Interview of your dedicated ACC Board members – Juergen Schmidt

Interview of your dedicated ACC Board members – Juergen Schmidt
November 10, 2018 Nathalie Drotar

This month you will get to know your section Treasurer a bit better and finally put a face to a name and generic email you see when signing-up and needing to pay for courses.. don’t hesitate to shake hands when you see him at our next Social!

Hi Juergen, so how long have you been a member of the Alpine Club and/or Calgary Section and what motivated you to become a member at the time?

I became a member of the Alpine Club and Calgary Section in March 2011. My son’s Cub Scout group stayed at the Canmore clubhouse and I got a membership after checking out the displays, mission of the Club and its offerings. I have always been impressed with the Club’s mission and purpose and am happy to contribute whatever skills I have.

What started your connection with the mountain world?

I was born and raised in Calgary and began resort skiing at the old age of 11; I was hooked instantly. I ski-bummed the winter of ‘74 in Banff at the old Timberline Lodge (now Juniper Hotel) and had some insights to other mountain pursuits besides resort-skiing, but I just didn’t make the right connections to start climbing or back-country skiing. I saw a few of the mountain guides’ brochures for climbing trips that piqued my interest, but I was broke. I feel that that was during the Dark Ages of avalanche knowledge, so the public perception that only wild and crazy dudes did those things was prevalent. And, ya, I didn’t want to freak out my Mom.

Do you have favorite activities in the mountains?

I’ve been mostly a valley guy, so far. Let’s see where this goes in the next few years. Any time in the mountains is a bonus, whether for sport, wildlife study or inhaling the scent of the forest-my aromatherapy.

Have you visited different mountain ranges around the world, where and when?

Yup. The Alps in ’75, ’77 and ’13; the Andes in ’07 and ’10. I owned a football-field-size lot within sight of El Mercedario in Argentina for a few years, but the rest is a pub story.

What was your longest or hardest, most epic mountain adventure?

I’ve done some multi-day backcountry hikes, but everyone reading this has probably done something far more epic. At my age, every adventure is long and hard.

What would you say is the biggest difference between mountain adventures when you started and now?

From my ‘teens until now, I’d say that there is a far greater emphasis on, and knowledge about, safe travel in the mountains and respect for wildlife and ecosystems. There’s also far better equipment. Hooray for technology!

How much do you still get out now? What inspires you to get out?

I never get out enough. Sadly, summer is the busiest time of the year at my job. Through the Club and its great publications, I get to read about all these awesome trips that everyone else is doing and travel along in my mind. I enjoy all the stories that speakers tell us about at our monthly socials.

What’s your favorite meal when staying and cooking in a hut? And when camping?

I’m supposed to say chili, right? Whenever the thought of sleeping together with a lot of people in a confined space comes up, everyone wants to eat chili, for some reason. Nope. Wine, cheese, baguettes and charcuterie when I’m out there.

What is your favorite piece of equipment and/or favorite clothes when going out there?

Merino wool, all they way.

Any inspiring mountain related sentence for our readers?

Being associated with the Alpine Club was something that I should have done when I was in my ‘teens, but I must have been on the wrong siding when that train rolled into the station. What I can experience during the few years I have left will be great, too. I have children and grandchildren that I want to have the opportunity to experience the magnificence of our mountains in their lifetimes, so setting an example is the best form of encouragement I can give them.

Anything else?

Sometimes I have met people that don’t know the back-country and say things that lead me to believe that they wouldn’t respect or treasure it if they did travel in the wild. I have to confess that I try to convince them that bears will eat them or an avalanche will bury them. Just sayin’ 😉


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