Mount Assiniboine is one of the finest peaks to climb in the Canadian Rockies. It is often compared to the Matterhorn and whilst there is a similarity with that famous peak, Mt. Assiniboine’s beautiful isolation high above Lake Magog give it a character that is entirely unique.
A climb of Mt. Assiniboine with a certified Yamnuska mountain guide can be the experience of a lifetime. If you’d like to climb Mt. Assiniboine with a Yamnuska guide this prospectus will give you a sense for what is is about. Once decided, we can confirm arrangements for this terrific mountaineering adventure.
Mount Assiniboine is located 30 km SW of Canmore on the main divide of the Canadian Rockies. It sits on the border of Banff National Park and British Columbia’s Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. The southern most of the major peaks in the Canadian Rockies, the triangular pyramid of Mt. Assiniboine dominates this section of the divide. It is 11,876 feet high (3618m) and was first climbed in 1901 by a guided party.
Mount Assiniboine is a serious and often difficult mountain to climb. It is frequently underestimated. There is substantial exposure and rock fall hazard. In dry conditions it is technically straight forward. More likely though, it will be snowed or iced up and the climbing will be very challenging. This is not a peak for beginner mountaineers or alpine climbers.
The most popular route on the 11,867ft. (3618m) mountain is the North Ridge. This 3,000ft. ridge is steep and exposed without being too technically difficult. Initially you will move with the guide up a series of gullies and climb a rock band before reaching the ridge crest which is followed to the ‘Red Band’. Once there you will be climbing fifth class rock for several hundred feet to the corniced summit. The view from the summit is truly incredible.
Climbing time is anywhere from 12 to 15 hours return from the Hind Hut.
Weather Note: Given its elevation and position on the divide, Mt Assiniboine is subject to lightening storms, snow, high winds, poor visibility and squalls. Snow can fall mid summer and the mountain can be out of condition for days or weeks at a time. If the conditions are not ideal for a summit attempt, we can opt to use the time to to climb local rock or alpine objectives. Please see additional information under our logistics tab.
The following package costs include guide fees, hut fees, out trip meals and helicopter flights. Should it be necessary to drive to Mt. Shark Helipad from Canmore an extra charge may apply if you do not have your own vehicle. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, nut free or any similar type of single restriction menu requests there will be a $15/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $25/day surcharge will apply. For any 3 restrictions a $30/day surcharge will apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
A federal 5% Goods & Services (GST) is not included. It is possible to hike out and not use the helicopter, which will reduce the price accordingly should you choose this option.
- Three-day for one person: $3325. Friday to Sunday, Wednesday to Friday.
- Four-day for one person: $3935. Sunday to Wednesday.
- Five-day for one person: $4645. Wednesday to Sunday.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Guides and Guide Ratios
Our guides are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guide. We operate within the ‘terrain guidelines’ of the ACMG. The lead guide will be an internationally qualified (UIAGM/ACMG) mountain guide. Other guides (if required for more climbers) will be at least qualified assistant guides (ACMG). It is vastly preferable to have a one-on-one guide ratio.
Accommodation and Food
We climb from the Hind Hut located at the very base of Mt. Assiniboine’s North Ridge at an elevation of 8,700 ft. The hut is a basic sheet metal mountain shelter equipped with sleeping platforms, stove and ‘foamies’. We bring food and sleeping bags. Hut fees and out trip meals are included in our price. For guests with dietary restrictions, we are able to modify the program food pack to meet your individual needs. As food pricing and preparation for these diets is more costly, we have implemented the following surcharges. For vegan, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, nut free or any similar type of single restriction menu requests there will be a $15/day surcharge. For a diet requiring any 2 restrictions a $25/day surcharge will apply. For any 3 restrictions a $30/day surcharge will apply. Vegetarian meals will not be surcharged. For more complex diets our kitchen staff will assess the restrictions to inform you if the diet can be accommodated and what surcharge would apply.
Afterwards you may like to stay on and enjoy the great hiking in the Assiniboine Meadows area. This is a terrific area to enjoy with family and friends. Camping is available at the Lake Magog campground or, if you book very far in advance, stay at world-famous Mount Assiniboine Lodge. Accommodation in Canmore is not included. A variety of accommodation options exist in both Canmore and Banff, including campsites, hostels, all levels of hotels as well as condo style accommodation with kitchens or suites. We recommend that you book your own pre and post-trip accommodations well in advance as all levels of accommodations in the Bow Valley fill quickly.
Getting to Canmore and Mount Assiniboine
Canmore is the nearest town to the helicopter base and hiking staging points for Mt Assiniboine. It is 100km west of Calgary on the Trans Canada Highway.
Frequent shuttles connect Calgary International Airport and Canmore.
To get to Mount Assiniboine it is more cost effective to fly to Assiniboine Meadows at the base of the peak. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (Mondays on holiday weekends) a helicopter shuttle service operates from Canmore and Shark Mountain (45 minutes drive S.W. of Canmore towards the peak). Please note that there may be an extra charge for transport to Shark Mountain if required. The cost of the helicopter shuttle is included in our charge.
Once at Assiniboine Meadows it is a further 4 hours hike and scramble to reach the Hind Hut, our base for the summit climb.
What if Assiniboine is out of condition?
Mount Assiniboine is very weather prone and may be completely out of condition at any time in the summer for days or weeks at a time. When this happens it is possible to climb on other peaks in the Rockies that remain in condition (lower rock peaks or snow and ice routes) so we cannot guarantee a summit attempt of Mt. Assiniboine. In the event of Mt. Assiniboine being clearly out of condition we will organize an alternate climbing program for you and will use the helicopter fees included in the package to defray any new expenses with the balance being refunded to you. Once the trip and guide are confirmed, unfortunately we cannot provide a refund if Mt Assiniboine is unclimbable but we will develop another excellent alternative given our vast experience in the Canadian Rockies.
