Assiniboine with Claire, Andrea and Kir
6th Sep 2011Posted in: Blog, Private Alpine, Private Guiding 0
Assiniboine with Claire, Andrea and Kir

Claire, like many Banffites…has had the longterm dream of climbing Assiniboine.  Ever since she saw it, she was in awe of this magnificent peak, and this would be the year she wanted to try.  Since that dream was hatched, Claire has really focused on learning the skills necessary to climb a peak like this…and has gotten a ton of rock, ice and alpine routes under her belt in the last couple years.  This was a good thing, because this year…Assiniboine was and is no easy task.  What often is a nice scramble with some rock steps was a snow and ice covered mountain.

We decided to ask Kirsten and Andrea if they wanted to join in our adventure so that I could have the confidence of knowing another guide (and an amazing guide and friend at that!) would be on the mountain as well to help with the descent and the longer day.  Andrea has also climbed a ton with all of us so it was a natural fit!

One of the best parts of climbing Assiniboine is the lift in….what a treat…especially on a bluebird day!!

helicopter to Assiniboine lodge

Once we were dropped off at the lodge (that is under reconstruction still), we started over towards the ledges that take us to the Hind hut.  This looks like quite an unlikely way up to the hut but once you find the right way, it is pretty easy travel.  other then having to tunnel through a rather dirty snow bridge, the approach was pretty fun!

appraoch to Hind hut

We got to the hut and enjoyed our fabulous dinner and watched a party on the mountain that were descending.  It was 4 and they were still above the red band, so we knew we were going to get a late night wake up call:(.  Despite that and our early alarm setting, we tried to go to bed.  A very sleepless night as the crew arrived at 11pm and made dinner before snoring peacefully after their long day.  Our alarms went off at 1am, and I don’t think I slept more then 20 minutes.  it was a rough start!

We headed up in headlamps and made great time.  We seemed to find a good route despite the darkness, and soon we were facing the Red Band.  This was some of the coolest climbing on the route.  Some ice and mixed steps took us into the grey bands, and the girls were all climbing well.  By 8am we were at the grey step and after several times of asking how people were feeling we finally had to be honest about the reality that Andrea was not feeling well.  A group decision to head down was made as we all knew that going down would be slower then going up.  This was true!  We also narrowly missed a huge spontaneous rock fall from above that just thankfully missed us.  A good reminder of how the wind and warmer temps, loose rock and icy slopes can be a recipe for heinous rock fall.


We made it down safe and sound and tired and everyone felt good about the decision and crashed out for a much needed nap before dinner.

The next morning we woke up early to head down before the forecasted rain set in as we had the whole 34 km hike to get back to the car!

the hind hut

A great trip all in all.  Kir and I were really impressed with Claire and Andrea.  The terrain was different then anything they had been on before and all their ice and rock skills played a role in how well and quickly they climbed.  A fun adventure with the shape that it was in, but for sure a more time consuming one.  An amazing peak that certainly deserves a great deal of respect:)

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