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Have you ever gone “Bugaboo?”

Just ask the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), they’ll tell you.

The Club has a new local chapter for the East Kootenay and they are calling it the 

“Bugaboo section.” 

Hosting the first event in Invermere on June 1, climbers, skiers, and hikers gathered at the CPR lodge in Invermere last to celebrate the launch and enjoy a barbecue organized by volunteers. The event brought together people from all walks of life, from long-time honourary club members to young families, all sharing a love for the outdoors.

Among the attendees were legendary climbers Pat Morrow and David Jones. Morrow has been leading an annual teen climbing program in the Bugaboos for the past 13 years with the Conrad Kain Society, now on hiatus. He was happy to see his vision for youth skill development adopted by the local ACC section. 

“I’m delighted that the ACC Bugaboo section will provide learning opportunities for teens and is committed to creating a platform where both novice and seasoned climbers can organize trips together,” said Morrow.

The ACC is an historic organization founded in 1906 with deep roots in Canada’s history. Even today, the club holds the same mission: to promote alpine experience, knowledge and culture; responsible access; and excellence in mountain skills and leadership.

The Columbia Valley was one of the birthplaces of Canadian mountaineering, and home to notable mountain guide Conrad Kain, who resided near Invermere a century ago. 

“It’s fitting to have an ACC section in this valley, as three influential figures from the Golden Age of mountaineering in Canada were based here”, said Morrow, referring to Kain and his close friends and clients Albert and Bess MacCarthy. They ticked 19 notable first ascents in the Purcells, including in the Bugaboo range, and went on to make first ascents of peaks like Mt. Robson and Mount Logan in 1925.

Carine Salvy, ACC national executive director, was present to show her support. “For us in the Canmore office, it’s exhilarating to witness a new section come together,” she said. “The small group that started this initiative is doing an amazing job of recruiting new members and offering them a wide range of activities to launch the section. There is a vibrant sense of community and shared passion, all the ingredients for successful future outings.”

The local section is being spearheaded by Joshua Lavigne, a mountain guide and professional alpine climber in Invermere. “I believe the mountains change peoples’ lives and the experiences we have in these environments give us the insight to overcome complex challenges. This club helps people get out into the mountains where they can have an up close and personal experience.”

Invermere physicians Stefanie McLellan and JoyAnne Krupa are also involved in leadership for the new ACC section. “This is an important thing for our community and for families. I want my kids to grow up with mountain culture, in a place with lots of opportunities for adventure, where they can learn the skills to be safe,” said Krupa.

The local section’s vision is to be inclusive for everyone and be family oriented. The club’s main focus for the near future will be to run trips and social events for members, as well as fundraising. The next event the club is running is a guided youth rock climbing program this summer, where spaces remain open for children 6-12.

To inquire about programs, events or volunteering, email [email protected] or follow Alpine Club of Canada Bugaboo Section on Facebook.