Varsity Outdoor Club

With great sadness, the VOC mourns the tragic deaths of Stephanie Grothe, Neil Mackenzie and Elena Cernicka. They perished on an ascent of Joffre’s Central Couloir in a slip-and-fall accident on Sunday, January 11th 2015.

Stephanie and Neil were very active members of the VOC. Elena was a friend of Neil’s, but not a member of the VOC. Their trip was privately organized among the three and two other friends, and not an official VOC trip.

Stephanie Grothe, on top of Mount Tantalus

Many of us VOCers have known Steph for several years, and we all loved her excitement and infectious joy when it came to the mountains and the outdoors. I know that she felt passionately about the VOC and loved this club. We owe her a great deal. She was VOC secretary in 2012/2013, president in 2013/2014 and Public Relations Officer in 2014/2015. Her love for the mountains was a constant inspiration to us. She will be deeply missed by all those whose lives she touched.

Neil Mackenzie at the Nesakwatch Spires
Neil was equally passionate about the mountains. He was an immensely cheerful person, always looking for the next adventure and always good for sharing a drink and a good conversation with. He found adventure anywhere and brought humour with him everywhere he went. Any trip with him was guaranteed to be fun. To us, he was the epitome of the proverbial Scottish hardman. He dedicated a lot of his time to instructional trips with the club, always providing encouraging words to struggling participants. We all will miss him a lot.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their families and all their friends.


You’ve reached the Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC) web page. The VOC is a student run club of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. Our members are avid outdoors enthusiasts and enjoy hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, back-country skiing, paddling, and most anything else that’s fun outdoors.

Membership is open to students at UBC, VOC alumni. and the general public. The UBC student membership cost is $40/year and includes benefits such as :

  • Weekly email newsletter during the winter session detailing what’s happening.
  • Access to the restricted portion of this web site, which includes a message board and contact information for all club members.
  • Members can borrow gear from the club free of charge, upon completion of a “work hike” (small task to help the club that may or may not involve actual hiking).
  • Free copy of the VOC journal at the end of the winter session.
  • Bucket loads of fun

About VOC to find out more about the VOC.

Or, if you’re interested in joining the club, please read the detailed membership info from our wiki and/or contact us.

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