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2013 Mountaineering Camp: Rogers Pass

June 28-July 5, 2013

2013 Mountaineering Camp

10 youth:  Half guys; half gals – Half Scouts; half Venturers – Ages 11-18.

One week at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Asulkan Hut (7,000′) in Rogers Pass, Glacier National Park, B.C.

Three days of mountaineering training then……climb Youngs Peak (9,341’/2,847 m)!

This is their week in pictures…


We owe a very special “Thank You” to Parks Canada for allowing us to have this amazing week in Glacier National Park.


Vérèna:  Thanks for believing in this project!

Note:  Click on any photo below to start a full-screen slide show with captions.


Note: You can raise the resolution for each of these videos to 720p or 1080p to substantially improve their image quality!

BiPoLar AdRenaLine Edition

If you want to see all those photos (and more) blasted past your eyes to the tune of some rocking music, then give this video a try:

Here Comes Dinner!

Note:  The Scouts didn’t know that the helicopter was bringing them fresh, hot pizza for dinner.
We had only arrived at the high camp a few minutes earlier after a challenging hike up the mountain.  I love it when a plan comes together!


A 360 degree pan from the top of the Youngs Peak headwall as we descend back to the Asulkan Hut.


Meredith Faulkner’s Fast & Fun Video Recap of the 2013 Mountaineering Camp:

This is what we call “High Adventure”!



The ACC Presents Fred Beckey

February 26, 2013

The Mountaineer Scouts were guests of the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section, at their monthly social on Tuesday night.  The special guest speaker was the legendary Fred Beckey. Fred captivated the audience during a two hour slide and film retrospective of his over 70 years of climbing in North America. Fred turned 90 a few weeks ago. He says he’s on his way to Red Rocks, Nevada, for some rock climbing this spring and has plans for another trip to the Bugaboos this summer.

Here’s the ACC’s write up of him for this event:

“Fred Beckey will present highlights from his climbing adventures and first ascents. If you look in guide books for Mt. McKinley, Mt. Hunter, Mt. Deborah, Mt. Waddington, The Canadian Rockies, The Bugaboos, The Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Wind River Range, Desert Tower, Squamish, Mexico (etc, etc…) chances are you’ll see Fred Beckey listed, often as the first person to ascend a particular mountain or route. It’s also likely he’s written the book. Whether you are a mountaineer or a rock climber, Fred’s got something to say of interest to you. And if you’re going climbing, there’s a good chance he’ll hitch a ride to the crag, the mountain or the ice. On January 14th, at least according to a couple of websites, he turned 90. Come out and wish him a belated Happy Birthday!”

Note: Fred mentioned that he was first introduced to the mountains as a Boy Scout (that would have been during the 1930s).

It was a late night for the Scouts but this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a living legend:

Alpine Club of Canada Trip – Rogers Pass & The Bugaboos

“Sharpening The Saw”

Leaders Need to Have Some Fun Too!  –  July 29-August 4, 2012:

A week ago, I attended the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section’s trip to Rogers Pass & the Bugaboos for some hiking, scrambling and climbing.  Here are some of the highlights from that trip:

Note:  Click on a picture to start a full screen carousel carousel slide show of the pictures with captions.


A shakey cam 360 view of the area surrounding the ACC’s Asulkan Hut located at 6,900 feet at the south end of Rogers Pass, B.C.

The Bugaboos from Eastpost Spire from B Jody Lotzkar on Vimeo.

A shakey cam 360 of the Bugaboos taken from near the top of Eastpost Spire.

Medi-Vac in the Bugaboos from B Jody Lotzkar on Vimeo.

The B.C. Ambulance Service airlifted one of our team-mates out of the Bugaboos (from the landing pad beside the Conrad Kain Hut) after she was stricken with a perforated appendix (she collapsed with crippling abdominal pains just before dinner after suffering stomach flu-like symptoms for 24 hours).

Mount Matier – Sunday, June 10, 2012

Leaders Need to Sharpen Their Skillz Too! (Part 2*)

Scouter Jody first learned his mountaineering skills during the Ford and Carter administrations.  Suffice to say, retraining was high on his list of priorities for the year!

Accordingly, he applied for and was accepted into the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section’s coveted annual Basic Mountaineering (BM1) training program:

Weekend 1 – May 26-27….Rock Climbing at Smoke Bluffs, Squamish.
Weekend 2 – June 2-3……Glacier Travel and Safety on Mount Seymour, North Vancouver.
Weekend 3 – June 9-10….Climb Mt. Matier (9,131 ft/2,783 m), Joffre Lakes Provincial Park (40 km. NE of Pemberton).

Here are some of photos and stories from the course’s final challenge – climb Mt. Matier:

*See this link for Part 1.

Nearing the summit ridge on Mt. Matier (9,131 ft/ 2,783 m) in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park on Sunday morning
with the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section.


As we ascended the Northeast ridge of Matier we got a striking view of her sister peak, Joffre (8,927 ft/ 2,721 m) rising out of the clouds behind us.
All of the great peaks for miles in every direction around us appeared as islands scattered across a sea of clouds.


