OverviewLunette Peak is an obscure outlier on the South Ridge of Mount Assiniboine. Although only really a bump on the South Ridge, it is an officially designated separate peak and on the list of Canadian Rockies 11,000 foot summits. Lunette Peak has a summit elevation of 3400 metres (11,155 feet). The prominence from the Mt. Assiniboine/Lunette Peak col to the summit of Lunette Peak is only 40 metres (130 feet) with an approximately isolation between the summits of Assiniboine and Lunette of 600 metres (1970 feet).
||This incredible aerial photo was taken by Steph Abegg on Sept. 24, 2011. This image provides excellent detail for South-West Face of Mt. Assiniboine, and the outlier summit of Lunette Peak. The extensive summit cornice on the Mt. Assiniboine is catching the morning light. The summit of Lunette Peak is the high point on the right hand (south) ridgeline.
Special thanks to Steph for permission to use this superb photo.
Why this summit has an official separate name is not completely clear, but local speculation is that it relates to the timing and circumstance of the first ascent of Mt. Assiniboine. Mt. Assiniboine is very prominent in the Southern Rockies and many 19th and 20th century mountaineers longed to claim the first ascent of this beautiful peak. There was strong competition between several local guides and visiting client mountaineers to reach the summit of Mt. Assiniboine first, but the first party to attain this summit, lead by the determined Swiss guides, Christian Bohren and Christian Hasler with their lone client, James Outram in 1901; had to return to the main summit the next day. On their first attempt this team climbed into thick clouds and continued to the summit of Lunette Peak. At first the team thought they had reached the elusive summit of Mt. Assiniboine, but the barometer readings and the echoes off the cliffs of Assiniboine revealed their lower position.
They returned to base camp and attained the main summit of Mt. Assiniboine the next day, via the South West Face and descent down the North Ridge. Outram referred to the lower summit as “Lost Peak” which was officially named Lunette Peak by the Interprovincial Boundary Survey in 1913. The Interprovincial Boundary Survey determined the exact location of the boundary between the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, mostly along the continental divide. Likely the survey team thought the outlier deserved an official name to reflect its moment in Canadian mountaineering history. The application of the name of Lunette is unknown, but thought to be related to the French word for telescope or glasses, lunette.
Getting ThereSince Lunette Peak is essentially the south summit of Mt. Assiniboine, the approach is the same as Assiniboine. If only ascending Lunette Peak, the approach via Assiniboine Creek is the only realistic approach. If combining a climb of Mt. Assiniboine and Lunette Peak (highly recommended) either the Lake Magog or the Assiniboine Creek approach is viable. Mt. Assiniboine/Lunette Peak is located on the continental divide, so partly in Alberta (Banff National Park) and British Columbia (Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park). The standard and most used approach for Mt. Assiniboine is from the shores of Lake Magog, and for less energetic parties, via helicopter to the Assiniboine Lodge helipad.
Assiniboine Creek Approach
Dow’s description for the approach up Assiniboine Creek provides excellent information for both the drive to the parking area near Aurora Creek and the hike to the R.C. Hind Hut. If traversing Mt. Assiniboine to Lunette Peak, a night stay at the R.C. Hind Hut is recommended. Hike to the hut from the Aurora Creek parking area takes 5 to 6 hours and is approximately 11 km. If only ascending Lunette Peak, at the obvious and cairned Y intersection, about 4.5 kilometres from the parking area, turn right (east) to follow Lunette Creek to Lunette Lake. Once at Lunette Lake, continue North East towards the South Slopes of Lunette Peak. Great bivy locations at tree line with lots of water available, approximately GR943345.
Magog Lake approach
Red Tape / Camping and BivouacsMt. Assiniboine/Lunette Peak is located on the continental divide, so partly in Alberta (Banff National Park) and British Columbia (Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park). No permit is required to park or climb in either park. Bivying in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, above Lunette Lake, does not require a pass or fee. Camping in designated backcountry campgrounds and cabins in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park does require prepayment. See link for more information.
Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Reservations for the R.C. Hind Hut must be made through the Assiniboine Lodge.
When to ClimbTypical Canadian Rockies situation with July and August usually providing the best conditions for high elevation climbing. Often September and October have stable and dry weather, but conditions can change dramatically. Fall climbing does provide colder temperatures for snow climbing, but with less snow for climbing and bridging of crevasses. We had perfect, essentially snow and ice free conditions, in late September.
One route has been documented to reach the summit of Lunette Peak. A traverse of Mt. Assiniboine descending to Lunette Peak, or parties continuing to the summit of Assiniboine from the Lunette Col are common.
- South West Face, Alpine II
We descended the SW Face September 2012, the lower section below the orange face had many cairns, some with paint and flagging. There were several lines marked, all were Class 3 or easy Class 4.
On our ascent there were no cairns or obvious signs of travel above the orange face. We gained the horizontal ledges just below the col (about 10 metres) and had to attempt several lines to finally access the summit block.
ReferenceBill Corbett’s book, The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies, provides a comprehensive climber’s guide and history to the 54 11,000-foot peaks in the Canadian Rockies.
11,000'ers of the Canadian Rockies