Mountain Leadership Course – Summer 2017

Dates & Price

  • Adventure Dates: July 29 - Aug 5, 2017
  • Adventure Rates: $995 + tax
  • Submission Deadline : May 1, 2017
  • Information Package: Download Info Pack

The North Face supports our Leadership Program and we thank them for their assistance.

Mountain Leadership Course from the ACC and The North Face

TNF Leadership Course. Photo by Matt Reynolds

Mountain leadership development is part of The Alpine Club of Canada’s mandate. Hundreds of volunteers give of their time at both the Section and National levels to ensure other ACC members have a safe and enjoyable time in the mountains.

Twice annually (winter and summer), The North Face and The Alpine Club of Canada offer a Mountain Leadership Course for activity organizers from all ACC sections, in recognition of the leadership training needs of these tireless and invaluable volunteers. The principle objective of these courses is to empower ACC volunteers by enhancing their ‘soft’ leadership skill sets. Through alpine environments and technical travel, these leadership courses emphasize the ‘human-factor’ in leaders’ decision-making, applicable to ACC activities across Canada.

Teaching Leadership Skills


Anchor work. Photo by Matt Reynold

The focus of this course will be to identify and exercise key leadership skills in a summer mountaineering environment. Through adventure, planning, and practice, the objective is to develop each individual’s capabilities, covering a broad range of leadership skills, with emphasis on the following:

  • Rope handling
  • Route planning, selection and finding
  • Navigation
  • Multi-pitch systems
  • Rescue systems
  • Group dynamics, interaction and management
  • Emergency situation management


Please note the course does not cover basic climbing skills or first aid.

Conditions permitting, the majority of the daylight hours will be spent actively in the field, building skills and techniques. In the evenings – after dinner and a bit of relaxation – informal presentations and group discussions of the above topics will be held. Based on skills and experience in previous adventures and trip leadership, it is expected that participants will be able to share contributions to these discussions.

Participants should be ready to plan, lead and co-ordinate all aspects of trips in the field. This will be an intensive, thought-provoking course with lots of learning for everybody!

Albert Icefield GMC

The 2017 Summer Mountain Leadership Course will take place during the 4th week of the 2017 Albert Icefield- General Mountaineering Camp in the Southern Selkirks of British Columbia. Base camp will be situated near the Albert and Primrose Icefields near rock slabs, snow slopes and impressive mountains. Situated between Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks. The selection of peaks and routes accessible from the camp is outstanding including Mt. Justice, Mt. Virtue, Campion Pk, Primrose Pk, Cassiope Pk.

The map associated with this location is 82N/4 Illecillewaet. Plus we are also making a custom area map.

Getting to Camp

This year’s camp will be staged out of Golden, B.C. from where participants will drive approximately 1 hour to the helicopter staging area along the Trans Canada Hwy to the Albert Canyon area. A complimentary shuttle bus is included for everyone attending the GMC this year. From the staging area participants will be flown by helicopter to our base camp. More details are contained in the downloadable information package (see Course Materials, below).

Camp Sponsorship

The ACC’s Leadership Program is sponsored annually by The North Face. We thank them for their generous assistance and their ongoing commitment to the training of the ACC’s amateur trip leaders. Without programs like these, developing leaders face a steep challenge of furthering their skills and development in mountainous environments.

Camp Itinerary

  • July 29 – 7 am: Meet at Kicking Horse River Lodge, check in with ACC, drive to staging area, fly into camp. Meet with Camp Manager upon arrival
  • July 30 – Aug 4: Climbing and leadership training at the GMC
  • August 5 – Fly out from camp

Course Materials


TNF Leadership Course. Photo by Matt Reynolds

Download the following documents to prepare for this course:

Gear, Food, Lodging


  • Helicopter transport to and from the GMC basecamp
  • Shared-tent accommodation at the GMC basecamp
  • All meals starting with supper on Day 1 and ending with lunch on Day 8
  • Guiding and instruction throughout the week
  • All group technical gear

