The FMCBC was originally formed as the Mountain Access Society in 1962. The seven original clubs were:
- Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver
- BC Mountaineering Club – Vancouver
- North Shore Hikers – Vancouver
- SFU Outdoor Club – Burnaby
- Valley Outdoor Association – Surrey
- Vancouver Natural History Association – Vancouver
- Varsity Outdoor Club of UBC – Vancouver
In 1972, the Mountain Access Society formally incorporated as the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC. The newly formed FMCBC held a major conference in 1972 at UBC on access to the backcountry.
In the late 1980s, the FMCBC initiated the Adopt-A-Trail program for trail maintenance. The FMCBC received thousands of dollars of government grants in the late 1980s and early 1990s to do trail maintenance. The FMCBC wrote a trail maintenance guide and started the TBAM program (Trail Building and Maintenance). Over the years, the FMCBC has regularly published its Cloudburst Newsletter which has many articles contributed by member clubs outlining items of interest to backcountry users throughout the province. For many years our members received a paper copy of each issue, but recent elimination of government grants have restricted the number of paper copies which are mailed, although some copies are distributed freely to the public. Now most of our members receive electronic notification of the twice yearly Cloudburst issues as well as our monthly e-news bulletins which contain electronic links to many useful sites and articles.
Canada West Mountain School (CWMS) was also started by the FMCBC in the late 1980s to provide high-quality backcountry courses to its members using highly trained guides. CWMS ran Avalanche Rescue courses for Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) Search and Rescue groups under contract with the Justice Institute of B.C., and coordinated the Native Leadership program. The FMCBC published a six-volume set of mountain travel pocket guidebooks which was used by CWMS and other organisations.
CWMS is no longer owned by the FMCBC but it continues to provide many guiding and instructional services .