2018 Section Camp – Mount Alexandra

All photos courtesy of Darren Foltinek

Alexandra, Rockies

What is Section Camp?

Section camp is a self-guided, self-catered, camp that the Calgary section runs in the mountains of BC or Alberta each summer.  This year we will be running it for 4 weeks, each week will have up to 12 participants who helicopter into the base camp and climb for a week, before heading out.  The section provides a base camp, with 2 large tents for cooking and gear, stoves, tables, chairs, a toilet (even a shower!), climbing ropes, radios and a Sat phone in case of emergencies.  Participants bring their personal climbing gear, a tent, sleeping bag and all their food for the week.  Everyone is expected to help with camp chores, which can include setting up and taking down the camp, sorting gear beforehand, cleaning, fetching water and the delightful task of digging the privy.  If you want a more full service camp, including catering and being guided, we suggest you attend national’s GMC.

Like last year we will be running an AMP instructional week provided by PeakStratagem guides.   The intention of this is to mentor section members to improve confidence to operate independently in the mountains.  There are more details below. 

Where is Section Camp?

This year’s camp will be located at a spectacular campsite perfectly located for Mount Alexandra, in the Rockies.  Alexandra is one of the 11,000er’s, and is remote and difficult to approach on foot, being surrounded by the ‘nastiest bush’ of any of the 11,000’s.  This makes it a perfect objective to helicopter into for section camp.

In addition to Alexandra, there is a large selection of mountaineering objectives, including the rarely climbed Queen’s Peak, and:

  • Mt Spring Rice
  • Coral Pk
  • Queant
  • Mt Fresnoy
  • Whiterose,
  • Whirlwind Pk
  • Rose Petal
  • Osprey and
  • Fool’s Gold

More information on routes, including details of the camp, potential climbs and maps, can be found on the ColWest site.  The Section’s Darren Foltinek also has an excellent Blog from the last time the section camp was at this location in 2011 and there is a write up of the 2011 camp on the section’s website here.

Base:

The plan is to camp at the headwaters of the South Rice Brook in a lovely Alpine meadow near three small lakes, at approximately 2100m GR 834 586 .  The approximate location of the camp is shown here.

Night panorama, looking east towards Alexandra and Whiterose, taken around 11:00pm.

Staging Area:  

The precise staging area is still to be finalised with Alpine Helicopters, dependent on the condition of the logging roads this year.  However it will be somewhere on the Bush road, on the east side of the Kinbasket Lake, approximately 120 km from Golden.

Maps:

82 N/14 – Rostrum Peak

83 C/3 – Columbia Icefield

Guide books:

The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies, Bill Corbett, 2nd Edition (p. 147 – 149)

When?

We will be running 4 consecutive camps, each 7 days long, Saturday to Saturday, on the 14 July, 21 July, 28 July and 4 of August.

Alpine Mentorship Program Instructional Week

Week 3, commencing on July 28, will be an instructional week similar to other Alpine Mentorship events.  There is an option to be self catered or join the team for PeakEATS breakfast and dinners (AMP discount is $25/person/day.  Total for the week would be $150.)

Mentorship will be provided  by PeakStratagem guides and will be run similarly to other Alpine Mentorship Program (AMP) events.  The goal of the AMP program is to develop a stronger base of mountaineering leaders and participants in the Alpine Club. For more details on the AMP program refer to this page.

The instructional week will be suited to:

  • AMP Level 2, “advanced beginners” to “intermediate” mountaineers who have done a handful of alpine and lots of scrambling or ski mountaineering trips in order to allow them to move from PD to AD level.
  • AMP Level 3, intermediate members to increase their confidence in leading alpine trips at the PD+ and AD level.

Don’t expect to be guided up peaks this week.  This is a mentorship program.  You will be coached on how to prepare for and lead big mountain trips in complex terrain.  This includes trip planning, route finding, crevasse rescue, terrain recognition, weather, group dynamics and leading a rope team.  There will be informal ‘class room’ sessions in the evening, discussing the day, learning lessons and planning the next day.  Be prepared to actively participate in these.  Depending on the experience of the group, the first couple of days may be more instructional.  As the week progresses expect to be leading an independent rope team.  This is a great opportunity for those who want to practice trip leading, but may not have had the confidence to do so previously on their own.  

A good article on the instructional week can be found here, to give you an idea what it’s all about.

Everything else is the same as the other weeks of the camp.  Expect to be an active participant in the day to day running of the camp. 

How Much:

The cost for the self-guided weeks is $570. This is based on worst case scenario (i.e. not being able to share heli shuttle costs + some contingency flights have been budgeted), also on only 9 paying participants per week, please note Camp Manager’s + Camp Coordinator’s heli fees are covered in this cost. Once your application form is reviewed and the Camp Manager for your chosen week notifies you are confirmed on the trip full payment is required before you are moved from the wait list. Final costs will be calculated after the end of the camp and refunds given, if appropriate.

The cost for the AMP is $1185 (an additional amount of $150 would need to be paid to PeakStratagem if you take up the PeakEats option)

We understand that circumstances can change and the unforeseen can occur, but once cashed, all payments are non-refundable.  Cancellation insurance can be purchased through the ACC National HQ in Canmore.

Who:

For all self-guided weeks we’ll have 12 (max) ACC Members per week.   The instructional week will have up to 10 ACC Members.

The camp is self-guided, self-catered and self-managed.  Most, if not all, routes will involve glacier travel, so participants should have knowledge of crevasse rescue techniques.

Whilst the Camp is self-guided, we can accommodate some less experienced team members, so please email the section camp coordinator if you’re not certain, to discuss your application.

After June 1 the camp will be opened up to other Sections.

How to Sign Up:

Please sign-up for the week you’re interested in on the club calendar and download the application form.  Please email your completed form back to the coordinator (clareormerod@hotmail.co.uk ).   She’ll review it and send it to the relevant Camp Manager/s. Also feel free to email with any questions you may have. The Camp Manager for your chosen week will review your application and contact you to let you know if you are on the trip. The full payment must be made before you are moved off the wait list and confirmed on the trip.