August 31, 2012

Climbing Mt. Assiniboine North Ridge

Mt Assiniboine beneath an almost full moon.

The weather in the Canadian Rockies is often pretty rough at this time of year, but for some reason, Mike   A and I were given a hall pass and allowed passage up a Rockies classic yesterday. Mike hadn't done much big mountain climbing since a trip to Europe in the 90's when he managed to climb Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Eiger in nary a fortnight. For some, a hiatus like this would be enough to return them to pure neophyte status, but for Mike, I think the thirteen years rest only served to make him stronger.

We flew in to Assiniboine lodge on Wednesday and climbed the Gmoser Highway under threatening skies. For those who don't know, the Gmoser Hwy is a massive pile of rubble that allows surprisingly easy access to the Hind Hut at the toe of Mt. Assiniboine's North Ridge. The following morning, we awoke at 4:00 am and departed for the climb 1.5 hours later after an unimpressive breakfast of gluten free oatmeal. The forecast for the day wasn't great and there was a menacing cloud looming above the Red Band, and I can't say that I had huge hopes for the climb. But as is often the case, no expectations are often the best expectations, and 6.5 hours later we were on top of the Canadian Matterhorn (minus the fixed ropes and the hordes!).

The weather looks stellar for the next few days and after a rest day tomorrow, Mike A and I will head to Mt. Victoria in hopes of climbing the mountain's classic SE Ridge. Seems like a better way to spend Labor Day then stuck in traffic on Canmore's Main St.

Postscript: Please feel free to check out all the photos from the trip (including the rugged weather on Mt. Victoria / Abbot Pass) here.

Nick S and Mike in hot pursuit!

They caught us.

Mike A low on the route.

Climbing in the clouds on the upper mountain.

Nick S breaching the Red Band.

Clouds can be great because they hide the exposure.

The summit ridge.

I had Mike pose for this shot on the descent.

Of course, had we waited one day, we would have had the stellar weather window.

Mike A on the hike out.

Hard not to look back for another gander.

Looking out the Hind Hut at the base of Mount Assiniboine.

1 comment:

Oksana said...

Awesome pictures Andrew!