Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mt. Assiniboine, Lunette Peak and Mt. Strom, Alpine II, 5.4

Great two day trip to Mt. Assiniboine which was in perfect conditions on Sept. 22, 2012. Vern and I approached from the BC side via Assiniboine Creek and Lake to the Assiniboine/Strom Col. The glacier below the col was mostly dry and we travelled its left side (north) unroped. Made this col in 5 hours, dropped the packs and walked to the summit of Mt. Strom, simple walk with great views. Spent Friday night at the Hind Hut; had the whole place to ourselves.

Worried about conditions, I brought a full set of wires, a dozen pins and three ice screws, turns out we didn’t use any of it, or even a rope. We left the hut at 6am and the temperature was +8. We had great scrambling with dry conditions; we scrambled the full North Ridge route without using the rope. We had prefect conditions, there was the odd small patch of snow/ice, but all easy to avoid. We had fully expected to rope up at some point, but the climbing was easy and on great rock. Hardest moves (red band) felt like about 5.3/5.4 to me. 

Kevin and Vern on summit of Mt. Assiniboine

We made the summit in 4 hours. No wind and a summit temperature of +12. We spent nearly an hour enjoying the summit and descended the SW slopes, on route to Lunette Peak. Took us 4 hours to reach the summit of Lunette Peak from the summit of Assiniboine. The SW face of Assiniboine is a nightmare; crazy loose, very exposed and just plain miserable. We did two rappels (fixed stations, cord on boulders) and lots of shitty downclimbing to reach the Lunette/Assiniboine Col. Scramble up Lunette was better quality rock, easy/moderate ledges were choss, but the steeper rock bands were pretty solid, all scrambled no gear or rope used.

OSWB on Lunette Peak summit

Descent to Lunette Lake was a pain, we found several rap stations below the col, but only did 1 rap. Took about 4 hours from summit to reach tree line, but lots of cliff bands above lake were tiring to traverse around, back to the truck at 11pm (8 hours from summit of Lunette).

Awesome trip, prefect conditions and weather and we had the big A all to ourselves! Life is good


  1. Hey Guys,

    Is it necessary to rappel down Assinniboine or can one do it without Rappelling?


    Jake B.

  2. Jake

    Good day. Likely most people would want to rap. The lowest, last rap we did below the Assiniboine/Lunette Col, would be okay to downclimb. The highest, first rappel we did was the steepest and longest and I think most would want to rap it. There may be alternate routes nearby that are downclimbable, but we didn't check. The second rappel we did had terrain adjacent that looked okay for a downclimb.

    Since our trip, I have spoken with 3 separate parties that went up and down the SW side of Assiniboine. All these groups rapped the upper section where we rappeled. One solo climber mentioned he would have downclimbed all of the route, but he brought a rope and gear and wanted to use since he carried it.

    I have heard of 2 solo climbs of this route and both did not rappel any section of the route. I will warn you, this south side of Assiniboine is very, very loose and the upper cliffs are difficult to scramble though, extreme care is required. Only attempt if you are comfortable on steep and loose rock.

    I think Vern and I were of the mind, we had the gear, so lets rap. Vern is the probably the most competent scrambler I know, he is use to climbing very difficult terrain without a rope (up to 5.4 YDS) and is superb at route finding through chossy hell; me historically being a rock climber, like to use gear and the rope. If you are solid scrambling loose rock up and DOWN in the 5.4 range, likely you could scramble this route up and down.