Now that I’ve filled you in on a typical day at the GMC, I’ll let a few more pictures of my ascents and active “days off” speak for themselves as to the astounding beauty of the scenery and learning experience this mountaineering camp truly was.
A rare shot as I’m nearing my highest summit of the week, Belvedere Peak, 9,770 ft. We’re usually too busy rock climbing with our hands full at this point to stop and take a photo, but after such a climb I felt it deserved being recorded!
A surprise was hidden at the summit: an old and rusty sardine tin stuck in a plastic container, holding scribbled names of the climbers who’ve reached the Belvedere Peak before us. How cool is that? I’ve put down my name of course…finally immortalized! 😉
Sure, you can join the GMC like the majority of our group and go straight off climbing mountains on your first day there like you’ve done for many years, but us ‘newbies’ needed to attend ‘snow and ice school’ which is a very cool and very hands-on day where you learn everything from tying a bunch of knots to stopping yourself from a fall with your ice axe to building a snow anchor as shown below.
There are also ‘days off’ where if you don’t feel like challenging yourself to a big peak, you can always attend the ‘rock school’ – so much better than learning rock climbing indoors! I honestly cannot think of a more perfect or beautiful setting.
A close-up of Sir Sandford. That same day, a few of our best climbers went on a recon expedition (left at 2am) to see if an ascent of Sir Sandford would be possible. Alas, the snow was giving way, too dangerous to attempt until it freezes again!
The Great Cairn Ben Ferris Hut is a spectacularly positioned hut from the Alpine Club of Canada, facing Sir Sandford, and was just around the corner from our camp. You’d need a solid day of mountaineering to access it in the summer or a helicopter ride in the winter.
On my last day I climbed Palisade Mountain which still hadn’t been explored that week so we had no idea what to expect! It was the perfect end to the week as it revisited everything we learned and challenged us by offering a mix of: steep rock scrambling and climbing, some snow, some slippery grass, good amount of exposure, a long and narrow ridge and of course splendid views all around.