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Montreal Alpine Club and the Keene Farm

The Keene Farm is run by the Montreal Alpine Club (the holding name of the Alpine Club of Canada) and stands in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State.

The 105 acres of forested hills provide a large camping area, a cold brook to swim in and the log cabin sleeps up to 32 people. Built in the 1970s, it has served as the hub for climbers visiting the Adirondacks.

Keene Farm in winter

The Montreal Section of the ACC was founded by the Swiss couple John and Elizabeth Brett who spent many years visiting the Adirondacks in the 1950s. By the 1960s, the small section had grown and needed an overnight stay in the Adirondacks.

In 1966, a few members inquired about real estate in the Keene Valley. The section had less than $40 and only 40 members. Needing somewhere to stay between climbs, they visited farm that was for sale for only $4,000 U.S., the Canadian dollar was worth more at the time.

In order to buy the property, the Montreal and Ottawa section put up cash as loans. Members suggested the ACC purchase the land, but the ACC refused, which left ownership up in the air. Realtors suggested incorporating a non-profit company and the Montreal Alpine Club Inc. was born.

Inside the Keene Farm

Over the next few years, repairs were made to the farm house and new trails were built. Unfortunately, the old farm house burned down one winter night in the early 1970s.

This led to the construction of the current pre-fabricated log cabin. The surrounding forest has maple, oak, beech, basswood, red and white pine and spruce trees. The cabin overlooks the Ausable Valley and is open year-round. It has a wood stove for heat and newly installed solar panels for other power needs.

Nearby are dozens of rock and ice climbs and an extensive network of trails for rest-day hiking and biking. Great climbing can be found at Lake George, Indian Lake, Chapel Pond, Poke-O-Moonshine, Old Forge, Cranberry Lake and the Southern and Northern Mountains. Watch the short video below that highlights the local climbing.

The Keene Farm is the only ACC hut not in Canada and offers an experience unlike any hut north of the border. From the big trees to remote crags, it’s easy to see why climbers in Montreal were drawn to the area 50 years ago and will continue to visit for a long time.