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Lawson, Little (South End of Lawson)

Summit Elevation (m): 2384
Elevation Gain (m): 850
Round Trip Time (hr): 4
Total Trip Distance (km): 8.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: Easy hiking or snowshoeing with some minor exposure to the summit.
Technical Rating: OT5; YDS (Hiking)
MapGoogle Maps


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 most important, in the end who actually gives a crap about official summit lists anyway? 😉

Little Lawson Route Map

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 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. 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.

Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.

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.

South End of Mount Lawson
We're too far here - we should have gone to the right at the snowshoe sign about 30 meters back on the trail.
We're too far here - we should have gone to the right at the snowshoe sign about 30 meters back on the trail.
A beautiful day for Kev's 50th summit!
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.
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.
The views start opening up behind us.
The views start opening up behind us.
The views start opening up behind us.
Kev is happy to be almost done! Kananaskis Lakes in the background.
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.
There are some steeper sections on the ridge and some slight elevation loss / gains too.
There are some steeper sections on the ridge and some slight elevation loss / gains too.
There are some steeper sections on the ridge and some slight elevation loss / gains too.
On the south ridge of Mount Lawson.
On the south ridge of Mount Lawson.
The views south and east keep getting better and better.
The views south and east keep getting better and better.
Still some elevation to gain! This is not the summit.
Still some elevation to gain! This is not the summit.
Looking back at the dip in the ridge and hwy 40 far below.
Looking back at the dip in the ridge and hwy 40 far below.
Breaking trail.
Breaking trail.
Nearing the false summit. Of the "false" south summit. :)
Nearing the false summit. Of the "false" south summit. 🙂
On the final summit ridge.
On the final summit ridge.
Some limited exposure off the south ridge of Mount Lawson.
Some limited exposure off the south ridge of Mount Lawson.
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.
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.
Kev on NUMBER 50!! YEAH!!! Mount Lawson in the back ground.
Kev celebrates his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Kev celebrates his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Raf and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Grizzly Peak, Packenham Junior and King Creek ridge in front of Evan-Thomas and Mount Packenham.
Grizzly Peak, Packenham Junior and King Creek ridge in front of Evan-Thomas and Mount Packenham.
Vern and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Vern and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Vern and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Vern and Kev celebrate his 50th summit on Little Lawson.
Mount Lawson
Mount Lawson
Mount Lawson
Mount Lawson
View north over Spoon Needle towards Mount Kidd.
View north over Spoon Needle towards Mount Kidd.
Opal Ridge
Opal Ridge
Mist Mountain and Mount Lipsett loom to the left over Mount Wintour.
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.
Summit pano looking east and north includes Denny, Grizzly, Potts, Evan-Thomas, Packenham and King Creek Ridge.
Ready to descend from the false summit.
Ready to descend from the false summit.
Looking towards King Creek Ridge.
Looking towards King Creek Ridge.

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