Alpine Club of Canada

ACC Gazette Summer 2019

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Remembering the Ice River Valley Reflections of an ACC Life Member on the 1954 summer camp In 1954, at 17 years old, Heather Kellerhals, (née Stewart) boarded a train in Toronto and headed west, bound for the ACC's General Mountaineering Camp in the Goodsir Mountains of Yoho National Park in BC. This is her story of a first camp, a first ascent and what would become the inspiration for a mountain life. The camp, and much of the climbing, was filmed by the National Film Board and footage made its way into the documentary How to Climb a Mountain which is viewable on the NFB website. By Heather Kellerhals July 29, 1954 — I'm lying on my back in the tent, trying to sleep. My two older tent companions who travelled with me from Toronto and offered to "keep an eye on" the young wannabe climber are already sound asleep. I turned 17 in the spring and my climbing experience has been limited to a few pretty tame rock bluffs in Ontario. And now after dinner this evening a kindly person signed me up for a climb tomorrow. "Lucky you," someone said, tapping me on the shoul‑ der, "it's an unclimbed peak." It seemed okay at the time, but now in the silent darkness of the tent, I'm not feeling so brave. It's only a few hours away now… I wiggle my toes around in my down sleeping bag. My feet grew a few blisters during the hike into the Ice River Valley where the annual ACC Camp is being held. The problem seems to be with the climbing boots that had to be ordered from Calgary. My feet swim inside them even with the help of two pairs of wool socks. I try to think about something other than feet and mountains, like how I got out here by train. It was my first trip all alone and it seemed to go on forever. I shine a flashlight at my new watch – it's way past midnight. I must have fallen asleep because someone is shaking the tent and shining

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