At a time when people aren’t joining clubs like they used to, it’s gratifying to see that membership in The Alpine Club of Canada remains strong. Clearly, we are doing something right.
Our 11,000-plus members representing 24 sections from coast to coast to coast gather for adventures and swap expertise as they test their minds, bodies and spirits climbing, scrambling and while backcountry hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.
We promote and provide access for all mountaineering enthusiasts. Whether strapping on crampons for the first time or adding a new ascent to a checklist, our members stay with the Club because we offer an affordable and comprehensive suite of programs, services and accommodations and a welcoming community that shares their passion. With thousands of volunteer leaders devoting countless hours to lead and guide adventures, together we build self-confidence and skills while taking part in the Club’s numerous camps and adventures offered across the country.
Our backcountry hut system, equipped with environmental-sensitive technologies, is the largest in North America. And, working closely with national and provincial parks systems, we have ambitious plans to grow. We receive more than 40,000 visitors each year. At our National Clubhouse in Canmore, we host youth groups, weddings, small retreats, and often provide gratuitous space for our colleagues in the non profit sector to gather, explore and strategize.
And we are proud to tell our story. Since the beginning, our members have shared their tales of exertion, elation and friendship in words, images, film and art. Their devotion has kept the mountain story strong. And their advocacy for the environment has strengthened public awareness. We celebrate our story with tens of thousands in many communities through our channels such as Canadian Alpine Journal, the Gazette and collection at the Whyte Museum in Banff. Our collective contributions to our photo archives is breathtaking and like none other.We deliver our services and programs through a strong foundation of staff, members, volunteers and partners, all facilitated through a national office located in Canmore AB.
Facilities: The ACC operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. There are family-friendly huts in alpine meadows, backcountry powder paradises, remote climbers’ refuges and everything in between
Activities and Adventures: Backcountry skiing, mountaineering, women’s-only programs – the ACC Adventures offers something for everyone.
Mountain Culture: The Alpine Club of Canada is a collection of local communities of people who are passionate about climbing and alpine environments. That passion is expressed in different ways, with one of the most long-lasting being the films and writing that recall the experiences in the mountains. This is our Mountain Culture.
Competitive Athletics: Sport Climbing, Ski Mountaineering Racing, Competition Ice Climbing. The ACC supports and encourages high-performance athletes and their development in many disciplines.
Access and Environment: As Canada’s national mountain organization, The ACC promotes mountaineering while being committed to conservation of mountain environments. As ACC members we recognize that access to the mountains obligates us to understand and protect these unique environments.
Sections: Regional sections of The ACC are its strength. The vast majority of club members belong to a regional club section. Membership in a section enables members to participate in numerous summer and winter mountaineering, rock climbing, and skiing activities, coordinated by experienced amateur leaders in their local area.Currently, there are several initiatives and programs across Canada offered by non-profits, recreation centres and like-minded organizations which provide Canadian youth with opportunities to experience the outdoors in some fashion. Some offer adventures, camps, skills training and/or programs to get Canadians outside, but none offer comprehensive programming facilitated by a single organization, delivered across the nation, at an affordable fee structure, and for diverse skill levels and interests.
Our highest priority is to ensure safe, responsible access for all who desire to experience Canada’s wild and wonderful places. And we know that currently, there are barriers to growth, meeting the diverse needs and interests of our members and attracting the next generation of enthusiasts. Building on our history, accomplishments and deep commitment to protecting the environment, the ACC has bold plans to grow our membership, enhance and increase our offerings for all Canadians who want to experience, explore and lead the way in preserving our mountain spaces. The bedrock of the ACC has always been its people – our members, staff and partners as well as our volunteers, who demonstrate their commitment to the Club in a mountain of ways.
Developed in response to our member feedback and in support of our national strategy, our donor investment priorities are as follows:
1) Greatest Needs: A permanent legacy of the ACC. This fund has been in place for over 15 years, and has grown considerably over that time through generous donations and bequests from members who included the ACC in their estate planning. Interest income is used annually to support strategic priorities and projects. Funding is distributed through grants approved by the ACC Board of Directors. The Greatest Needs Fund strengthens the ACC’s ability to seize new opportunities, address pressing issues and make strategic decisions that benefit our national community. Donate to the Greatest Needs Fund.
2) Backcountry Huts: No matter its style or size, the retreats in the ACC’s network of 35 hostels, huts and cabins offer wilderness adventurers a safe, comfortable place to warm up, rest your weary feet and enjoy a great meal with others. The Need:
– Many existing huts are decades old and need restoration.
– More huts are needed to support the diversity of members – providing great escapes for families, youth and seniors.
– More safe opportunities for traverses, such as on the Wapta Icefield.
– Expand offerings across the country.
– Use of huts reduces environmental impact by concentrating human activity to a specified area.Donate to the Facilities Fund.
3) Inspiring Adventures: Great escapes are organized by Sections and the National Office year-round across the country and to several international locations each year. They are a thrilling way to explore the world, experience nature and yourself, and build skills and experience. The Need:
– To keep our programs cost-effective, our model is almost break-even, so additional funds are needed to support infrastructure enhancement and expansion of programs.
– High demand for different, diverse and specialized adventures.
– Camp equipment and infrastructure must remain current and in good repair for safety and experience.
– Need for more amateur leaders and the responsibility to help them be the best they can be.Donate to the Leadership Development Fund.
4) Mountain Conservation: As Canada’s mountaineering leader, the ACC has an obligation to keep our back country open and unblemished for those who follow us for generations to come. Working with like-minded partners and supporters, the ACC is the foremost voice in protecting wilderness areas across the country for the safe, responsible enjoyment of all. The Need:
– A national voice to promote environmental stewardship and responsible access to the back country.
– Protection and preservation of wilderness areas.
– Education on back-country etiquette and safe, responsible use of huts.
– Development of new trails, and maintenance and repair of existing trails.
– Enhance and lead innovation on sustainable huts and reducing environmental footprints.
– Support research and advocacy for conservation and understanding of our natural spaces.Donate to the Environment Fund.
5) Sharing Our Mountain Story: Since our beginning, the ACC has been a prominent voice in preserving and promoting our nation’s back-country legacy, history, culture and literature. Our Club is dedicated to keeping the mountain story strong. The Need:
– Provide online and physical access to our cultural works and prestigious journals, such as the Canadian Alpine Journal, the Gazette and the Summit Series.
– Develop new cultural works to retain our leadership role as a respected voice in backcountry culture.
– Support the preservation of archives and cultural works.Donate to the Mountain Culture Fund.
6) Girls on Ice Canada (GOIC): The GOIC Fund supports a wilderness program for Canadian high school girls operated under the auspices of the ACC. Each summer, girls from diverse communities and backgrounds across Canada are chosen for a tuition-free, 12-day science-immersion expedition led by female scientists, mountain guides and artists. The program interweaves science, art and adventure to inspire leadership, curiosity and confidence in its young participants. The GOIC program aligns with the ACC’s mandate to be a national leader in responsible access and environmental stewardship. It supports the development of a new generation of volunteer leaders. Donations to the Fund will support the ACC’s vision to grow the GOIC program across Canada. Donate to the Girls on Ice Canada Fund.