American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Alpine Club of North America, Canada

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1957

The Alpine Club of Canada. This was the Jubilee Year of the Club, which was founded in 1906. In consequence the annual summer camp was held at one of the historic sites connected with early Canadian mountaineering, at Glacier, British Columbia, in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains. This site, where the old original Glacier House stood, had the great advantage of easy accessibility for the old-time members, as it is only a little more than a mile from the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It also had the advantage of being a first class rock-climbing region. The good metamorphosed schists of the Selkirk peaks were a pleasant change from the friable shales and limestones of the Rockies. We were also blessed by two weeks of perfect weather— a rare occurrence in the Selkirks. The camp lasted from July 16 to 29- A total of 189 registered for the camp, including a number of original members and some who had attended the first camp 50 years before— a fine tribute to the longevity of mountaineers.

A great deal of climbing was done on all the nearby peaks, and the "big” peak of the region, Mount Sir Donald (10,818 feet), came in for a lot of attention. It was climbed by no less than eight parties, on as many different days, for the most part by the famed Northwest Ridge. The mountain was in splendid condition, which permitted one especially fine climb of the West Face, with descent by the Northwest Ridge. The participants were Dr. Jo Kato, of Edmonton, and Dolores LaChappelle.

We were most happy to welcome many of our American friends and members, including Ed Porter, Don Woods, and Henry Kingman and his son. Although the main campsite was low (4090 feet), excellent trails led in all directions, and one was always able to reach timberline without having to bushwhack—a great boon, as Selkirk bush is notorious.

As usual the Club also conducted a very successful ski camp at the Columbia Icefields during the Easter vacation. Conditions were average for the time of year; Winter ascents were made of Mount Wilcox by a party of four and of Snowdome (11,340 feet) by four ropes totaling 13 skiers. Snowdome is of special interest as it is the apex of the Canadian Rockies. Its slopes form a triple divide, with glaciers flowing to the Arctic, the Atlantic, and the Pacific basins. Unfortunately, high and very cold winds prevented this group from enjoying the wonderful panorama to the full.

During the 1956 climbing season our local sections have carried out extensive climbing programmes in their nearby mountains. The Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver sections are especially active in this regard. Vancouver Section members also took part this fall in the successful search and rescue operation carried out for a young Scotch climber who was lost on Mount Seymour for six days. Some of our members also took part in the big mountain rescue exercise organized by the Washington State Mountain Rescue Council at Snoqualmie Pass in June.

The Club records with deep regret the passing of our former American Vice-President, Captain Albert H. MacCarthy. As recently as last August "Mac” spent a few days at the Club House in Banff. He will be greatly missed, but his great record of outstanding first ascents, including the climbs of Mount Logan, Mount Robson, Bugaboo Spire and many others, will stand for all time.

E. R. Gibson, President

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