has estab‑ lished funds to support mountaineering related projects and initiatives. The deadline for submission of grant applications is January 31, 2013. Grant recipi‑ ents will be announced mid-March 2013. The Environment Fund – provides support that contributes to the protection and preservation of alpine flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The focus of the Fund is wilderness conservation. The Jen Higgins Fund – promotes creative and energetic alpine related out‑ door pursuits by young women. These projects should demonstrate initiative, creativity, energy and resourcefulness with an emphasis on self-propelled wil‑ derness travel, and should provide value and interest to the community. Jim Colpitts Fund – encourages young climbers between the ages of 17 and 24 to participate in mountain related courses and programs such as wilderness first aid, avalanche training, rock/crevasse rescue and mountain leadership training. For complete info and application forms visit: or call the ACC National Office at 403-678-3200 ext. 108. 26  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

Rick Checkland se bénévole pour tester les conditions de neige. | Rick Checkland volunteers to test snow conditions.

réaliser que le mien se remplissait tell‑ ement que je ne pourrais plus le porter, mais que cela n’avait presque rien changé au sac de Rick. Demandez à n’importe lequel de ses étudiants : si une personne a un problème avec ses skis, elle peut compter sur Rick pour les réparer. Son numéro de cellulaire est public, et il répond régulièrement aux questions de ses anciens étudiants. Son poste le plus récent : webmestre de notre section. Ce n’est pas sa spécialité mais, pour lui, c’est simplement une autre façon d’aider le Club. Je sais aussi, entre autres, qu’il aime faire de la voile et est très actif au Grant MacEwan University Club. Au fil des ans, Rick a reçu de nombreux prix du Club alpin du Canada et il a toujours été un atout important pour la section d’Edmonton. Merci encore, Rick, pour tout ce que vous faites pour notre Club. Nous sommes très, très nombreux à bénéficier de votre passion pour la montagne et de votre désir de partager vos vastes connaissances avec tous ceux qui vous entourent. Mais si vous parlez de tout cela à Rick, il vous dira qu’il fait tout simple‑ ment ce qu’il aime faire. Lil Lezarre est la nouvelle directrice de la section d’Edmonton du Club alpin du Canada.

My favourite volunteer: Rick Checkland by Lil Lezarre

To Rick: please know I was requested to write this article so I had to do it. I originally wrote an article for the Edmonton Section Breeze newsletter and Rick told me I went overboard, which is a true testament to the kind of guy Rick Checkland is. he first time I met Rick was five years ago at our section’s annual Summer in the Mountains course. During my introduction, I said my reason for attending was so I could take my kids into the mountains safely. Rick invited me to join him on a family trip that weekend. Rick is a wealth of knowledge on everything in the back‑ country—skiing, climbing, scrambling and ice travel, and he shares his enthusi‑ asm with everyone. He has taught Winter in the Mountains and Summer in the Mountains introductory courses for the


past 44 years, attending almost all the course weekends. For the past four years I have helped, and I learn something new every class. This year he noticed a need for a shorter SIM class, so he designed a one-class plus one weekend compressed course that he taught and led. Rick keeps up-to-date on all the latest techniques, technology, gear and safety information. He’s knowledgeable about details such as different stitching patterns and how they affect down clothing; the physiological changes the body goes through when trying to adjust for temperature management; how different fabric compositions affect clothes and what works best in different conditions. His latest volunteer position will be running our section’s Winter on Ice course. Every year he does the fall clean-up/winter preparation of the

Nominate a volunteer


very year, the members of the Alpine Club of Canada’s Awards Committee volunteer their time to sift through numerous nominations to determine the recipients of the Club’s Volunteer Awards. Nominations are now open for outstanding Alpine Club of Canada volunteers of 2012. The following awards recognize and celebrate ACC volunteers for their contribu‑ tions to the Club and its members: l Distinguished Service Award l A.O. Wheeler Legacy Award l Don Forest Service Award l Honorary Membership l Eric Brooks Leader Award l President’s Award l Silver Rope for Leadership Award For details on how to nominate a volunteer and nomination forms, visit or call the ACC National Office at (403) 678-3200 ext. 108 to receive the information by mail. Deadline for nominations is December 31, 2012. Kilimanjaro Africa’s Highest Mountain  5895 m / 19340 ft.

