Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

B.C. Mountaineering Club Cabin

Little was known about the coastal mountains when a group of enthusiasts founded the Vancouver Mountaineering Club (soon renamed the British Columbia Mountaineering Club) in 1907. Its pioneering members explored, mapped and made first ascents of the peaks near their young city. The club–which was remarkably egalitarian, including bankers, railwaymen, nurses and postmen–began with modest weekend climbs. Since people generally worked Saturday mornings, trips would begin in the afternoon, allowing anyone to join. In the notable summer of 1908, club members made first recorded ascents of the North Shore’s Mount Seymour, Lynn Peak, Cathedral Mountain, Crown Mountain and one of its peaks, the Camel. At a time when wilderness preservation held little public interest, the BCMC actively campaigned to preserve the alpine areas of the province. As a result of their efforts, the province set aside the Garibaldi region as a preserve in 1920.

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The rustic log cabin of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club became a weekend haunt for many members.

The cabin stood on Grouse Mountain, often the first challenge undertaken by serious hikers and mountaineers.

This substantial cabin was built in 1910, when the club obtained land; it succeeded the first unofficial 1906 “Shack.”

Members traditionally ate Christmas Dinner on the mountain. The 1909 menu featured oyster soup, roast turkey, English plum pudding, whiskey punch and cigars.

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