Summit Elevation (m): 2910
Trip Date: Saturday, September 3, 2005
Elevation Gain (m): 2050
Round Trip Time (hr): unknown
Total Trip Distance (km): 22
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you break something
Difficulty Notes: This was done as part of a three peak, high-line traverse involving loose scree, moderate scrambling and intense winds.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
On September 3 2005 I dragged my brother, Rod and two of my cousins, Tony and Jon up and around the Hawkins Horseshoe in Waterton National Park. It was a clear but extremely windy day. I must admit that all of them performed admirably, especially my brother who was on about 2 hours of sleep due to a screwed up Air Canada flight.
I have to be honest about this scramble. Although it was a clear day I didn’t think that this was the best scramble I’ve ever done. The views were outstanding all day but the wind was so strong that we couldn’t even talk to each other without yelling at the top of our voices. The roaring sound in my ears wasn’t too pleasant after 3 hours! The scrambling isn’t too technical so you don’t have that to distract you from the never ending series of ‘bumps’ on the ridge.
That being said I do recommend doing these three peaks in the same go. Blakiston is quite the trudge (and the highest peak in Waterton) but if you look you can find some interesting scramble bits. Near the top of the scree slope there is a trail right up through the cliff face that is moderate hands-on scrambling. That was the best part for me all day! After signing the summit register, we continued on the ridge towards Hawkins and Lineham peaks.
Along the ridge from Blakiston to Hawkins there is a series of good scrambling sections, but the rest of the day is one long plod – in our case in mind-numbing wind. My cousin, Jon, also had to ‘bag’ every high point along the whole ridge which is why our total height gain is more than listed in Kane’s book.
From Hawkins to Lineham is a bit of a blur in my memory banks. I blame it on the wind which was absolutely relentless. Honestly, Waterton would be so much more enjoyable without it! The route was obvious and easy between Hawkins and Lineham.
After finally ascending Mount Lineham we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent scree ski that took us down to the Tamarack Trail. Note that when you are heading down the lower slopes of Lineham you should angle left down the clearest part of the gully and you will connect with the trail. There was a lot of recent bear sign in the Rowe Creek valley.
On the walk back along the Akamina Parkway from the Rowe Lakes to the Lineham Creek parking lots Rod started feeling a bit woozy thanks to no sleep and instant and maximum exertion. We fed him some food and Gatorade and he recovered enough to stumble to the car.