Wates-Gibson Hut in Jasper over the Thanksgiving weekend. Last spring, when Parks Canada sent out a call for help rebuilding the path to the hut, Rick immediately posted that he was going and offered to take passengers. On trips, Rick is the most prepared person I’ve ever seen, carrying a spare everything with him. On one climbing trip he offered to help take down the ropes, so I thought I would help lighten his load since he’d be carrying two ropes. I started taking gear out of his backpack to realize my pack filled to the point I wouldn’t be able to carry it, while I didn’t put a dent in his pack. Ask any students who have been on courses with him; if anyone has a problem with their skis they can count on Rick to repair them. His cell number is public and he regularly answers questions from past students. Rick’s latest task is Section web‑ master. It’s not something he specializes in, just another area for him to help out the Club. These are just the things I know about; he enjoys sailing and is also very active in the Grant MacEwan University Club. Rick has received various awards from the ACC over the years and has been a valuable asset to the Edmonton Section. Thank you again, Rick, for everything that you do for our Club. Many, many people have benefitted from your passion for the mountains and from you sharing your wealth of knowledge with all of us. But, as far as Rick’s concerned, he’s just doing what he enjoys. Lil Lezarre is the new Chair of the ACC Edmonton Section.

DIK DIK H o t e l & To u r s Individual safaris in Tanzania Kilimanjaro climb & Safari Specialist Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara Holidays in Zanzibar It is the Swiss family’s Vision & Commitment to provide top quality accommodation, food and service in a friendly atmosphere. Club alpin du Canada


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2012  27

Adieu Rick Collier 1941 – 2012


lpine Club of Canada members were saddened to hear of the untimely death of long-time Club member, prolific Canadian Alpine Journal contributor, committed social justice and environmental activist, and mountain explorer extraordinaire, Rick Collier. A long-time Calgary resident, Collier was in a league of his own, having climbed more than 1,300 mountains. In addition to being the second person to summit the 54 Canadian Rockies peaks above 11,000 feet (3353 metres), he’s the only person to have climbed every one of the nearly 600 peaks listed in Glen Boles’ classic 1973 Climber’s Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada South guidebook. He also climbed all the named summits on the continental divide between the US border Recycle this and Saskatchewan River Crossing, and all the peaks in the 2006 edition of Alan Kane’s Gazette Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. During his travels he summitted Mount Logan Pass on to and Aconcagua and also made eight first ascents. It was on Mount Geikie in it Mount Robson Provincial Park, in the Tonquin Valley area shared by Jasper National Park that your belayer Collier died on August 15 when the section of rock face he was climbing on gave way underneath him. A full obit will appear in the 2013 CAJ. Happy trails, Rick!

Phyllis Hart

Victor Henry Heller 1918 – 2012

1915 – 2012


lpine Club of Canada Life Member Phyllis Katherine Hart was born on March 7, 1915 in Stettler Alberta, and grew up in nearby Gadsby. She began her career as a school teacher, then proceeded to work as a telegraph and then teletype operator for the Canadian Pacific Railway, working in Medicine Hat during the winter and the Chateau Lake Louise in the summer. According to her family, her happiest years were at Lake Louise where she climbed just about all the area’s peaks with the CPR’s Swiss Guides. She finished her career at the CPR as a communications instructor and customer liaison in Calgary. Following her retirement, she enjoyed travelling to many international des‑ tinations, hiking in the mountains she loved and also volunteering in her community. She participated in the Alberta Wilderness Association’s annual tower climb, which now pre‑ sents the Phyllis Hart Award to the oldest female climber. As an ACC member, Phyllis is fondly remembered as an active mountaineer and also for her generous donation to the rebuild‑ ing of Fay Hut. Phyllis Hart died at the age of 97 on April 9, 2012. 28  Alpine Club of Canada

Rick Collier enjoys the view from the summit of Junction Mountain in Alberta’s Highwood Pass area during the likely first-ever Dogtooth traverse in June. p hoto by ACC member Julie Muller.


