After completing a truncated version of the Cautley Traverse (missing Cascade Rock and Wonder Peak), I found myself a bit dissatisfied with the idea of simply heading back to my camp at Lake Magog. I was feeling disappointed with being turned back on Gibraltar Rock as well. It felt like I had over-complicated what should have been an easy traverse and on hindsight, I had indeed done just that! Cascade Rock was easy hiking on the north end of the traverse (not the south), and Wonder Peak could be accessed via a hidden chimney on climber’s right of the seemingly impenetrable cliffs blocking the route from Ely’s Dome.
After being turned around on a traverse from Mount Cautley to Gibraltar Rock and somehow completely screwing up where Cascade Rock was, I started the traverse south from the summit of Cautley, heading towards Ely’s Dome and what I thought was the traverse from it, to Cascade Rock. Confused yet? Apparently, so was I…
I woke up on Sunday, September 25 2016 in the Lake Magog Campground and poked my head out of my tent only to be immediately disappointed. This was supposed to be the day of my long-awaited Mount Cautley Traverse – 4 new peaks in one stretch – all located along the same, fairly easy ridge and all with stunning views over the Mount Assiniboine area, including of course, the mighty Matterhorn of the Rockies.
Ever since scrambling Nub Peak, Wonder Peak, Og Mountain and Cave Mountain back in 2008, I’ve wanted to go back to the Mount Assiniboine area and bag a few other scrambles. It took way longer than expected, but finally in 2016 I managed to get another trip into the area. After a long and tiring approach the day before via Sunshine Meadows and a morning ascent of the lowly Chucks Ridge, I was ready for Sunburst Peak in the afternoon.
After a long and tougher-than-expected approach the day before, I woke up on Saturday, September 24 after a night of rain and snow shower, with the plan to hike a local ridge I’d noticed on the map called “Chucks Ridge”, followed by a scramble up Sunburst Peak. Both of these objectives are located near the Lake Magog campground and both of them could presumably be done with some snow.
There are various approaches to Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and I’ve now done a number of them, excepting the easiest (from the air) and some of the more obscure ones. This is a brief description of each of the four routes I’ve done, and two that I haven’t, with a final comparison matrix at the end. These are also detailed at the Mount Assiniboine Lodge website. One short section of the climber’s access route that I haven’t done (yet) is the Gmoser Ledges from the Lake Magog Campground to the Hind Hut. You can find more details of that route here. My GPS route for that section is a guess at best.
Ever since I first backpacked into the Mount Assiniboine area in early September 2008 from Mount Shark, I’ve wanted to go back in larch season – sometime in the last two weeks of September. I did go back to the area on September 22, 2012 but avoided most of the larches by going in via Settler’s Road and Assiniboine Lake before climbing Mount Assiniboine and Lunette Peak from the Hind Hut and returning via the same route. In 2015 I thought I’d be going back and for some reason or another it didn’t pan out. In 2016 I was absolutely determined to make the hike and scramble trip work out.
I’ve been dreaming of the Matterhorn of the Rockies since I first laid eyes on her while on a hiking trip to the area in 2008. I never actually thought I’d be climbing its NE ridge but it was fun to imagine! Towering over everything in its vicinity and visible from almost every prominent peak in south Banff and Kananaskis , Mount Assiniboine is a big, beautiful mountain that has inspired climbers from all over the world to test its charms.
Rod and I set off from the Jones Naiset Cabin around 16:00 on Thursday, September 4th under a mostly cloudy sky. There was very little wind and quite a bit of snow on the surrounding peaks but we were confident we could either scramble up Wonder Peak or The Towers and return before dark. The trail up to Wonder Pass went by quickly and was an easy 200 meters of height gain out of the way.
I was pleasantly surprised when Yolande and Hanneke both said they would try hiking Nub Peak with us, I thought they might want a break after Wednesday’s grind into camp. It was later than I would have preferred for a morning start, but by 10:00 we were on the trail. The day was clearing up beautifully and I couldn’t resist some more pictures across Lake Magog on our way past it.
My annual fall scrambling / hiking trip took place from September 3rd to the 6th in 2008. Along for the ride was my brother Rod, cousin Jon and his wife Yolande (also known as George for some reason) and Hanneke, my wife. We were all pretty excited to be trying another new area (for us) of the Rockies – the Mount Assiniboine area of British Columbia.