The General Mountaineering Camp, or GMC as it is known, 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.
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. Read the 1906 GMC report PDF.
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.
View the complete list of GMC locations since 1906 below.
A very exciting discovery was made on Week 5 of the 2010 GMC when Jeremy Mackenzie and his group made the summit of Grand Mountain. Tucked in the cairn was a small, rusty tin that appeared to hold the summit registry. When they opened it they discovered only three entries inside — one from 1976, one from 1955 and finally a business card from Howard Palmer. On it he and E. Holway recorded the first ascent of the peak in August of 1910.
It was a pretty special moment to realize that they had arrived on top within a couple of weeks of the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of this peak! Those guys were tough! The group recorded their names in the registry (and those of the other successful GMCers form earlier in the week), and then returned the tin and its contents to the cairn.
|1906||Yoho Valley||1907||Paradise Valley||1908||Rogers Pass||1909||Lake O’Hara||1910||Consolation Lakes|
|1911||Sherbrooke Lake||1912||Vermillion Pass||1913||Cathedral Mountain||1914||Upper Yoho Valley||1915||Ptarmigan Lake|
|1916||Healy Creek||1917||Cataract Valley||1918||Paradise Valley||1919||Yoho (Victory Camp)||1920||Mt Assiniboine|
|1921||Lake O’Hara||1922||Palliser Pass||1923||Larch Valley||1924||Mount Robson||1925||Logan Expdition|
|1926||Tonquin Valley||1927||Little Yoho||1928||Lake of Hanging Glaciers||1929||Rogers Pass||1930||Maligne Lake|
|1931||Prospector Valley||1932||Mount Sir Donald||1933||Paradise Valley||1934||Chrome Lake||1935||Lake Magog|
|1936||Fryatt Creek||1937||Yoho||1938||Columbia Icefields||1939||Goodsirs||1940||Glacier Lake|
|1941||Glacier, BC||1942||Consolation Lakes||1943||Little Yoho||1944||Paradise Valley||1945||Eremite Valley|
|1946||Bugaboo Creek||1947||Glacier Circle||1948||Peyto Lake||1949||Freshfields||1950||Maligne Lake|
|1951||O’Hara Meadows||1952||Assiniboine||1953||Hooker Icefield||1954||Goodsirs||1955||Robson|
|1956||Selkirks (Glacier)||1957||Moat Lake||1958||Mummery Glacier||1959||Bugaboos||1960||Fryatt Creek|
|1961||Goodsirs||1962||Maligne Lake||1963||Eremite Valley||1964||French Military Group||1965||Glacier Lake|
|1966||Mt. Assiniboine||1967||Steel Glacier (YACE)||1968||Lake O’Hara||1969||Freshfields||1970||Moat Lake|
|1971||Farnham Creek||1972||Fryatt Creek||1973||Glacier Lake||1974||Mount Robson||1975||Farnham Creek|
|1976||Freshfields||1977||Moat Lake||1978||Scott-Hooker||1979||Glacier Lake||1980||Clemenceau|
|1981||Fairy Meadow||1982||Vowell Glacier||1983||Wheeler Hut||1984||Glacier Circle||1985||Wates-Gibson|
|1986||Fairy Meadow||1987||Farnham Creek||1988||Mt. Robson||1989||Fryatt Creek||1990||Vowell/Bugaboos|
|1991||Farnham Creek||1992||Fairy Meadow||1993||Scott-Hooker||1994||Elk Lakes||1995||Clemenceau|
|1996||Icefall Brook||1997||Vowell Glacier||1998||Mt. Alexandra||1999||Moby Dick||2000||Fairy Meadow|
|2001||WIndy Creek||2002||Trident Group||2003||Snowy Pass||2004||Icefall Brook||2005||Moby Dick|
|2006||Premier Range||2007||Mt. Alexandra||2008||Vowell Glacier||2009||Trident/Neptune Group||2010||Battle Brook|
|2011||Tsar-Somervell||2012||Mt. Sir Sandford||2013||Scotch Peaks||2014||Frenchman Cap||2015||Stockdale|
|2016||Sorcerer||2017||Albert Icefield||2018||Hallam Glacier||2019||Wrong/Westfall||2021||Mt Mummery|
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