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Lunette Peak

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Lunette Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Alberta/British Columbia, Canada, North America

Lat/Lon: 50.86535°N / 115.65001°W

Object Title: Lunette Peak

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Elevation: 11155 ft / 3400 m

 

Page By: Old School WB

Created/Edited: Oct 17, 2012 / Feb 22, 2013

Object ID: 820583

Hits: 1806 

Page Score: 88.19%  - 26 Votes 

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Overview

Lunette 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 There

Since 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



If traversing Mt. Assiniboine enroute to Lunette Peak; the Magog Lake approach can be used. Shortest hike to Magog Lake is via Bryant Creek to Assiniboine Pass, from the parking lot along the Smith-Dorrien Road in Spray Valley Provincial Park (75 km south of Canmore) the hike is 25 km to Magog Lake. Parties with less pride, time or too much money can helicopter to Assiniboine Lodge. Once at the lake, follow a trail along the west side taking a right fork beyond the end of lake that leads to a left raising scree traverse. Follow the scree trail, well right of the main gully (usually full of snow) to a series of well cairned ledges that head left towards the main gully. Just before the top of the gully, head straight up the slope and soon to the hut.





If only climbing Lunette Peak, likely you would not want to approach from Magog Lake. One can climb Lunette Peak without ascending Mt. Assiniboine, from the R.C. Hind Hut, via the Mt. Sturdee/Mt. Assiniboine Col, but the approach from Lunette Lake is much shorter and does not require glacier travel. This approach, from Magog Lake, to Lunette Peak, and Mt. Assiniboine, via Sturdee Col, was used by the first ascent party in 1901.



Red Tape / Camping and Bivouacs

Mt. 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.

Assiniboine Lodge


When to Climb

Typical 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.

Route Description




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



Upper section (usually termed West Face) was the line of the first ascent in September 1901. From bivy site above Lunette Lake, round the low cliff band on the right (south) and head to a long gully, usually snow until late August. Climb the gully or loose right hand edge. At the top of the gully continue up easy terrain, when the angle lessens onto a plateau, here, head left across the plateau about halfway up, turn upwards to ascend small steps to a basin (can be wet). Then upwards over easy rock and snow towards a prominent and large orange face. At the orange face, head right to the end of the orange wall, up, then traverse left to gain terrain above the orange block.


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.



From top of orange block head leftwards towards the minor Assiniboine/Lunette Col. Nearing the col, climb snow/ice gully to col, or ascend easy rock ledges to right of gully. Just below the col, climb steep Class 4 rock on edge of snow and main gully to gain horizontal ledges right of col. Once on easy scree ledges, traverse right to gain rock bands below summit. A variety of lines are possible, but climbing should be easy (Class 4) and usually not require a rope. Final summit block is solid, but difficult Class 4. Descend the same way.


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.

Reference

Bill 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

Images