What does a mountaineering club do?
Volunteers organise outdoor activities year round including hiking, climbing, skiing, mountain biking trips, week long climbing/skiing/hiking camps, and various courses on basic outdoor skills. Our volunteers also maintain four cabins in the Bonnington Range and we are involved in trail development and maintenance.
The KMC publishes a quarterly newsletter which includes reports of recent trips and articles of general interest. We also maintain a library of mountaineering books and journals.
The club’s constitution says…
- The name of the Society is The Kootenay Mountaineering Club (The KMC).
- The purposes of the Society are to promote an interest in, and development of, mountaineering; to further fellowship in the mountains; and to further the conservation of the natural values in the mountains by:
- a. Organizing outdoor activities into the mountains, in particular, hiking, mountaineering and ski-mountaineering activities.
- b. Instructing and assisting individuals and families in the sports of hiking, mountaineering, and ski-mountaineering; and
- c. Expressing the views of the members of the Society on matters pertaining to the conservation of natural values in the mountains.
The Early Years of the KMC
In April 1964, 12 local members formed the Kootenay Section of the Alpine Club of Canada. With the formation of the Section, the Club journal, the Kootenay Karabiner, began. This semi-annual journal became annual in 1970 with the publication of a monthly newsletter. The mid sixties saw the start of many traditions carried on to this day: clearing trails, weekly rock schools, climbing and hiking camps, building and renovation of cabins, and explorations and first ascents throughout the Kootenays all year round.
By 1968 the section had grown to 70 members but most were not full ACC members. Since ACC bylaws required the executive to be full members, the Section was dissolved. However, in the spring of 1969, the same group was resurrected as the Kootenay Mountaineering Club (KMC). The Club has now grown to over 300 members.
Many of the early activities of the KMC have evolved into larger enterprises. Early renovations and maintenance of the Slocan Chief Cabin in Kokanee Glacier Park meant that KMCer’s were almost the only users of the cabin, particularly for spring ski trips. The popularity of the cabin grew and BC Parks took over regulation of its use and instituted a lottery system. The KMC continues to work for preservation of the park.
The first week long summer camp at Earl Grey Pass in 1967 has grown to four weeks of climbing and hiking camps attended by over 80 members. These camps have been held in numerous locations in the Monashees, Selkirks, Purcells, Rockies, and Coast Mountains. Comfort and convenience has improved considerably over the years with the purchase of cook tents, propane stoves, and other camp gear.
In 1968 the Mulvey Creek trail into the Valhallas was completed. In 1969 a hut was constructed in Mulvey Meadows. The hut received heavy use until 1980 when the access road up Bannockburn Creek was closed. In 1970, the KMC was the first organization to work for the creation of a park in the Valhallas with its brief to the Provincial Government. Many hiking camps were held in the Valhallas before the days of easy access to the area.
In the mid 1970’s the Club began efforts to protect the Fry Creek drainage and to support creation of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. The Club is currently involved in efforts to protect the Jumbo Pass area from development as a ski resort.
In 1986, the KMC undertook sponsorship of a federal work grant project to build ski-touring cabins in the Bonnington Range. The multi-use Copper, Grassy, Steed, and Huckleberry Huts are still actively maintained by the Club. The KMC also actively supported the reconstruction of the Silver Spray Cabin in Kokanee Glacier Park.
Early rock schools were held on the Kinnaird Bluffs. The informal Wednesday night practice sessions grew into a formal mountaineering course of lectures, rock climbing, and a weekend of snow and glacier travel.
Throughout the years, a tradition of spring and fall dinners has evolved. These gatherings have been complimented by other social gatherings and various lectures and presentations by noted mountaineers. These occasions have been a forum where Club members could share the memories of their travels and exploits in many mountainous parts of the world as well as the beautiful Kootenays.
2016 saw the club contribute $1,000 (matching contributions by individual KMC members) to the purchase of Kinnaird Bluffs to ensure access to climbing. The 17 acres were purchased by the Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers with intentions of eventually transferring the land to the City of Castlegar for use as a park and for rock climbing. The Lepsoe Basin Cabin in the Rossland Range was used heavily used by KMC members. The 3-year contract with Darkwoods was renewed (5 visits/year, weekends only). Trail clearing occurred at Cody Caves, Mt Ferrie, Siwash and Lost Mt. There were 364 members with 205 individuals and 178 couples.