With one last day to spend in the Assiniboine region, Brianne and I hoped that the weather would continue to cooperate so that we could bag one more summit while in the area. Thanks to an excellent trip report from Soistheman, I was keen to take a shot at The Towers over Wonder Pass and despite the fact that her hip was quite sore from the long trek in and the two’fer yesterday, Brianne still seemed eager too.
The night was frigid (as evidenced by this frost on the tent)! Over breakfast, the park custodian informed us that the temperature overnight had dipped to -6 degrees Celsius. Brianne is definitely going to think twice the next time that I suggest a "summer vacation".
Despite the cold night, the morning sky was crystal clear and we awoke to postcard-worth views of Mount Assiniboine!
Magog morning panorama: Naiset Point, Terrapin Mountain, Mount Magog, Mount Assiniboine, Wedgwood Peak and Sunburst Peak. Click to see larger.
Sunburst Peak on the right of the Assiniboine massif.
Crossing Magog Creek en route to Wonder Pass and, eventually, The Towers.
Our objective for the day: The Towers "towering" above Gog Creek.
Nice waterfall en route to the Towers. After 4 days in the back-country hiking and scrambling, it was tempting to use it as a shower!
The view to the north from Wonder Pass (a good place to lose your shoes). Nestor Peak, Nub Peak, the Nublet, Citadel Peak, Golden Mountain and Og Mountain.
Wonder Peak on the east side of Wonder Pass.
The Towers to the other side of the pass.
Moon over Naiset Point.
Boulder-hopping at the foot of the Towers just south of Wonder Pass. There is a trail most of the way up The Towers, however, you have to cross this boulder field before you’ll find it!
Brianne ascending typical terrain (steep but easy) required to gain the southeast ridge.
A scenic cornice marks the start of The Towers' southeast ridge.
Once on the ridge, we were treated to stunning views of steep glaciers on the Assiniboine massif.
After boulder hopping and a scenic scree plod, the final 150 vertical meters of the ridge proved to be fun and interesting moderate scrambling!
Typical terrain higher up.
On top! The view of Mounts Eon and Aye from the summit of The Towers is unparalleled!
"The Agony of Miss Stone" recalls the tragic story of Eon Mountain's first ascent: "A statement isolated between a question it poses; a question unanswered - how she endured seven days on the mountain. Her husband fell from the summit of Eon into death's isolation. "I can see nothing higher" he had shouted from the mountain's height, then fell..."
At the Eon-Aye col, their glaciers merge and the resulting melt water pools in this stunning tarn at their base before, ultimately, flowing down into Gloria Lake.
Vividly colored Gloria Lake.
Great company on one of my favorite summits to date
Magog and Gog Lakes to the north.
We had been very keen at the prospect of being able to purchase beers from the Assiniboine Lodge when we were planning our trip, however, as you can see, the Lodge was closed for reconstruction for the entire 2011 season. They have no idea how much business they missed out on from us!
Sunburst peak, site of yesterday’s second summit, on the other side of Magog Lake.
Assiniboine Pass panorama from the summit of The Towers. Click to see larger.
Distant Banff Park giants: Ball and Temple.
A beautiful day to sign a summit register!
Looking east past Wonder Peak to prominent Kananaskis Country peaks: Mounts Sparrowhawk (just left of center) and Bogart (right).
I couldn't believe how many familiar K-Country peaks were visible from this remote summit! I was so overjoyed identifying them all that I just had to hug someone!
The Tower and Mount Galatea to the east. The tail end of Spray Lake is visible in the bottom left.
Even distant 11,000ers Mount Sir Douglas (left) and Mount Joffre (right) were visible beyond Mount Byng (center)!
After the 29 km hike in with heavy packs and 3 peaks in 2 days, she may be exhausted, but chocolate still elicits a smile!
The real show stealer: the beautiful east face of Mount Assiniboine behind Terrapin Mountain and Mount Magog.
Little hikers on the Wonder Pass trail far below.
One of the finest summit panoramas I've seen: from Kananaskis to Assiniboine. Click to see larger.
I ♥ Assiniboine!
The snowy summit of the highest peak in the southern Canadian Rockies.
Brianne got jealous of Assiniboine and I, resulting in a lover's quarrel. We couldn't bear to be in the same province as one another anymore, so I made my way back into Alberta.
Having soaked in enough sun, it was time to head down. Brianne high above Marvel Pass on the other side of Gloria and Terrapin Lakes.
Down climbing The Towers.
A massive pinnacle that would have been tempting to climb on descent had we been crazy...
Back down in scenic Wonder Pass - now, where did Brianne leave her running shoes?
Looking back at The Towers - it's easy to see how the peak got its name from this vantage.
Enjoying the beautiful wildflower display on the way back to camp at Magog Lake.
Finishing the last of our vodka back at camp - no point carrying any extra weight tomorrow on our long hike back to civilization!