2016 Mt Assiniboine Training Camp

Black Jack Ski Club Trip to Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park

July 25-30, 2016

By: Lukas Piggot (Track Attack)

In the last week of July, some members of the Track Attack group from Black Jack Ski Club went on a hiking trip into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.  The group consisted of six children, ranging in age from 9 to 12, accompanied by seven parents and Track Attack coach, Fred Bushell.

Eager and keen young Track Attackers began the 22 km hike from the base of Sunshine ski village into Og Lake on Day 1.  The weather was beautiful and after about 5 km, the group got a good view of their goal: Mt. Assiniboine, rising majestically in the distance.    After a full day of hiking, everyone made it to the campsite at Og Lake for the first night.

On Day 2, the group hiked into Mt Assiniboine Lodge and to the Lake Magog campsite at the base of Mt Assiniboine.  Despite a bear spray testing incident early in the day, in which it was confirmed that the spray worked very well. they kept going and made the hike into Mt. Assiniboine in great time.  After setting up camp, they went up for a shorter hike up to the Niblet with a spectacular view of Mt Assiniboine and all the peaks and lakes in the vicinity.

On Day 3, the group hiked up to Windy Ridge – a 17 km day hike to a ridge that straddles Banff National Park and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.  The group made it to the very top of the peak, scrambling the last 100 meters. Once again, the views were spectacular – both of Mt Assiniboine and its neighbouring glaciers and the emerald green Lake Magog.

On Day 4, it was already time to return and the kids were sad to leave the beautiful natural playground of Mt Assiniboine.   It was a 27 km hike out to Mount Shark Trailhead where the Black Jack Team Van was awaiting.  The return trip took them over Mt Assiniboine Pass, down to Peter Lougheed Park, finishing at Mt Shark.

All in all the grouped hiked 84 km over 4 days and the children showed tremendous fortitude and perseverance all the way to the end. They delighted in the flowers and the signs they saw in nature, taking lots of the pictures including the ones you see here.  They sang songs that stuck in everyone’s heads for days afterward.  They played high powered UNO card games late into the night and even in the van across rows of seating and backpacks.

The adults were impressed by the energy of the kids and did their best to keep up with them.  They proved to themselves what they could do, and they had fun while doing it.  Their achievement and the memories of this beautiful place will live on for a long time.

~ Lukas Piggot


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