Winter 2012


lpine Club of Canada Life Member Victor Henry Heller passed away Sept. 8, 2012, one month shy of his 94th birthday. Born in Vancouver in 1918, Heller attended college in Bellingham, Washington and learned the logging trade. Beginning with his father’s newspaper plant, he worked in that business much of his life. During World War II he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and overseas. His passion for skiing and climbing took him to Austria and Switzerland several times, but his real loves were the mountain ranges of B.C., Alberta and the northwestern U.S. Heller is survived by his wife, Alma, and one sister, Geraldine Carmichael.

Planning on getting married in the Rockies? With spectacular views, fantastic facilities and affordable rates, the Alpine Club of Canada’s Clubhouse is the perfect venue for intimate mountain weddings. We pride ourselves in being very flexible to the needs of your special day. Photo: | 403-678-3200 ext. 1

Geoff Powter receives 2012 Summit of Excellence


hearty congratulations goes to Canmore-based climber, author and former editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal for being named recipient of the 2012 Summit of Excellence Award. Powter has been writing about climbing, mountain culture, personalities and adventure for three decades, earning 10 National Magazine Awards for his talents. During the 15 years he edited the Canadian Alpine Journal (1992 – 2007), he expanding its breadth to include thought-provoking reflections on the philosophical side of the climbing experience. As author of Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness, Powter melded his writing prowess with his skills as a clinical psychologist to explore the motivations behind some of

the most intriguing adventurers the world has ever seen, examining the psychology of their risk-taking exploits with respect and genuine introspection. Add to that, he’s put up 50 new climb‑ ing routes in the Rockies and participated in 13 Himalayan expeditions. In gratitude for all he felt that region of the world had given him, he served seven years as president of the Canadian Himalaya Foundation. And regular attendees of the Banff Mountain Book Festival are fam‑ iliar with Geoff Powter as the engaging host of his Voices of Adventure series of intimate interviews with such moun‑ tains legends as Charlie Houston, Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard. Well done Geoff! To learn more visit

Richard Guy, 95 summits Ha Ling Peak


tarting up the trail of the well-​ recognized peak that overlooks Canmore at 4 a.m. on June 30, it took the group six hours to reach the summit, by Richard’s estimate his 20th to 25th time up the mountain. His last time was three years ago with his wife, Louise, for whom the Louise Guy Commemorative fund for ongoing ama‑ teur leadership training at the General Mountaineering Camp is named; he was 92, she was 91. This summer’s special climb was planned to commemorate Louise, who died in 2010 at the age of 92. The group, the youngest of whom was 51, returned to the parking lot at 6 p.m. after a remarkable 14-hour effort.

At far right with ski poles, 95-yearold Richard Guy smiles proudly on the summit of Ha Ling Peak surrounded by friends who helped him accomplish the demanding 14-hour climb. From left, Jane Lancaster (ACC Calgary), Rex Westbrook, Chic Scott (ACC Rocky Mountain Honorary Member) and Ken Baker (ACC Calgary). Photo by Paul Gray (ACC Calgary). Be sure to read about Richard and Louise Guy’s inspirational lives in our newly published Young at Heart written by Chic Scott. Available at: in the Summit Series section.

