Tent pads constructed on Mount Begbie. (contributed)

Tent pads constructed on Mount Begbie. (contributed)

Trailblazing: Revelstoke organization committed to improving Columbia Mountain trails

The Alpine Club of Canada has been a focal point for Canadian mountaineering since 1906

The Alpine Club of Canada Columbia Mountains Section has completed another project on the quest to making the trails in the mountains that surround us more suitable for public use.

The project, which has been two years in the making, saw new tent pads installed on the Mt. Begbie in addition to clearing the path and removing old outhouses.

On Sept. 13-14, six helicopter trips brought two groups of workers and four loads of lumber to construct the tent pads and brush the existing path.

In order to get clearance to build the pads, the team had to first sign the proper paperwork with Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.. The project was delayed until after the summer because of limited resources due to the wildfires in the province.

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“A lot has to happen before you can go up there and assemble,” said Ben Wilkey, a Revelstoke resident and member of the Columbia Mountains Section of the ACC.

According to Wilkey, the hike to the tent pads takes about three hours if bringing an overnight pack, much shorter if you’re just going up in running shoes.

“How cool is it to stare at that peak, and be able to go up there and spend the night,” said Wilkey. “And climb it? Even better.”

The Alpine Club of Canada is a Canada-wide organization that was founded 125 years ago, with 25 different sections across the country who’s members are passionate about climbing, hiking and skiing in alpine environments. The Columbia Mountains section in Revelstoke however is fairly new, founded in 2017.

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“Rogers Pass is the birthplace of mountaineering, so for us to take this long to get a Revelstoke section going is pretty ironic, in my mind,” said Wilkey.

According to Wilkey, he and the approximately 370 other members of the local section look to provide camaraderie, mentorship and opportunity to those interested in everything mountaineering.

Wilkey says that interest in mountaineering has gone up over the last few years, with membership slowly accelerating in the Columia Mountains section over the last two years.

Upcoming projects for the Columbia Mountains sector include: adding a seven more tent pads to Mt. Begbie, this time even further along the trail towards the summit, adding bear-proof storage cabinets, adding signage, and then moving on to Mt. McRae to add all the same amenities to that trail.

“I’ve got 15 years of work here,” Wilkey laughed.

The Columbia Mountains section is welcoming new members who are willing to donate their time to the local mountains and trails. According to Wilkey , anyone who has a skill set that could help the group would be a valuable asset.

To learn more about the Alpine Club of Canada and to get involved, visit alpineclubofcanada.ca.

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