Clothing and Gear Lists
Group safety & technical gear (e.g. ropes & rack) is included in the fee. You will need to supply personal clothing and gear (e.g. ice axe, crampons, helmet & harness). Some of these items can be rented and the cost included in your package price.
Yamnuska has a full range of climbing and camping gear for rent.
We suggest layers of light, easily carried clothing that allow for fast and easy adjustment to best suit fast changing temperature conditions. We discourage cotton clothing as it causes rapid heat loss when wet. Feel free to call us if you have any questions about what to bring. This list covers items needed for all likely conditions during the mountaineering season. Your guide will go through your clothing and gear with you prior to the climb.
You will need to bring:
- LONG UNDERWEAR, top and bottom, polypro, wool, capilene or fleece.
- WOOL/BLEND SOCKS (extra pairs).
- Warm LONG PANTS to climb in. These should be wool/nylon blend knickers, fleece pants, nylon exercise pants with light long johns or wool trousers.
- Light SHIRT or T-SHIRT.
- Wool or fleece LONG SLEEVE SHIRT with collar.
- FLEECE SWEATER (medium weight).
- Heavyweight fleece or insulated JACKET.
- Water proof OUTER JACKET with hood (Gore-Tex).
- Waterproof OUTER PANTS, preferably with sidezips on legs.
- Waterproof knee-length GAITERS that will fit over large boots .
- Waterproof mountaineering GLOVES or wool / fleece mitts /gloves plus waterproof overmitts.
- WARM HAT (that covers ears).
- SUNHAT with wide brim.
- NECK TUBE.
You will need to bring: (Items in blue are available to rent from Yamnuska)
- SLEEPING BAG. In summer the huts don’t get too cold so don’t bring a winter bag. We suggest a bag rated down to 0 degrees Celsius (32 F.) but if your bag doesn’t quite get down that far don’t worry too much. Make sure you bring a stuff sac that will reduce your bag to its minimum size (i.e. one with compression straps) so you don’t use up all the room in your pack.
- BACKPACK. Big enough to fit extra clothing, sleeping bag, share of food, and cooking gear. Internal frame packs are most comfortable.
- MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS. Ideally these should be proper leather mountaineering boots with either a semi-rigid or a rigid sole. It is possible to buy boots such as the La Sportiva “Trango” which is designed specifically for alpine rock and which can take a crampon. We suggest bringing a pair of comfortably fitting rock shoes as well. They will increase enjoyment on more technical rock. As always the most important feature of a mountaineering boot is comfort. Different brands seem to suit different feet. If buying try a few different pairs and if they are not comfortable don’t buy them. There are many good brands. They include Asolo, Kayland, Koflach, la Sportiva and Scarpa.
- DAYPACK. Optional but good idea if backpack too unwieldy for advanced climbs. Large enough to carry spare clothing, lunch, water and climbing gear.
- ICE AXE. A regular glacier axe minimum 55cm length.
- CRAMPONS. Must fit your boots.
- HARNESS. Sit harness preferred.
- SUNGLASSES with good UV protection, we suggest ‘glacier glasses’.
- Extra Strength SUN CREAM.
- Lip Cream.
- HEADLAMP with fresh batteries.
- WATERBOTTLE (1L minimum).
- POCKET KNIFE.
- BLISTER KIT (‘moleskin’, ‘Second Skin’)
- FIRST-AID Items (band-aids, ibuprofen & aspirin / Tylenol is enough as guides have a kit also).
- CAMERA and spare film.
- TREKKING POLE (S) (optional).
- EAR PLUGS for dorm sleeping.
We supply the following items, but if you have your own, please feel free to bring along – Your rack, gear sling, nut pick, belay device, prussick slings, locking biners, your guide will go through this with you to decide exactly which items you should carry on the climb.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a deposit of 35% of the total program cost with the balance due 8 weeks before the program start date. Please read the booking conditions and cancellation penalties carefully before booking.
We ask that you familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss this climb.
If you need any rental gear please let us know early to ensure its availability.
We highly recommend the Simpson Group cancellation/trip interruption insurance.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travelers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
There may be a charge for rescue/evacuation from Assiniboine Provincial Park. It is advisable to check if your personal health insurance covers you for this potential cost.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
Cancellation Insurance available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
Mt. Assiniboine is not a climb for beginners. We require that you have recent alpine mountaineering experience (or extensive multi-pitch rock experience) beforehand and you will need to complete our experience questionnaire upon booking. When making your booking we can advise you as to the feasibility of your attempting this peak.
This is one of the most expensive objectives in the Rockies. If you have any doubts as to the suitability of this objective then it may be wise to take a guide for another climb first. We have several excellent options if Mt Assiniboine is beyond your price or ability range.
The minimum time it will take to climb Mt Assiniboine is three days. One day to fly to Assiniboine Meadows and to climb to the Hind Hut, the next day for the ascent and the final day to descend to the Meadows from where you can fly or walk out. The problem with such a short time is that weather may be bad on your climbing day leaving you with no spare days. We suggest you take a guide for at least four if not five days so as to allow extra time for the ascent and variable weather. In the event of being able to do the climb on the first available day then there are several other peaks in the area you can climb as well.
Mount Assiniboine can be climbed anytime June through September but remember that conditions may prevent climbing on the peak at any time in those months. The best time seems to be from mid-July to late August. In some years heavy spring snows may result in the peak being a snow climb through most of the summer. Summer snowstorms can put the peak ‘out of condition’ at any time. We must emphasize that bad weather and conditions are possible at any time and consequently we cannot guarantee a summit climb or easy conditions.