The General Mountaineering Camp - an Overview

Mountain Hardwear sponsors the General Mountaineering Camp and we thank them for their assistance. Click here for more information on this year's edition of the GMC at Westfall Glacier. Please review our GMC FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions on the camp.

What's the GMC?
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.

Each week our staff of professional guides, cooks and camp staff welcome 30 guests. We teach mountain skills, climb mountains, play on the glaciers, eat great food and celebrate being in the mountains. We've been doing this since 1906.

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.

Hiking Days

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

Rock Climbing

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.

Where Do Registration Fees Go?

The costs of running such a large and remote camp are extremely high. Participant fees go towards things such as participant helicopter flights, food, guides, permit applications, wages of office support staff, reccy'ing out locations, removing garbage etc. 

Any money we make on the GMC above these costs is reinvested into services for members including things like handbooks and courses for volunteer trip leaders, 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.

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

Happy GMCers in 2017!

Past GMCs Gallery

  • Beautiful location, easy access to all routes, lots of variety for trips to satisfy differing levels of motivation day-to-day.
  • The attitude from the guides and camp staff was infectious and they were all very inspiring.
  • There were several class 3 + 4 climbs close to the camp and excellent starters for my daughter.
  • It was a perfect week!
  • I’m addicted to GMC!
- Past GMC Participants-