Mount Assiniboine Continued
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This fellow, Dimitri, was from New York and was wearing plastic boots. These boots are great for glaciers and ice routes, but too clunky for thousands of feet of scramble/rock route. He made it just fine anyway.
Approaching the crux step. Slings are in place from an earlier party, as are a few fixed pins.
Bob leading the crux step. We're getting serious now, got the rope on, got a belay set up. Bob led in fine style: Didn't even get his knees dirty!
At the crux rock step (about 5.5-ish) we belayed and Bob put in a bit of protection for one ropelength of our 9mm rope. If this route is not snow-free, there are several other parts where it is necessary to belay and accordingly, the route becomes much more serious, requiring crampons too. Fortunately, we were blessed with ideal conditions.
The last few hundred feet is simply a walk along the ridge to the snowcapped top. A large cornice protrudes over the east face, a quick, but unforgiving way down if you walk out on it. Views from the top were fabulous. We dawdled and took 6.5 hours up. One fellow wore plastic boots but found them a poor choice for Rockies rubble.
On Assiniboine. A huge cornice often overhangs the east face so you can't safely walk to the very highest point. One person died many years ago here by stepping through this cornice and falling to his death.
Rappelling a rockband on the descent, with Marvel Lake far below. We rappelled in three places, but when I realized I'd left my ice-axe above at the rap station, I had to climb back up to get it, then downclimbed it to rejoin my friends. I guess we didn't really need to rap that one after all. By comparison, some Squamish rock-jocks didn't like the loose rock and did 10 rappels; a Quebecois group attempted to belay going up and never did reach the top. We were back at the hut by suppertime, taking about 6.5 hours for descent.
Assiniboine's North ridge is a fine climb, fairly loose in places but much scrambling if dry. The trip is usually done in 3 days; seldom less. Parties normally walk out via Bryant Creek (a long day), which we did, in an August snow storm, no less. It took 12 hours out.
This was one of the early Rockies 11,000 footers I climbed and at that time, I looked forward to climbing others like Goodsir, Edith Cavell and maybe even Robson someday. Back then I hadn't heard much about Mounts Rainier or Whitney but they too would later be on my list. When I wasn't trying to climb the bigger peaks or nursing a bad back, I'd be out scrambling up mountains --- less taxing than climbing.
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