The GMC Today
The GMC has always been about shared mountain experiences with friends old and new. 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 years or more. 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.
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.
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.
Each camp has different objectives but the focus is on moderate, accessible and spectacular peaks. The camps always provide access to glaciated terrain, rock and snow climbing in remote settings.
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.
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.
Who can attend the GMC ?
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).
Historic surprise on the summit
Front and back sides of a business card found in the cairn at
the summit of Grand Mountain.
Photo: Jeremy Mackenzie
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.