Club alpin du Canada


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2012  29

À ciel ouvert par

Toby Harper


’a de l’or dans ces collines là. Pardonnez la métaphore cliché, mais qu’il s’agisse du granit qui borde l’un de nos trois océans, des couleurs d’automne dans des régions moins escarpées du pays, ou encore de la médaille de champion du monde que Sean McColl porte autour du cou... le Canada est vraiment le filon! Le Club alpin du Canada est censé répondre à la communauté de mon‑ tagne du Canada, quoi que cela signifie pour vous, et je peux dire que cela signi‑ fie un éventail de choses très différentes pour différentes personnes. Je suis également convaincu que ce n’est pas là où vous êtes au Canada qui définit votre participation à notre communauté de montagne, mais bien là où vous êtes dans votre vie, et ce que vous voulez en faire. Notre as de l’Himalaya vient du Québec, notre champion national a grandi à moins d’une heure de route de Squamish, des têtes grises de Toronto sont éprises de la chaîne Selkirk et s’y rendent chaque été, et le rédacteur en chef du vénérable Canadian Alpine Journal est un gars qui porte une queue de cheval, des skinny jeans et des lun‑ ettes de soleil ridicules. Les travaux du CAC soutiennent une communauté de montagne colorée et dynamique; nous essayons donc d’offrir des services qui comptent pour chacun de nos membres. Cela signifie que certaines personnes peuvent bénéficier photo by Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne

30  Alpine Club of Canada


Winter 2012

de subventions d’expédition (tels que le Fonds Jen Higgins), que d’autres profitent tous les weekends des sorties de parois courtes (ou d’un 5 à 7) de leur section locale, alors que d’autres se voient déjà en compétition aux Jeux Olympiques de 2020. Nous sommes loin de l’époque où seule l’escalade de montagne permettait de se qualifier au CAC. Souvenonsnous qu’il y a seulement 25 ans, les gens se disputaient pour décider si le Club devrait être impliqué dans l’escalade de compétition (de nos jours, l’adhésion au Climbing Escalade Canada du CAC couvre des provinces où nous n’avons même pas de sections traditionnelles !). Nous avons des milliers de membres dont l’interaction quotidienne avec leur communauté de montagne comprend tout simplement des histoires et vidéos partagées sur la page Facebook du CAC. Combien d’entre vous ont choisi de lire cette Gazette dans son édition web? Si vous ne l’avez pas encore fait et voulez économiser des ressources en vous pas‑ sant de la version «papier », completez le formulaire à gazette/egazette.html et nous vous enver‑ rons un courriel avec un lien vers chaque édition web dès sa sortie. En tant que membre d’un club national, dans un grand pays diversifié qui compte plus d’un siècle d’histoire, vous faites des pont politiques et culturels, et vous aidez à définir ce que signifie être Canadien dans un sens contemporain. Que vous soyez membre du CAC pour préserver le caractère sauvage du glacier Jumbo, participer au prochain Tour de Bloc, ou vous faufiler vers un supplé‑ ment de 10 percent de réduction chez MEC, je vous remercie pour votre adhésion. En tant que direc‑ teur responsable des services aux membres, je suis toujours à l’écoute de vos com‑ mentaires ... Qu’est-ce que le Club pourrait

améliorer selon vous? Lancez-moi un tweet sur @alpineclubcan ou un courriel à Allez!.. en toute sécurité.

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NOTICES Upcoming Meetings Executive Committee meeting: April 20, 2013 in Canmore Board of Directors meeting: ●● May 11 - 12, 2013 in Canmore Annual General Meeting: ●● May 11, 2013 in Canmore ●●

Canadian Alpine Journal Submissions Deadline for submitting articles for the upcoming CAJ is February 1, 2013. For more information, visit: guidelines.html

ACC NewsNet To subscribe to the ACC NewsNet visit:

Classified Ad Rates: $25 plus $1 per word + taxes E-mail your ad to:

Photography: Gabe Rogel


Location: The Teton Backcountry, Wyoming


Athletes: Eric Bryant and Jake Cohn

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

Flirting with danger requires a good opening line. •

2008 June / Heavy snow pins the team to the

wall for days. On day 18, the team gets within 100 meters of the summit, but no further. A two-day rappel brings the team to safety


Insights during ferocious storms guided innovation as Conrad, teammates and The north Face engineered a complete kit for Meru conditions

2011 October / Conrad in the Radish Midlayer,

featuring longer sleeves and thumb loops for fluid climbing, balaclava hood that goes under the helmet, and chest pocket so Conrad’s glasses are always at hand

October / Staying warm on the summit in the Meru Shell and Shaffle Jackets. expedition leader Conrad Anker and team claim the first ascent that eluded over 30 previous expeditions

2012 Winter Gazette  

News Magazine for members