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Watch Film on Historic 1967 Kluane Centennial Expedition

In 1967, the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) went to Kluane National Park with a group of climbers. The expedition was part of the Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition (YACE), a big outdoor adventure to celebrate Canada’s centennial.

The trip brought together federal, provincial and territorial funding to support the hundreds of climbers. In the end, 39 climbs were done in the St. Elias Range, including 27 first ascents.

Stan Rosenbaum, Hans Weber and Klaus Boerger on Centennial Peak. Photo Fips Broda

The climbers named features, mountains and routes during their trip. One roped team to note was that of the Mount Saskatchewan team, which included Helen Butling, ACC western vice-president from B.C, Gertrude Smith from Vancouver and Wendy Teichmann and Andrea Rankin from Montreal.

As stated by PearlAnn Reichwein in her paper Expedition Yukon 1967: Centennial and the Politics of Mountaineering in Kluane, “Whether they climbed together with feminist intent went unstated, but an all-women’s rope was an implicitly feminist way to climb.” Read the full paper here.

Reichwein concluded her study by noting, “The YACE alpine ascents were not an innovation in the sport of alpine mountaineering, nor did they reach for new technical feats, but as a mass performance they were a major national sporting event with strong nationalistic overtones of achievement in the north.

“The ACC played an energetic role in 1967. Concerted alpine ascents of this kind were unusual in the 1960s, particularly far from urban centres.”

The ACC continues to play an important role in Canadian climbing. Follow them on Instagram below.