In my rant on the Mount Fortune trip I made it pretty clear what I think of invented peak names. So why did I climb one and put it on my summit list the very next day?! Because if other's list and count it as a separate peak I guess I have to too. And because "Little Lawson", just like "Red Ridge" and other less prominent peaks are actually listed in published guidebooks and have hiking trails to the summits above - basically they're "official", "unofficial" summits. And Kev Papke needed a 50th summit to end his quest for 50 peaks in his 50th year as a noble fundraising effort for summitsforseniors.ca. And who actually gives a crap about summits anyway? ;)
On Sunday March 10, Kev Papke completed his quest for the 50 peaks and Raf and I were there to join him. It was fitting that I was there for the last one considering I was there almost a year ago on the first one - Mount Habel! Little Lawson is more correctly also known as the "South end of Lawson" - a prominent peak on the south end of the ridge leading up to Mount Lawson and Inflexible from the Spray Lakes road approach.
We parked near the snowshoe trail and followed the road to the dam as the guidebook suggests. We were following another group of three from the parking area and here we diverged from the book a bit. On hindsight it's much simpler to take the snowshoe trail into the bush before reaching the very end of the road and simply turn left almost immediately and access the ridge this way. There will probably be tracks.
[We're too far here - we should have gone to the right at the snowshoe sign about 30 meters back on the trail.]
We followed an old trail (snowed and blown in) all the way to the upper ridge. This was pure heaven compared to the day before on Mount Fortune! We passed the group of three and charged up the slopes, reaching the false summit fairly quickly. The day was turning out to be much nicer than we were expecting - there was almost no wind at the top.
[A beautiful day for Kev's 50th summit!]
[Raf follows my track as we break tree line and start to lose the trail thanks to drifting snow.]
[The views start opening up behind us.]
[Kev is happy to be almost done! Kananaskis Lakes in the background.]
[There are some steeper sections on the ridge and some slight elevation loss / gains too.]
[The views south and east keep getting better and better.]
[Still some elevation to gain! This is not the true summit.]
[Looking back at the dip in the ridge and hwy 40 far below.]
[Nearing the false summit.]
We took off the 'shoes at the false summit and made our way delicately to the true summit only 5 minutes away. Unless you're comfortable with some exposure and really need to claim the summit I wouldn't bother with this extra traverse due to the risk of a fall off the east side through the cornice.
We celebrated with Kev and took lots of photos of the Opal Range Peaks before heading down. Our round trip time of 4 hours demonstrates how much difference a trail makes compared to Fortune's 7 hours the day before! Little Lawson is an easy outing that can be done in most winter conditions - even solo.
[Almost at the false summit.]
[Looking back at Raf on the false summit just after I crossed the 'difficult' section. It's not bad, but if you're not used to exposure you probably won't love it.]
[Kev on NUMBER 50!! YEAH!!! Mount Lawson in the back ground.]
[Vern and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.]
[Mist Mountain and Mount Lipsett loom to the left over Mount Wintour]
[Summit pano looking east and north includes Denny, Grizzly, Potts, Evan-Thomas, Packenham and King Creek Ridge.]
[Ready to descend from the false summit.]
CONGRATS to Kev for his 50 summits and even more importantly for raising $150,000+ for seniors care in Alberta. That is an achievement worth celebrating IMHO!