The Judge
Kelly Bou and I took our friends, Joseph Banke and Aura Pon, on their first backpacking trip on 24 July 2009.  Our original plan was to head to Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park, but because all the backcountry campgrounds were full on that weekend, we decided to head to Diana Lake which is located approximately 30 kilometres north of Radium Hot Springs in British Columbia.  Despite a rather late start, we had an uneventful hike (about 6 kilometres one-way with 600 metres of elevation gain) and managed to reach the primitive campsite (picnic table and pit toilet) before sunset.  Some other campers had taken up the choice tenting spots at the campsite, but we found a couple other spots that were adequate if not perfect.  After setting up camp and hanging our food in a tree (a bit challenging), we turned in for the night.
Just a few metres beyond, the trail has collapsed into the creek bed. Kelly, Aura and Joseph begin their hike to Diana Lake.
Prickly, isn't it? This is a white thistle beside the trail.
It took us about 3 hours to backpack to the lake. A makeshift boardwalk crosses this marshy area not far from Diana Lake.
The following morning, 25 July 2009, we got up and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast beside Diana Lake.  During breakfast, I approached the other campers at the campsite to inquire about the scramble route up the Judge, the prominent peak just east of the lake.  The four campers had ascended the Judge the previous morning, and two of them also went on to bag nearby Mount Norman in the afternoon.  After some further discussions, I learned that one of these campers was none other than Rick Collier whose climbing resume renders my paltry summit list exceedingly insignificant.  It was a great honour to meet him and his friends in such a beautiful locale, and after a lengthy chat, I left them alone (they were hiking out that day) to rejoin Kelly, Aura and Joseph as we prepared to ascend the Judge ourselves.  Following the convoluted trail which makes a wide detour around Diana Lake Lodge (closed on this day), we easily hiked up to Whitetail Pass and followed the west ridge of the Judge all the way to the summit.  Despite being new to scrambling, Aura and Joseph were more than able to negotiate the loose rubble on the steep slopes below the summit.  The leisurely ascent took us about 3 hours, and we had enough time to eat lunch and soak in the wonderful scenery before giving up the summit to a large group of dayhikers who arrived about 30 minutes later.  We retraced our steps back to Diana Lake and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging about until a thunderstorm rolled into the area and forced us to retreat into our tents.  When the showers stopped later in the evening, we emerged from our tents to enjoy a nice chili dinner and a game of Euchre before capping the night off with a short stroll to Diana Lake Lodge.
The trail to the Judge heads up the meadows at the far side of the lake. The unnamed ridge to the west is reflected in Diana Lake.
We hung our food in the stand of larches at far left. This is the south end of Diana Lake.
Large chunks of ice were calving into the lake all weekend. There is a small ice patch at the south end of Diana Lake.
At top right, the person in the maroon vest is Rick Collier. Joseph and Kelly prepare to make breakfast.
Apparently, the fishing is pretty good in this lake. This is looking back at Diana Lake from the meadows at the far end.  The campsite is just to the left of the dark stand of trees.
The detour is a little annoying. The summit block of the Judge pokes above the ridge as Joseph, Aura and Kelly wind their way through the trees.
Don't you always feel some anticipation as you approach a pass? Kelly, Joseph and Aura approach Whitetail Pass.
A nice place to take a break. Kelly and Aura reach Whitetail Pass.  Foster Peak is visible in the distance.
Lots of wildflowers here. Here is a close-up of some alpine forget-me-nots.
Looks pretty easy from here. This is the Judge as seen from near Whitetail Pass.
You can even spot the roof of Diana Lake Lodge. The west ridge of the Judge offers great views of Diana Lake as well as Mount Norman (at left).
An elegant line of ascent. This is the west ridge of the Judge.
The surrounding ridges look very inviting. Kelly hikes up the west ridge.
Note the descent tracks in the scree at right. Kelly, Aura and Joseph approach the summit block of the Judge.
This was probably the worst part of the ascent. Joseph grinds his way up the loose rubble.
And the views are starting to open up... The route from Whitetail Pass (far right) can be seen in its entirety here.
I think the white blocks are known as diorite. Kelly and Aura scramble up large blocks of white rock just below the summit.
Yay! Kelly reaches the 2735-metre summit of the Judge.
Nice colour coordination, don't you think? Aura, Joseph, Kelly and Sonny pose on top of the Judge.
Wonder what he eats up here?! A golden-mantled ground squirrel pokes its head up to see who is on the summit.
Looks like a tough climb. To the north is Foster Peak.
Even today, it's probably still cold up there! Mount Ball is visible in the distance to the northeast.
Beautiful day to be up here! Aura, Kelly and Joseph enjoy lunch on the summit.
A great scramble if you can avoid the bushwhacking! To the east is Mount Wardle.
Also looks like a tough climb... Also to the east is Mount Verendrye
Lotsa unnamed peaks and ridges here... This is looking southeast along the Brisco Range.
Probably very seldom visited. A beautiful tarn is hidden under the north side of the Judge.
There were 10 people of all ages in their group. Some dayhikers crowd the summit.
I wonder how many of those things there are scattered across the Canadian Rockes... A repeater tower occupies the top of an unnamed peak to the south.
And the roof of Diana Lake Lodge is still visible. Here is another view of Mount Norman (left) and Diana Lake.
Interesting transition in colour of the rock. This is looking back at the Judge from the west ridge.
Apparently the cabin has a fridge, and there's even a hot shower nearby! This is Diana Lake Lodge.
Aura is a braver person than me! Aura takes a dip in Diana Lake.
It entertained us by diving for fish in the lake. An osprey is perched high in a tree at the edge of the lake.
After spending a rainy night at Diana Lake, we packed up camp and hiked out on the morning of 26 July 2009.  Lunch and ice cream in Radium capped off a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
Adieu. Here is a last look at the Judge.
It took us about 2 hours to hike back to my car. Kelly, Joseph and Aura hike through an avalanche path meadow.
Actually, I think there was a third moose also hidden behind the rock. A couple of moose watch warily from behind a rock.