Summit Elevation (m): 2250
Trip Date: Sunday, June 17, 2018
Round Trip Time (hr): 2.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 3.5
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – You fall, you sprain your wrist
Difficulty Notes: Easy scrambling / off trail hiking involves some very steep, grassy slopes and some scree near the summit.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
Since we were camping in the area over the weekend of June 15, I decided I might as well drag my family up the diminutive Packenham Junior with it’s not-so-diminutive views. The rumors on this outlier of the much higher and more impressive Mount Packenham are true – it’s a steep grind with no trail and sweet views. We parked in the ditch along Hwy #40, just up from about 20 cars that were parked for the obviously MUCH more popular Grizzly Peak just to the north of our destination.
After crossing the highway, we made our way up the steep, lightly forested west face of Packenham Junior. We started on the south side of the face, next to Hood Creek, but angled pretty consistently to the north until we finally hit the west ridge about 3/4 of the way up. A series of small cliffs necessitated some minor route finding to keep the scrambling easy, but other than that this was a steep hike on grassy slopes.
Near the summit we finally encountered some steep scree before the angle leveled off and we enjoyed some fantastic afternoon views of the Opal Range peaks and the Kananaskis Lakes area. Descent was quick and easy.
I highly recommend this small outing for a quick trip with great views. One caution I can make is to make sure you hit that west ridge rather than go straight up or down the west face, especially if you’re with beginner scramblers. The west face gets very steep and is mostly grassy so can be very slick too.