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100 years later, ice axe returns to summit

B.C. Mountaineering Club marks centennial of first ascent of Mount Garibaldi



One hundred years after it first reached the summit of Mount Garibaldi, J.J. Trorey’s ice axe made a return trip to the 2,678 metre peak.

Todd Ponzini was one of 15 climbers to mark the centennial of the first ascent of Garibaldi on July 1. He carried Trorey’s Swiss-made steel axe with its wooden shaft to the summit. And although the axe was very heavy by the standards of today’s climbing gear, it worked fine and got the 32-year-old climber safely up and down Garibaldi.

The climb not only marked the centennial anniversary of then first ascent of Garibaldi, it was one of several celebrations planned this year to mark the 100 th anniversary of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club.

In honour of the centennials, the July 1 climb was made in 1907 wool and tweed clothing.

Climbers’ ages ranged from 23 (Alycia Laidlaw) to 71 (Karl Ricker), with the average age being 52.5 and the median age 58.

The climb from base camp at Elfin Lakes began at 4 a.m. July 1 and was made tougher by a recent snowfall that deposited some deep drifts near the top of the mountain.

The climbers spent about an hour at the summit, where Ponzini read from a 1973 BCMC member’s journal speculating about what summiting Mount Garibaldi might be like in 2007. Monorails into the mountains and spider web-like ropes were some of the predictions made 34 years ago, and that may still be some way off in the future.

After a 14-hour day the climbers were back at Elfin Lakes.

A video of the centennial climb and more of the BCMC history is being produced this year.

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