Mountain Equipment Co-op to kit out a series of scientific expeditions

The co-op has joined forces with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to support the exploration of Canada’s wilderness

Canadian outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is working with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) to kit out a series of important explorations.

The expeditions, which include journeys to remote cave systems, rivers and mountains, will be clothed and equipped by MEC, which was founded in 1971 by a group of west coast mountaineers,

As Canada’s largest co-op by membership, MEC says it is committed to sustainability, community and the stewardship of wild places.

Chief executive David Labistour said: “Gear that’s designed, made and tested to perform in the challenging and often harsh conditions that Canadian explorers find themselves in, can mean the difference between success or failure.

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“It’s a tremendous honour to bring MEC’s expertise in making gear for millions of Canadian outdoor enthusiasts to the RCGS Expeditions Program as its official outfitter.”

John Geiger, chief executive of the RCGS, said: “We’re thrilled to have MEC, a name synonymous with quality, adventure and a passion for the outdoors, working with us as we fulfill our mission to connect Canadians with their natural and cultural heritage.”

The RCGS been supporting Canadian exploration, since 1929. In 1992, it partnered with MEC on a 13-member expedition to measure the height of Mount Logan, the country’s highest peak.

Now, 26 years later, the RCGS and MEC will work on seven expeditions:

  • MEC Expedition of the Year: The Bisaro Plateau Caves Project: Speleologists will continue to explore and map Canada’s deepest caves, which was discovered on a remote plateau in in British Columbia in 2012, which will involve cave diving and staying in underground camp for as long as seven days at a time.
  • Expédition AKOR, a three-month, 1,500km, six-person canoe journey connecting the George River, Ungava Bay, Mount Iberville and the steep coastlines along the Labrador Sea and the Torngat Mountains’ fjords. The goal is to raise public support for conservation and increase scientific knowledge of this vulnerable region.
  • The Bayne/Coleman Project, a documentary about the search for the grave of Sir John Franklin, the Royal Navy officer who disappeared in 1847 while searching for the North West Passage. 
  • The Mystery Mountain Project, a re-enactment of the first exploration, in 1926, of British Columbia’s Waddington Range. The team, accompanied by film makers, will cross a a series of glaciers on their route to the peak of Mount Waddington.
  • Mount Lucania – A Frigid First, an attempt to climb Canada’s third tallest peak, in Yukon’s Kluane National Park. It has bever been climbed in winter and this attempt will be made in the brutally cold conditions of January.
  • Man and Dog Across the Labrador Peninsula, Justin Barbour and his Cape Shore water dog, Saku, will travel 1,700km cross the Labrador Peninsula from the old Hudson Bay Trading Post of North West River, Labrador to the Inuit community of Kuujjuarapik, Quebec, by foot, canoe and pack raft.
  • Back to the Peel River Basin, a three-week canoe expedition from the headwaters of the Wind River, to the Peel River, ending at Ft.McPherson in the North West territories. will follow the route of the first formal mapping expedition of the Peel River basin in 1905. Team leaders David McGuffin and Terry Camsell are the great-grandson and grandson respectively of Charles and Fred Camsell, the brothers who led the original expedition. Charles Camsell was the founder of the RCGS.
  • Ungava Unknown: Retracing the Carnegie Expeditions in Northern Quebec, an eight-week canoe journey that retraces a 1938 expedition by Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum through northern Quebec and Labrador. Between 1901 and 1958 the museum sponsored 25 journeys through the region, establishing ecological baselines long before Canada invested any research in the area.


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