Participants Must Provide

  • Transportation to and from the staging area (carpooling will be encouraged)
  • Breakfast and lunch on Day 1
  • Supper and accommodation on Day 8
  • Personal gear (see equipment list)

How to Apply

Application Process

  • Completed application form – Please use the Online Application Form.  By submitting this form, one copy will automatically be sent to the National Office. This must be done by midnight May 1.
  • Short letters of reference from two climbing partners who can attest to your skills and experience. One must be an ACMG guide, Camp Manager or Section Volunteer Leader. References (including name, relationship, and email address) should send their letters directly to These must be received by midnight May 1.
  • Section endorsement – your Section Executive should also send their endorsement of your application directly to by midnight May 1. The requests for endorsements should be made to all sections by April 25 to allow adequate time for response. All section endorsements must use the Endorsement Template.

Please ensure that your application is complete, and that your letters of reference have been submitted. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

If you have been selected for one of the spots on the Mountain Leadership Course, you will be notified no late than  May 31, and you must complete and return documents including the ACC’s Model Release and Waiver of Liability form as a condition of registration. Payment for this course will be required at your earliest convenience. This form will be sent out to candidates who have been selected. Participants will not be allowed to attend the course if the completed forms are not received prior to the commencement of camp.

Selection Criteria

This leadership course is designed for those members who already have some climbing experience, and may have taken some related courses. The objective of the Mountain Leadership Course is to provide leadership training for our section activity organizers. It should be emphasized that this course is designed to compliment, not replace, technical or leadership training courses offered at the local level; rather, it is an exceptional opportunity for participants from across the country to share a focused learning program.

The following criteria are used when assessing applications:

  • Applicants must submit a complete application, including all requested references and section endorsement;
  • Applicants must have the appropriate basic technical skills and abilities to participate safely in the course and travel through the terrain under professional ACMG guidance;
  • Applicants should be active, contributing members of the ACC, and express a commitment to organizing section activities once they’ve completed the Mountain Leadership Course.

Within these guidelines, the committee strives to balance participants’ representation of different ACC sections

Level of Difficulty

The focus of the ACC Mountain Leadership Course is to provide training for our active section activity organizers. Applicants need to have organized ACC trips and demonstrated the pertinent skills. Participants should be fit, strong and have confidence in their basic abilities. We can’t stress enough the need for a good level of fitness: participants must be prepared to spend long, consecutive days in the field, travelling through alpine terrain. In the evenings, participant attendance is expected at presentations and group discussions on various leadership topics. For those individuals who live at lower elevations (less than 1,000 m/3,300 ft), we recommend that you arrive in the mountains a few days before the camp to do some hiking or climbing on your own. You will be living at and above 2,120 m/7,000 ft for the week.

Summer Mountain Leadership Course 2017 Guides

  • Cyril Shokoples

    Cyril Shokoples

    Cyril began his career as an outdoor professional 30 years ago. His professional mountain guiding began a quarter century ago and he is an internationally certified mountain guide. He is a past president of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, honorary member of The Alpine Club of Canada, and has received distinguished service awards from the North West Mountaineering Club, The Alpine Club of Canada and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He was the coordinator of Prehospital Care programs at the Alberta Vocational College where he trained Emergency Medical Technicians and developed the Parks Emergency Responder course for National Park wardens. He still delivers that course all across Canada and teaches Wilderness Emergency Care to mountain guides. Cyril trains the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technicians in Mountain Rescue and is one of the primary instructors on the ACC summer and winter Mountain Leadership courses.

  • Matt Reynolds

    Matt Reynolds

    Matt Reynolds is an internationally recognized mountain guide, certified by the ACMG. He began climbing as a teenager in 1988 and started work professionally as a climbing guide in 1997. He currently works in the mechanized guiding industry in the winter as the guiding manager for Cariboo Snowcat Skiing. In the summer Matt works with the Adventure Studies Program at Thompson Rivers University. He operates his own guiding business, and has been working for the Alpine Club of Canada’s General Mountaineering Camp for the past 5 seasons. Matt has a passion for bringing mountains, adventure and people together.