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Alpine Club of Canada, 1951

Alpine Club of Canada, 1951. It had been hoped to hold the annual summer camp in the French Military Group (Kananaskis area) in 1951. Intensive reconnaissance failed to find any campsite that was sufficiently close to the main climbing and at the same time sufficiently accessible from rail and highway. It was necessary to compromise on the better known but nevertheless very well liked Lake O’Hara area, in the Lake Louise Group.

The camp, attended by about 150 members and visitors, was very successful; it produced a phenomenal amount of climbing, thanks to the presence of two professional Swiss guides and to good weather and good conditions on the peaks. Just about everything in sight—literally—was climbed, most of the peaks more than once. Our friends in Chateau Lake Louise had a great thrill through the telescope—daily parties in plain sight on the summit ridge. It was not possible, however, to climb the ridge throughout the period of the camp; and many of the earlier climbs had to be done from the W. side, following the ridge only in the last mile or so. In the latter part of the camp, the ridge was in excellent condition and of course provided a much more interesting climb; during the same period, Hungabee was in good condition and was climbed on three successive days. Lefroy, Biddle, Huber, Odaray, Park, Schaeffer, Wiwaxy, Yukness, Cathedral (a long trek from camp) were also climbed, and much instruction was given in rock and snow work. Ringrose and Glacier Peak were avoided on account of rotten rock and avalanches, respectively. Mitre was climbed in stride, on the two-day, five-pass trip round to Paradise Valley and back.

The year has seen several reconnaissances, and others are in view. It is the policy of the A. C. C. to plan its camps well in advance. Reconnaissances, apart from that of the French Group already mentioned, were negative in the region of the upper Chaba River, leading to Mt. Quincy and others, and in the Toby Creek area, in the Purcells, where it was hoped we might enter new ground, different from the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers where our 1928 camp was and the Bugaboos where we were in 1946.

For 1952 we will camp at Mt. Assiniboine, with an outlying camp to reach Eon and Aye, we hope, as well as lesser peaks like Alcantara, Brussilof, Gloria, Aurora. Meantime, reconnaissance will be carried out in the headwaters of the Whirlpool with a view to camping in the Scott Glacier area; and also in the Kinbasket River area, leading to the southern and western drainage of the Clemenceau Ice Field and Mt. Tsar. Could we but have a road to Fortress Pass, to camp in the Chaba, leading to some fine peaks, would be easy.

There were a few private expeditions of note, the major one being that undertaken by the Vancouver Section of the Club, in the Badshot Range. Some good news is that there may be, eventually, a road over Moberly Pass, bringing us close under Mt. Sir Sandford and within reach, by high-level trails, of the Adamant Group. We hope this is not wishful thinking.

The Sections were active as usual; but, in the case of the West Coast, activities were curtailed during the summer by the excessively dry weather. During this time travel in the forests was closed, on account of fire hazard. Vancouver carried out a number of “Search and Rescue” schemes, training service men in mountain techniques. Edmonton and Calgary, besides their considerable climbing programs, did a good deal of skiing; and the two sections collaborated at the Columbia Ice Field for summer climbing and instruction. Ottawa and Montreal also collaborated, and considerable rock climbing training was undertaken for Club members as also to assist the McGill University Outing Club. As in the West, skiing was much in evidence.

In New Zealand, Dr. Noel Odell and Mrs. Odell were active in the Southern Alps and attended the jubilee celebrations of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

A number of A. C. C. members visited Europe during the summer, including the Alps.

The ski camp in the Little Yoho Valley was a success; and all skiers look forward to the 1952 camp, at Mt. Assiniboine, which will be held in the last week of March, using air-lift.

Scientific work has received attention, and the Scientific Section of the C. A. J. is being resuscitated. “Graduating Climbs” have been revised both because of the steadily improving standard of climbing and the steadily widening scope of knowledge of the Canadian mountains. Safety has also received attention, and we have agreed to cooperate with the A. A. C. in this respect. Plans are in train to organize rescue party drills, to cut delays to a minimum in getting parties going.

Unfortunately, it has been necessary to raise subscriptions slightly, owing to the increased cost of all services. The increase is offset, however, in the case of families, by the introduction of a “family subscription” at a reduced rate, provided husband and wife are content to receive only one copy of Club publications between them instead of one each as in the past.

A. O. Wheeler