The Alpine Club of Canada's General Mountaineering Camp is held annually each year in a different, heli-accessed location within Canada's western ranges. The camp accommodates anyone and everyone looking to explore the mountains, from those just starting out to hardened life-long mountaineers.
We aim to give participants the opportunity to explore truly remote mountainous regions, guided or unguided, whilst retaining a comfortable and sociable setting which combine to make a truly great summer vacation!
It Begins With a Basecamp
The location of the GMC changes every year as we move around the Rockies and Interior Ranges of Alberta and British Columbia. The camp sites are always positioned to access great mountaineering objectives as well as amazing hiking and rock climbing. They are always different, always spectacular.
Negotiating a bergschrund
All camp equipment, along with the member’s personal climbing gear and dunnage is flown into the camp by helicopter. Camp guests are flown in to the camp most years but occasionally a close location allows for a hiking approach. Once in camp, guests are guided and assisted by our fun, capable and professional staff.
During daily outings, participants are guided by ACMG-certified guides and experienced Club members who lead climbs and provide on-going instruction in all aspects of mountain craft. There is also a camp doctor on site.
What Will I Do at the Camp?
Each camp has different objectives but the focus is on moderate, accessible and spectacular mountaineering peaks. The camps always provide access to glaciated terrain, rock and snow climbing in remote settings.
Not your regular hike
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 Climbing Committee plans a number of trips for the following day and posts sign-up sheets. The Committee assembles parties and leaders for each climb. With prior approval of the Climbing Committee, experienced members may form private climbing parties under their own leadership.
The locations of our camps are in wild, remote and largely unvisited corners of the Canadian mountains. Maintained trails are usually non-existent, but there are always opportunities to hike into amazing places that few people have gone before.
Hiking outings can be used as “off days” from the routine of early mornings and summit days and can be as ambitious or as casual as desired. They could involve climbing a hiking peak near camp or a short stroll followed by some time in the Tea Tent.
Hiking days are treated the same as mountaineering days, with outings supervised and approved by our camp staff. Longer outings may be guided.
Rock days at the GMC
The GMC is all about learning and refining skills and that includes rock climbing. In the days before our first guests arrive for the first week of camp, our staff will scout out and establish rock climbs on bluffs close to camp.
Like hiking days, rock climbing days are often a great way to break up the early mornings and sometimes long days on the glaciers and mountains.For some they’re the perfect way to round out a day between returning from a peak and when the supper bell rings.
Sample GMC Day
Early wake up horn blows for climbers with longer days ahead of them
4.30am: Early breakfast is served
5am: Rope teams leave camp for longer days/bigger objectives
6am: General Wake-up Call
6.30am: General Breakfast is served
7am: More rope teams leave camp for shorter days, cragging etc.
Through the day: In the field you will likely spend the day in a group with a Guide and/or amateur leaders. Ratios will vary depending to your chosen objective. Objectives may include prominent peaks in the area, nearby peaks and ridges, or curriculum fine-tune your knowledge and skills. Approaches to climbs may be lengthy with significant elevation gain, and will likely involve roped glacier travel. Many factors (including weather) will determine your groups’ success in reaching any summits. All-in-all the focus of the day is to have fun!
2-4pm: Rope teams arrive back at camp
2-6pm: Free time (showers, tea time, etc.), and the choice of objectives for the next day is posted
6pm: Supper is served
7.30pm: Buffet set out to make lunches for the next day
Where Do Registration Fees Go?
The costs of running such a large and remote camp are obviously extremely high. Participant fees go towards the cost of obvious things such as participant helicopter flights, food and guides. Less obvious costs include: permit applications, wages of office support staff, reccy'ing out locations, removing garbage etc.
Any money we make on the GMC is reinvested into services for members (after all the ACC is a not-for-profit)! These include things like handbooks and courses for volunteer trip leaders, various grants and bursaries such as the Jen Higgins Award for young, female adventurers and environmental initiatives such as the annual State of the Mountains report.
Happy GMCers in 2017!
Want More Information?
For more detail on the history of the GMC, see our GMC History Page
To find out more about this year's edition of the camp and to register click here