Lakit Mountain
Given a dismal Canada Day long weekend weather forecast for much of the Canadian Rockies, Leslie Pryslak, Zosia Zgolak and I headed to the Cranbrook area of southeastern British Columbia in hopes of finding drier hiking conditions.

After camping the previous night just outside Fort Steele, we drove up the access road for Lakit Lookout on the morning of 30 June 2018.  Lakit Lookout and its namesake mountain had been on my radar for quite a few years, but I have always been a bit apprehensive about driving the rough access road:

From Fort Steele, turn onto Wardner-Fort Steele Road from Highway 93/95.  In about 300 metres turn north onto Wildhorse Forest Service Road (gravel but 2WD okay).  Drive 6.9 kilometres before veering left onto the signed Lakit Lookout access road (high clearance vehicle strongly recommended).  Ignore all side roads and drive 8.0 kilometres to Lakit Lookout trailhead (pit toilet and small parking area).  Allow about 1 hour 45 minutes to drive to the trailhead from Fort Steele.

As it turned out, I managed to grind my Honda CR-V up to a wide pullout about half a kilometre short of the trailhead.  With some determination, I probably could have driven the remaining distance, but after such a long and tense drive, we were all happy to just get out of the car and start walking.  From the trailhead, we easily hiked the well-maintained trail up to Lakit Lookout which is open to the public for use as an overnight shelter (outhouse nearby but no reliable water source).

From the lookout, we continued north along the connecting ridge to the next high point (49.721945, -115.601944; I refer to this summit as "L1") which is identified as the summit of Lakit Mountain according to numerous sources including Google Maps,, the BC Geographical Names website, and the Natural Resources Canada (NRC) website.  Curiously, the accompanying map for the NRC website's Lakit Mountain page is at odds with the presented location information.  The map, which is an online version of NTS map 082G/12, marks the summit of Lakit Mountain on a lower peak further to the north (49.730521, -115.604811; I refer to this summit as "L3").  To add to the confusion, the higher bump to the northeast (49.729065, -115.593439; I refer to this summit as "L2") is regarded as the summit of Lakit Mountain by and by Janice Strong in her guidebook, Mountain Footsteps: Hikes in the East Kootenay of Southeastern British Columbia.  Incidentally, states that ""Lakit" is Chinook Jargon for "four"."  If Lakit Lookout is also considered a separate summit, then the name makes a lot of sense!

In any case, getting to L1 entails some easy scrambling with mild exposure, but we had no serious issues here.  From L1, we continued along the ridge to a juncture between the three different summits.  This part of the ridge is guarded by some challenging pinnacles, and we had to do a little route-finding to bypass these obstacles.  Upon reaching the aforementioned juncture, we veered right and easily hiked up to L2, the highest of the three summits.  Unfortunately, clouds obscured all views from this summit, and we did not linger for long before descending back to the juncture.  Since we still had lots of time and energy, we decided to drop down the ridge to the north and tag L3.  The large boulders on this last ridge are a bit awkward and tedious to descend, but with some patience, we managed to get down to the low point without slipping into any of the gaping chasms along the way.  We easily reached L3 after a short ascent from the low point.  Since there was not one present, Zosia built a small cairn on this summit.

Having tagged all the summits that Lakit Mountain had to offer, we retraced our steps up the ridge with the large boulders and climbed back over L1.  We eventually worked our way back to Lakit Lookout, and from there, we enjoyed an uneventful descent back to my car.

The long and bumpy drive back to Fort Steele went without a hitch, and we subsequently stopped at a rest area along the highway for dinner before finding a nice spot to camp for the night.
It looks like it's gonna be a nice day...I hope! The morning sun peeks over The Steeples behind Sonny's tent at Horseshoe Lake campground.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Bring your own toilet paper! Sonny visits the pit toilet at the trailhead.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

One more rock slide and that sign is toast! Leslie and Zosia start up the trail to Lakit Lookout.
Three in our us for a good time! Leslie watches Zosia sign the register near the trailhead.
Despite the easy trail, the lookout is still a good 400-metre ascent from the trailhead! Zosia climbs the well-maintained trail to Lakit Lookout.
Hopefully the clouds won't cover the summit when we get there... Zosia and Leslie pause along the trail to look at L2 across the basin.
The draw on the right might be a good alternate descent route if one didn't want to re-climb L1 and the lookout on the way back... L1 commands the head of the basin.
In case you had to take a second crap already! Lakit Lookout is in sight.  Barely visible in the trees below the obvious trail is an outhouse.
Might be worth a return visit on skis in the spring... A couple of picnic tables sit in front of Lakit Lookout (2350 metres).  Built in 1977, this lookout building is a replica of the original one built in 1955 and is equipped with a wood stove (bring your own wood).  The building is free to be used as an overnight shelter on a first-come, first-served basis.
Onward! Zosia and Leslie hike the connecting ridge to L1.
Let's get our hands dirty! Traversing the connecting ridge entails some delightful scrambling.
Easy scrambling here! Leslie and Zosia scramble to the top of L1.  L2 is visible through the mist at right.
Did we just come up all that?? Zosia and Leslie stand atop L1 (2424 metres).  L2 is visible at left.

Mount Bill Nye is at the top of my to-do list in the Cranbrook area.

Leslie and Zosia descend the north ridge of L1 en route to L2 (right).  At distant left is the highest summit of Mount Bill Nye.


These two ladies are certainly up to the challenge! The north ridge of L1 is more complicated than expected and requires some good route-finding to avoid sections that may require technical climbing.
Disappointingly shrouded in mist... Zosia and Leslie reach the top of L2.
Unfortunately, my group photo of the three of us was somewhat out of focus and didn't make the cut for this web page. Despite the lack of views, Zosia still gives a "thumbs up" to L2, the highest summit of Lakit Mountain (2528 metres).
If it had been raining, we might have easily skipped L3. Leslie and Zosia reach the juncture between the three different summits of Lakit Mountain.  The ridge to L3 is visible at lower right.
Not many people bother coming here, I suspect. Leslie carefully picks her way down the rugged terrain of the connecting ridge to L3.
Getting sick of all this rubble yet? From the low point of the connecting ridge, Zosia and Leslie climb the final stretch to L3.
The gazetted summit of Lakit Mountain...believe it or not! Leslie and Sonny take a break near the top of L3.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

It's actually much easier going up this mess of rocks than coming down! After leaving L3, Zosia and Leslie scramble back up the ridge to the juncture between the three different summits.
Good route-finding is a must in the mist! Leslie and Zosia carefully work their way back along the north ridge of L1.
The Science Guy rears his ugly head again! The mist briefly clears to reveal L3 (left of centre) in this view from the top of L1.  The darker peak behind L3 is the gazetted summit of Mount Bill Nye.
Last uphill section of the day--yay! Zosia and Leslie head back to Lakit Lookout.  The white exterior of the lookout building makes it a bit hard to see in this flat light.
Dibs on the bed! Sonny relaxes on the cot inside the lookout building.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Yum yum! At a rest area about 4 kilometres north of Fort Steele, Sonny digs into an apple crumble pie while Zosia awaits her turn.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Pryslak

Surprisingly, there were no mosquitoes here! Sonny's tent sits near the north shore of Johnson Lake.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Try it. You'll Lakit! Total Distance:  10.9 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 4 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  1042 metres

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