The standard route on Assiniboine was climbed by William Douglas and a strong team of guides. Christian Hasler had already descended the route two years before. Hasler was one of Whymper's guides from the Matterhorn, thirty-eight years earlier. (Chris Jones, Climbing in North America
, 1976)(Randy Morse, The Mountains of Canada
, 1978) ROUTE DESCRIPTION
Gmoser's Highway ("mosers") is the start of serious terrain. I once watched some gnarly East Face candidates rappel the scary snow gully to climbers left, after using Gmoser's on the way up. They had huge packs. I don't recommend the gully. Instead, lower your big pack down the upper headwall, 30' of steep jugs (5.0) with a landing that might save you. The crux of the lower traverse is the less difficult, but more exposed. A roped fall could be very dangerous. Have the rack ready, even though a fixed pin may be found at the low end belay.
Do not drink any of the water found along Gmoser's Highway, the streams below the hut are polluted and have strange leech like worms. The RC Hind hut is one of the higher huts in the Rockies. Tenting on the huts flat spot may still be allowed. Make arrangements for the RC Hind Hut
with the Assiniboine Lodge, easily searched on the web.
From the Hind Hut, cross moraines over to the north ridge and climb right of snow, along the easy part of the ridge. Cut left, on snow, around the first cliff band. A long scramble up debris covered slabs leads to the first hard part, the red band
After the Red Band pitch, pick your way carefully up rubble covered ledges for a few hundred feet. This part is seen in the photo above.
The crux climbing is passing the Gray Band
. Some teams solo all the way to the Gray Band and then do a 50 foot pitch. Above, a short rock rib is easily climbed to the summit ridge. Be on guard. Trapdoor summit cornices have claimed lives.
Descent is by careful down-climbing and some rappels
. Lots of fixed anchors are in place, but not all get used. Pulling rappel ropes can cause rockfall.
On a busy day, moving cautiously
, communicating with neighbors, and waiting in safe zones can help prevent accidents.