After returning from the washroom, I saw that Kelly and Linda were up and about. James emerged from his tent shortly after but, concerned about the late start, decided not to join Linda and me for the scramble. After saying our goodbyes to Kelly and James, Linda and I stopped by New Frank's Restaurant for a rather greasy breakfast before heading to the Lineham Falls trail head. We were on our way by 8:55 AM.
About an hour of hiking brought us to the bottom of the avalanche slope on the south face of Mount Blakiston. Climbing up this slope was easy enough at first, but the 19+ kilometres I hiked the previous day plus the two eggs (Sonny-side up, of course!), three sausages, and deep-fried hash browns that I ate for breakfast were quickly catching up to me. I slowed considerably and began to feel sleepy. Thankfully, Linda was there to keep me awake with her great laugh!
Some time later, we both noticed a fellow climbing up behind us. It wasn't long before this guy caught up to us, and when Linda and I took a break, he stopped and introduced himself as Trevor Helwig from Lethbridge, Alberta. I recognized his name from the Alberta Centennial Mountain Expedition project. Trevor is a good friend of Brian Coffey with whom I have occasionally corresponded, and both of them are editors for Trailpeak.com. After I picked his brains about some scrambles south of the border, he resumed climbing and quickly disappeared up the slope.
Continuing on, I searched for more interesting terrain to try and perk myself up. One particular watercourse was a lot of fun to ascend, and I found a bit of that scrambling 'rhythm' that seemed so elusive to me on this day. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before I was feeling sleepy again, and I convinced Linda to stop while I devoured a slightly squished peanut butter and banana sandwich. I felt much better afterward and began climbing more steadily. There was snow in the hidden gully that breaks the lichen-covered rock band guarding the summit, but closer inspection revealed that much of the snow could be avoided. Linda and I did just that and soon were scampering up some big boulders. One of these boulders moved under my feet and started to roll downhill. Linda, who was below me, alertly watched the boulder angle away from her, but at the last second--horrors--the boulder struck another equally big boulder which began crashing directly toward Linda. Thankfully, Linda was quick on her feet and managed to dodge the rogue projectile. I apologized profusely to Linda for pulling a "Vern" (see my Buchanan Peak trip report), and to her credit, she was able to laugh it off almost immediately.
Just below the summit, we ran into Trevor who was on his way back down
Mount Blakiston's south face. He had started the traverse of
Hawkins Horseshoe but turned around because he couldn't tolerate the
freezing winds any longer. Although Linda and I had been buffeted by cool winds most
of the day, we were a little shocked by the gale raking across Mount
summit. The wind chill was incredibly painful (especially on our
faces), and the noise was not unlike what I woke up to earlier in the
day. We both took some photographs and signed the register before I
asked Linda if she wanted to continue to Mount Hawkins. After a
very brief discussion, we decided to forego Hawkins Horseshoe and head
back down the way we came up. As soon as we dropped below the
summit ridge, the wind died down considerably, and we felt warm again.
That's when I had a change of heart...
|This is the scrambler's access route up Mount Blakiston. The summit is the bump in the middle.|
|Linda looks for a more challenging route to climb up.|
|This is the view of Lineham Falls headwall from the upper slopes of Mount Blakiston.|
|This band of lichen-covered rocks guards the summit of Mount Blakiston.|
|The views begin improving higher up. Visible in the distance are Mount Cleveland, Mount Alderson, Buchanan Peak, Buchanan Ridge, and Mount Carthew.|
|Here is a closer look at the lichen-covered rocks from the hidden gully. The knob on the horizon at right is Chief Mountain.|
|Linda carefully avoids the snow as she ascends the hidden gully.|
|The best scrambling of the day is through this section just below the summit of Mount Blakiston.|
|Linda and Sonny stand atop the 2910-metre summit of Mount Blakiston, the highest point in Waterton National Park.|
|Linda surveys the rest of Hawkins Horseshoe from the top of Mount Blakiston.|
The wind wasn't quite as harsh further down the ridge, and with extra layers on, I actually felt quite comfortable and even too warm at times. As we approached the unnamed bump in the ridge between Mounts Blakiston and Hawkins, we scrambled down a series of short but annoying drop-offs before traversing a steep snow slope to bypass the bump. Rest breaks were plentiful as Linda and I began to tire and grow hungry. Eventually, we hauled ourselves up to the top of Mount Hawkins where I devoured my second slightly squished peanut butter and banana sandwich of the day. We took a slightly longer break here than at the top of Mount Blakiston, but the rapidly setting sun prompted us to get moving again. By this point, Linda and I were both exhausted and simply wanted to get back to her car at the trail head. We bypassed all the remaining bumps along Hawkins Horseshoe before dropping down a steep slope to intersect Lineham Ridge Trail. My feet ached with every step I took back to the trail head, but singing "bear scat" and laughing the night away with Linda seemed to alleviate much of my weariness. We staggered back to her car by 8:52 PM. Trying to find some real food to eat afterward was another adventure unto itself.
Be sure to check out Linda's great trip reports of our scramble up
|This is looking back at Mount Blakiston from the first unnamed bump along Hawkins Horseshoe.|
|Here are some more lichen-covered rocks along the route.|
|Bypassing an unnamed bump, Linda begins to traverse across a steep snow slope.|
|Linda begins ascending Mount Hawkins.|
|Across the valley is Mount Lineham and one of the Lineham Lakes.|
|This is looking back at Mount Blakiston from the slopes of Mount Hawkins. The patch of snow on the unnamed bump at right is where Linda and Sonny traversed to avoid some needless elevation gain.|
|Linda takes the last few steps before the summit of Mount Hawkins.|
|Still smiling, Sonny and Linda gather around the summit cairn of 2685-metre Mount Hawkins.|
|The view north from Mount Hawkins reveals a ridge walker's paradise. At far right is Anderson Peak.|
|Linda hikes toward yet another unnamed bump along Hawkins Horseshoe.|
|Linda and Sonny would bypass this unnamed bump on a good trail to the right.|
|Linda cruises along the nice, level trail despite strong crosswinds.|
|Lineham Ridge comes into view. Instead of heading up and over the ridge, Linda and Sonny would go through the gap to the right.|
|Linda approaches an unnamed peak on the Continental Divide.|
|Still smiling, Linda takes a short cut down to Lineham Ridge Trail.|
|Darkness begins to descend on Mount Lineham and the valley below.|