1967 Centennial climbing expedition celebrated
It was a remarkable feat of organization, teamwork and patriotism.
In 1967, The Alpine Club of Canada organized the Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition (YACE) to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. For two months that summer, after several years of dreaming and meticulous planning, some 60 men and women representing the country’s most skilled mountaineers established four camps in the Yukon’s Centennial Range to climb 13 peaks named for the provinces and territories, plus Centennial Peak.
In addition to celebrating Canada’s centenary, the expedition also celebrated 100 years of friendship between Canada and the U.S., and the centennial of the transaction that granted the U.S. possession of Alaska. To honour that milestone, a Canada/U.S. team made the first ascent of 4,785‐metre Good Neighbour Peak, the south peak of Mount Vancouver, which straddles the Yukon/Alaska boundary in the Saint Elias Range.
The extravaganza concluded with the ACC’s Centennial General Mountaineering Camp running for two weeks on the Steele Glacier. By expedition’s end, 26 first ascents had been accomplished safely.
As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year, climbing writer Chic Scott, ACC Executive Director Lawrence White and ACC Vice President for Mountain Culture Zac Robinson discussed ways the Club might participate in the celebrations.
They decided on a film commemorating the YACE. With a very small budget to work with, Canmore filmmaker Glen Crawford agreed to work with Scott, who lives in Banff, and Expedition Yukon – 50 Years Later was in production.
“I feel there is a lot of history that risks getting forgotten,” Crawford said. “As people get older, the stories fade away. I think it’s important to document some of these stories. is project intrigued me because of the location, what was achieved on the expedition and the fact that many of the people involved are still around.”
Watch the full film
Expedition Yukon – 50 Years Later
Read the full story
Read the full story by Lynn Martel in our summer issue of the Gazette.