General Mountaineering Camp
The General Mountaineering Camp (GMC) has been an Alpine Club of Canada tradition since 1906. While the numbers of participants, locations and certain practices have changed over the last almost 100 years, the mandate behind the GMC is still the same.
The 2014 GMC will be located in the Scotch Peaks in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia.
In 1906, almost 100 Club members (all at once!) attended the first GMC at Yoho Pass, British Columbia. They climbed, explored and learned about their mountain environment every day. They changed into their Sunday best for the evening meals and socializing, then retired to canvas tents in preparation for another early morning start. A quote from the 1907 Canadian Alpine Journal states "No lady climbing, who wears skirts, will be allowed to take a place on a rope, as they are a distinct source of danger to the entire party. Knickerbockers or bloomers with puttees or gaiters and sweater will be found serviceable and safe." On Sunday, a church service was followed by the ACC's Annual General Meeting. Entertaining and charming accounts of the ACC’s first General Mountaineering Camp can be found in these articles from the 1907 Canadian Alpine Journal.
These days, as it has always been, the location of the GMC changes every year. The volunteer GMC Committee always finds the perfect location that provides something for everyone. Nowadays, the GMC is attended by 31 members per week for five weeks. "Sunday best" dress for dinner and socializing is now optional (and rare!), but early morning starts are still the tradition. Canvas tents and wooden ice axes have been upgraded to rip-stop nylon and titanium. Members wear shorts and poly-pro instead of suit jackets and "knickerbockers". Church services are no longer performed, and the Club's Annual General Meeting is held elsewhere. We still climb, explore, learn and share mountain stories everyday.
The GMC is about climbing mountains with old and new friends. It is about learning mountain craft. It is about telling and listening to stories. It is about meeting and climbing with people that are new to the mountains, as well as those who have made the mountains their lives for sixty or more years. Whether you are an experienced mountaineer, or someone just beginning to try your skills in the mountains, you will have a grand time at the GMC.
All camp equipment, along with the member's personal climbing gear and dunnage is flown into the camp by helicopter. Depending on the location of the camp, members themselves may be flown in, they may need to hike in, or they may have the option of doing either. Once in camp, members are tended to by our fun, capable and professional staff. During daily outings, participants will benefit from the services of ACMG-certified full and assistant mountain guides who lead climbs and provide on-going instruction in all aspects of mountain craft. Amongst the camp staff are a contingent of amateur leaders, comprised of experienced Club members who volunteer their services and help lead climbs throughout the week. There is also a camp doctor on site.
All climbing and related activities are planned and organized daily by a Climbing Committee, made up of the camp manager, the guides and the amateur leaders. Each evening, the Committee plans a number of trips and posts sign-up sheets. Camp participants then write in their first and second choices. The Committee then reviews the sign up sheets, assembles parties and assigns leaders to them. With prior approval of the Climbing Committee, experienced members may form private climbing parties under their own leadership.
The GMC welcomes all Alpine Club of Canada members, 16 years of age or older, novice to expert. A wide range of objectives are available, depending on member's ability, fitness and length of day desired. Objectives include everything from scrambling to advanced rock, snow and/or ice climbs. Introductory and intermediate skill reviews are offered on snow, rock and ice (depending on available terrain).
An ACC tradition since 1906
The Alpine Club of Canada. All rights reserved.
|VISION: Preserving, practicing and promoting Canadian mountain culture and self-propelled alpine pursuits.
Préserver, pratiquer et promouvoir la culture alpine canadienne et les activités non motorisées en montagne.