Earning every step on the way up.
Falling chunks of dislodged ice would fly past us from above and then disappear quietly into the soft blanket of cloud hiding the Matier and Anniversary glaciers far below (one chunk the size of a football hit me in the shoulder and partially spun me around – it was comforting to be wearing a helmet).  Naturally, we were on the “don’t fall” (or drop anything) plan that morning.


Looking east along the summit ridge.
Photo credit: Gillian P.


Looking west along the summit ridge.
Photo credit: Gillian P.


Climbing rope-mate John takes a moment at 9,000 ft. to enjoy the stunning view before we descend back down into the clouds.
There was little time to enjoy the moment, however, when we began hearing the roar of avalanches in the mountains below us.
As we were ascending, the sun had been cooking the slopes below through the fading morning cloud.
Once we descended far enough we discovered that our ascent route on the north side of the valley had been wiped out by avalanches and was no longer safe to use. By then, the south side of the valley had also begun continuously avalanching.
Ultimately, the decision was made to sit out the afternoon in a safe spot on an elevated rock bluff in the middle of the Anniversary Glacier and wait for at least five hours for the sun to go down and the north slope to harden up before finishing the journey back to our camp (which we could see about 3 kms. below us). It took a bit of ingenuity to devise snow melting “stills” to supply the team with the one necessity that we had all pretty much long depleted. Once we got the water production underway there was nothing to do but lay back and enjoy each other’s company during an enforced afternoon on the “beach” while we watched nature’s show of force as avalanche after avalanche crashed down the slopes on both sides of us.


Marooned in the middle of  “Avalanche Alley”.
♫  “Avalanches to the left of me…avalanches to the right. Here I am: stuck in the middle with you.”  ♫


Chillin’ in the middle of a giant reflector oven and enjoying the company of a great group of guys and gals!
Nothing left to do but hydrate and wait for the sun to go down (and, no, I didn’t burn my nose).
Once we felt the north slope was sufficiently firm, we double-timed it across the debris fields one rope team at a time.
It was a long day…
We had an “alpine start” at 3:30 am and did not get back to our camp at 5,400 ft. until after 8 pm.
We quickly packed up and began the long hike down the mountain and out to the cars by 9 pm.
Hiking through the dark with headlamps we reached the cars well after 11 pm and then began the 3 hour drive back to Vancouver.
I didn’t get to bed until 3:30 am.  Tired, sore and happy.


Here’s the last two teams making their way through the north side of “Avalanche Alley” as the sun is sets on Matier.
Use the size of the two rope teams going through the avalanche debris fields to judge the scale of the area.


Here’s a picture of Matier that I took after our last rope team crossed from the top of that rock formation in the middle of the glacier through the avalanche debris fields to safe ground (where I’m standing). By sitting tight for the afternoon we were acting at the maximum level of caution.
Many other groups would have opted to take their chances and make a run through the hazard zone.
There’s an old saying:
“There are many bold climbers and there are many old climbers but there are only a few old, bold climbers.”
Play safe and Be Prepared!


ACC Top Rope Anchor Building Course

Leaders Need To Sharpen Their Skillz Too!

I attended the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section’s “top rope” rock climbing “anchor building” course (including advanced instruction on belaying & rappelling techniques), Saturday and Sunday, April 28 & 29, 2012, at Smoke Bluffs Climbing Park in Squamish, B.C.  Now that the snow is gone…expect to see our Scouts stylin’ climbing helmets soon!

Day 1:  Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section, instructor Martin Siegert teaching the finer points of “top rope” anchor building (here showing how to extend the focal point of the anchor over the edge of the rock face to reduce wear on the rope) at “Neat and Cool”, Smoke Bluffs.

ACC Instructor Suzanne inspects the anchor our team built at the top of “Corn Flakes” (one of the many climbing routes available at “Neat and Cool”) before allowing us to rappel down.

No fear. Trista shows her confidence in the anchor that we built at the top of “Corn Flakes”. My turn next….

Trista “rapping” down the wall at “Neat and Cool” while Robert and ACC Instructor Ian look on.

Day 2: We switch crags and go to “Octopus’ Garden” at Smoke Bluffs for a more challenging top rope anchor building environment.

The trickiest anchor built this weekend!  Robert is now ready to “rapp” down the face after helping to build this anchor. To build it, he had rappel down to the bolts, clip in his personal safety line, unhook from the rope and hang by his safety until the anchor was established. Only after the anchor was set and the Instructor and other student had “rapped” down, was Robert able to reconnect his rappelling device and head down. All this took so long that Robert’s feet fell asleep while standing out there on the ledge. Ouch!

Instructor Martin goes into incredible detail regarding the capabilities, selection and care of climbing gear (climbing ropes, slings, cord, biners, etc.) to a very attentive audience. The day was perfect! The sun even came out for us.

Top belayer, Karen, watches as climber, Catherine, completes her climb under the watchful eye of Instructor Martin. Thanks for a truly excellent weekend Martin!

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