If you start in the middle, getting to the edges seems to be more fun. Mount Assiniboine is all about starting in the middle, where the North American continent is divided between east and west, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Add luxury to the adventure and stay at the world famous Mount Assiniboine Lodge, which is only accessible by helicopter, on foot, or on skis, is located next to Banff National Park.
Ambitious tourists can take a helicopter journey from Canmore, Alberta to the lodge, which actually located in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park in neighboring British Columbia. There, visitors have endless opportunities to play in the Rockies, be it on snowshoes, skis, rocks or rivers.
Historically, the lodge, which is located at 7,200 feet, was built built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1928. The mountain retreat retains much of that rustic mountain-man sensation today, and provides space for thirty guests per night.
At 3,618 m (11,870 ft), Mount Assiniboine is the highest peak in the Southern Continental Ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Due to Assiniboine’s pyramidal shape, it has been unofficially named the “Matterhorn” of North America.
Mt. Assiniboine was actually named by George M. Dawson in 1885. Dawson saw Mt. Assiniboine from Copper Mountain, he saw a plume of clouds trailing away from the top. This reminded him of the plumes of smoke emanating from the teepees of Assiniboine Indians.
Mt. Assiniboine is not without its own history. The mountain was first climbed in 1901 by James Outram, Christian Bohren and Christian Hasler. On August 27, 2001, Bohren’s granddaughter Lonnie along with three others made a successful ascent, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first ascent.
Assiniboine Lodge is now owned by B.C. Parks and has been managed by Sepp and Barb Renner since 1983. The Renner’s family-run operation provides affordable full-service packages at the lodge which include all meals, lodging, winter and summer guiding and helicopter access.
If there are other mountain men out there who look to climb Mt. Assiniboine, the Lodge also manages the Hind Hut, or the climbers hut leading to the mountain’s summit. Here, some 15 climbers can catch some Z’s before heading into the wild.
If you don’t think you will climb the mountain alone, the Lodge offers guided trips with certified mountain guides on skis as well as hiking. It took me a while, but I finally found somebody who could get me up to the Assiniboine base camp.