55+ Camp - recent retrospective

 

Editor's note: The ACC's 55+ Camp - our annual summertime, hut-based climbing and hiking adventure designed for participants with a few grey hairs - has been running for a number of years now. We've traveled the mountains of Western Canada, setting up shop for a week in different backcountry locations and sampling some of the best hiking, climbing and views in the high peaks of the area. Here we've got a summary of the highlights of the past five years.  


2011: Lake O'Hara Edition

  • Dates: July 30 - Aug 5, 2011
  • Base: The Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara, Yoho National Park
  • Staff: Guide: Ferdl Taxbock; Camp Manager: Dave McCormick

Lake O'Hara, with world-class hiking, scrambling and mountaineering was chosen for the 2011 55+ Camp. The team based out of the historic Elizabeth Parker Hut and alternated climbing and hiking days, with Mt. Huber (3,368m/11,050ft) and Mt. Yukness (2,851m/9,354ft) being climbed by separate parties one day and the entire team summiting Mt. Schaffer (2,692m/8,832ft) on another.

Hiking days were spent at Odaray Prospect, Wiwaxy Gap, All Souls Prospect and at the many beautiful lakes in the area. The weather was clear and sunny and the only time anyone got wet was when they went for a bath in a lake.

 The 2011 team at Elizabeth Parker Hut. Photo by Dave McCormick.

The 2011 team at Elizabeth Parker Hut. Photo by Dave McCormick.

 Exploring the Lake O’Hara area. Photo by Dave McCormick.

Exploring the Lake O’Hara area. Photo by Dave McCormick.

 The 2011 team soaking in summit sunshine, Mt. Odaray in the background. Photo by Dave McCormick.

The 2011 team soaking in summit sunshine, Mt. Odaray in the background. Photo by Dave McCormick.


2012: Little Yoho Valley Edition

  • Dates: July 29 - Aug 4, 2012
  • Base: The Stanley Mitchell Hut in Yoho National Park
  • Staff: Guide: Ferdl Taxbock; Camp Manager: Dave McCormick

One of the most beautiful hiking and mountaineering destinations in the Canadian Rockies, the Little Yoho Valley, was chosen for the 2012 edition of the 55+.

Wrapped in interesting history and surrounded by spectacular peaks and glaciers, the area around the ACC's Stanley Mitchell Hut presented the 2012 team a wide range of opportunities for all abilities and interests. Superb hiking, climbing and scrambling all exist at the head of this valley, and the Stanley Mitchell Hut provides a most excellent base from which to enjoy it all.

Climbing objectives included the famous President and Vice President mountaineering routes and the scrambling peaks Kerr, Kiwetinok, Isolated Peak and the Whaleback. There are also numerous outstanding day hikes in the area. The return trip to Takakkaw Falls was made by the Iceline Trail, one of the most spectacularly scenic hikes anywhere in the world.

 Welcome to the Stanley Mitchell Hut. Photo by Adrienne Corcoran.

Welcome to the Stanley Mitchell Hut. Photo by Adrienne Corcoran.

 The President and Vice President, Little Yoho Valley.

The President and Vice President, Little Yoho Valley.

 Takakkaw Falls from the Iceline Trail on the hike out from Stanley Mitchell Hut.

Takakkaw Falls from the Iceline Trail on the hike out from Stanley Mitchell Hut.


2013: Kokanee Glacier Edition

  • Dates: August 24-30, 2013
  • Base: The Kokanee Glacier Cabin in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
  • Staff: Guide: Dave Smith; Camp Manager: Rick McKelvey

The 55+ camp for 2013 made their home in the comfortable Kokanee Glacier Cabin in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park near Nelson, BC.

A week of good weather in late August allowed the team to climb on snow, glaciers, and rock ridges to many of the prominent peaks in the area. A day was spent climbing Mt. John Carter, including a return loop via Glory Basin, Sapphire Lakes and Griffin Creek, allowing for afternoon lounging in warm alpine meadows.

Other objectives included the Battleship, the Pyramids, and a split-group outing with part of the team opting for an easy scramble on Mt. Nansen and an ambitious group ascending Smuggler's Ridge, the Giant's Kneecap and Cond Peak, three of the more prominent peaks in the area.

In addition to the glaciers, peaks and lakes, Kokanee Glacier park is home to the Slocan Chief Cabin, a preserved mining cabin from the 1800's that is now a heritage building that's been preserved as a backcountry mining museum. Exploring the Slocan Chief was a fascinating addition to the days of climbing and hiking in the alpine.

 Home for the week – the Kokanee Glacier Cabin.

Home for the week – the Kokanee Glacier Cabin.

 Photo by Rick McKelvey.

Photo by Rick McKelvey.

 High summer on Kokanee Glacier. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

High summer on Kokanee Glacier. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

 History break at the old Slocan Chief Cabin. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

History break at the old Slocan Chief Cabin. Photo by Rick McKelvey.


2014: Wapta Edition

  • Dates: August 9-15, 2014
  • Base: The Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefield, Banff National Park
  • Staff: Guide: Dave Smith; Camp Manager: Rick McKelvey

The Wapta Icefields, with gigantic expanses of glacial ice, numerous accessible peaks of varying difficulties and a network of comfortable huts, was a natural choice for the 2014 55+. The camp was based out of the Bow Hut, with an option to traverse to the Peyto Hut, but the team got busy at Bow and never had to head anywhere else.

Teaching and review sessions on glacier travel, rope work and self-arresting was followed by days climbing St. Nicholas Peak by the exhilarating south ridge, Mt. Gordon, Mt. Olive and the Onion.

 Huge views across the Wapta Icefields. Photo by Dana Roman.

Huge views across the Wapta Icefields. Photo by Dana Roman.

 The Wapta Icefield with St. Nicholas Peak. Photo by Nellie Johnson.

The Wapta Icefield with St. Nicholas Peak. Photo by Nellie Johnson.

 Team summit shot. Photo by Nellie Johnson.

Team summit shot. Photo by Nellie Johnson.

 Relaxing at the Bow Hut. Photo by Nellie Johnson.

Relaxing at the Bow Hut. Photo by Nellie Johnson.


2015: Tonquin Valley Edition

  • Dates: August 8-14, 2015
  • Base: The Wates-Gibson Hut in Jasper National Park
  • Staff: Guides: Dave Smith, Peter Amann; Camp Manager: Rick McKelvey

The 2015 55+ camp was held in the Tonquin Valley - one of the beauty spots of the Canadian Rockies and based at the Wates-Gibson Hut. The hut is conveniently located close to the best and most popular climbs and hikes in the area. For the four trip days (two days were spent hiking into and out of the Tonquin via the historic Astoria River), the team climbed two peaks (McDonell and Thunderbolt) and did two extensive exploratory hikes.

The climb of McDonnel involved glacier travel, 1,400m of elevation gain and a scrambling section near the top. The climb of Thunderbolt was shorter (670m gain) with non-technical ridge climbing on solid quartzite rewarded with amazing views of the Ramparts and the peaks bordering Eremite Valley.

 The Wates-Gibson Hut and 2015 team. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

The Wates-Gibson Hut and 2015 team. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

 Exploring the Tonquin Valley. Photo by Rick McKelvey.   

Exploring the Tonquin Valley. Photo by Rick McKelvey.

 

 Summit shenanigans. Photo by Dave Ford.

Summit shenanigans. Photo by Dave Ford.

 Hiking in the amazing Ramparts. Photo by Dave Ford.

Hiking in the amazing Ramparts. Photo by Dave Ford.