Canada’s oldest outdoor club has created a new section in Revelstoke called the Columbia Mountains.
“It makes sense because this is the birthplace of mountaineering in Canada,” says Karla Kuharic, the section’s new president.
The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) is an amateur athletic association that has been a focal point for mountaineering in Canada since its founding in 1906. There are 24 regional sections across Canada from Newfoundland to the Yukon. The second newest section created was last year in Saskatchewan. The club has almost 15,000 members across Canada.
The Columbia Mountains was established in October and covers a large area, including the Purcell, Monashee, Selkirk and Caribou mountains.
“And all the communities between,” says Kuharic.
The club was co-founded by Arthur Oliver Wheeler, who served as its first president. In recognition, the club opened the A.O. Wheeler hut in 1947, four km southwest of Rogers Pass. There are 36 huts nationwide.
The club has been a vital part of Canada’s mountain scene for over a hundred years.
“The Alpine Club of Canada has been there for two-thirds of the existence of Canada,” says Toby Harper-Merrett, VP of sections at the Alpine Club of Canada.
Although Revelstoke is a mountain community with historical connections to the Alpine Club of Canada, its never had it’s own chapter. At least until now.
“I think it has to do with timing. Now that Revelstoke is booming, it’s time to introduce the club,” says Kuharic.
The seeds for the idea were planted this summer says Kuharic when she was climbing in the Bugaboos with the Calgary section.
“I was asked why there isn’t a section in this area and the question stuck with me,” says Kuharic.
She reached out to the Revelstoke community, saw there was interest and got a board of directors.
“And four months later we were approved.”
The Alpine Club of Canada is involved in many outdoor activities, such as climbing, hiking, mountaineering, backpacking and biking. They also teach courses and provide guided mountain adventures, such as AST 1 & 2 and introduction courses to skiing and mountaineering.
The Columbia Mountains section says they want to provide youth and family trips, mentorship programs, women-specific trips, socials, trail developments and even establish a new hut in the area.
“This section will allow individuals, youths, and families to have a safe club to explore different mountain activities and to meet like-minded adventures,” says Kuharic.
However, they are currently in the midst of recruitment and are looking for general members, trip organizers and ACMG mountain guides. Most trips will be lead by volunteers.
Clubs like the Alpine Club of Canada are important says Harper-Merrett because it provides opportunities for the community to take advantage of the region they live in.
“If you moved to Revelstoke in the last 15 years, it’s probably because you enjoy the mountains.”
There are many reasons people join the club says Harper-Merrett, such as the desire to be a part of historical Canadian mountain culture.
“We are known as the keeper of mountain culture in Canada.”
For more information or if you wish to join the Columbia Mountains section, you can go to their website: https://acccolumbiamountains.com/.