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Columbia Mountain Section is Newest for Alpine Club of Canada

The newest section of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), designated at the Club’s board meeting in late October, is based out of Revelstoke, B.C., a mountain town with deep roots in exploration and guiding. The following is a press release from the ACC.

The section will represent a hugely historically important mountain area and will fill in the space on the ACC membership map between our Okanagan (BC) and Rocky Mountain (Alberta) sections. In addition to Revy, the Columbia Mountains Section will service climbers, hikers and skiers from Golden to Salmon Arm and include the Caribou, Monashee, Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges.

We are happy to be able to grow the ACC family and proud to welcome the Columbia Mountains Section members.

Birthplace of Canadian Mountaineering

Upon the completion of The Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886, Rogers Pass (the chosen passage through the Selkirk Mountains) became an international hub for valley and mountain exploration. A key figure in the early mapping of the area was Arthur Oliver Wheeler who would later become the ACC’s first President. Wheeler was tasked with surveying work in the Pass in 1901, which he combined with his climbing experience and was able to produce the region’s first climbing guidebook in 1912, The Selkirk Mountains: A guide for Mountain Pilgrims and Climbers.

Mountaineering in “the Pass” was dominated early by the interests of many visiting European climbers, but difficult winter travel and an avalanche disaster in 1910 that killed 62 workers would stifle alpine activities for many years. Canadians would press on though, constructing the A.O. Wheeler Hut in 1946, and after the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway in 1962, Rogers Pass would see a resurgence of interest in climbing.

The town of Revelstoke is the centre for mountain enthusiasts in Rogers Pass, with an expanded list of mountain activities, now including backcountry skiing, mountain biking, mountaineering, alpine rock climbing and XC skiing.

Huts in Area

With the variety of terrain and activities in the area, it’s no surprise that the Pass is also home to a few ACC Huts.

Fairy Meadow and Great Cairn are primarily heli-accessed huts, north of Revelstoke, providing some of the best backcountry shelters for skiing in the winter.

The A.O. Wheeler Hut, Asulkan Cabin, Sapphire Col Hut and Glacier Circle Cabin all provide a variety of climbing, hiking and backcountry winter activities, with varied distances from the closest car lot depending on skill levels and commitment.

A little ways out from Rogers Pass, but still firmly in the range of the Columbia Mountains Section is the Conrad Kain Hut, home to the world-renowned alpine granite climbing.

“We’re very proud to watch the initiatives of our members in helping to develop the ACC across Canada – it only makes sense that we have a section at the heart of where it all began. As our mountaineering community grows a bit more every day, we look forward to seeing the Columbia Mountains Section grow as well and can’t wait to see what types of adventures they go on!”

The Columbia Mountains are made up of four large ranges containing many subranges:

Cariboo Mountains: Lunn Icefield, Mowdish Range, Premier Range, Vimy Ridge, Wavy Range
Monashee Mountains: Anstey Range, Christina Range, Gold Range, Jordan Range, Kettle River Range, Malton Range, Midway Range, Ratchford Range, Rossland Range, Scrip Range, Whatshan Range, The Pinnacles
Selkirk Mountains: Asulkan Range, Battle Range, Big Bend Ranges, Adamant Range, Sir Sandford Range, Windy Range, Bishops Range, Bonnington Range, Clachnacudainn , Range, Dawson Range, Duncan Ranges, Badshot Range, Goat Range, Hermit Range, Kokanee Range, Slocan Ranges, Lardeau Range, Nelson Range, Purity Range, Sir Donald Range, Valhalla Ranges, Ruby Range, Valkyr Range, Norns Range
Purcell Mountains: The Bugaboos Group, Carbonate Range, Dogtooth Range, Farnham Group, MacBeth Group, McGillivary Range, Moyie Range, Septet Range, Spillimacheen Range, Starbird Ridge, Commander Group, Stockdale Group, Toby Glacier, Truce Group, Yahk Range