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Richard Harwood (Dick) Chambers Alpine Photograph Collection

Richard Harwood (Dick) Chambers Alpine Photograph Collection

This digital collection consists of more than 800 colour slides and black-and-white prints, with corresponding photography logbook, created by Richard (Dick) Harwood Chambers (1922-1999), and donated by his niece and nephew, Barbara and Jim Diggins.

Richard Chambers was a prominent member of the Vancouver mountaineering community from the 1940s through the 1960s. He joined the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC) in 1946 and remained an active member until his death. From 1950 until 1970 he held many executive positions, including that of President from 1961 to 1963. In recognition of his long and dedicated service to the club, he was made an Honourary Member in 1968.

Dick was a steady and competent mountaineer. Between 1951 and 1967, he made about twenty first ascents in the southern Coast Mountains. He was an accomplished photographer, using a Zeiss camera to chronicle his climbs. Unusually for a casual photographer, he documented technical details about each shot, and he developed his slides and printed his photos in his home darkroom. Such details about many of the photographs digitized here can be located in the one volume of his photography logbook also digitized.

Chambers' photos date from about 1947 to 1967, roughly the years he was active in the BCMC. Some of these photos are the first, or very early, photos of what were then extremely remote parts of the Coast Mountains. Others document summer camps in more commonly visited parts of the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains. The majority of the photographs document weekend climbs and hikes in southwestern B.C. A small number of photographs were shot by Chambers’ wife Doris.

The photos show the clothing, equipment and climbing methods of the day. Of particular interest are photos of mountain and crevasse rescue techniques that were then used by the nascent Mountain Rescue Group. Also interesting and unusual is a small series of photos showing details of the construction of several of the alpine huts built by the BCMC, a design that was influential in the construction of other huts in the province. The collection provides a rich, insider's view, of what some consider the last great period of exploratory mountaineering in western B.C.

--Glenn Woodsworth, Mountaineering Historian and Past President and Honourary Member of the B.C. Mountaineering Club

License and Usage Permissions

Images from the Richard Harwood (Dick) Chambers Alpine Photographs Collection have been made available by Simon Fraser University Library under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial license. A full legal outline of the license can be viewed at: We encourage the appropriate open use of images from this collection for educational and other not-for-profit purposes. Attribution/citation should be provided as follows:

Image [insert image number here, eg. Alpine_065] courtesy of the Richard Harwood (Dick) Chambers Alpine Photographs Collection, a digital initiative of Simon Fraser University Library. [Please include the website url when images are used in an offline or print-based context].

Parties interested in using high-resolution versions of the images from the Richard Harwood (Dick) Chambers Alpine Photographs Collection for commercial purposes should contact Special Collections and Rare Books, SFU Library.


SFU Special Collections and Rare Books gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre's "BC History Digitization Program" to make this collection available online.

Contributed by Special Collections and Rare Books, Simon Fraser University Library.