Mount Blakiston And Hawkins Horseshoe
A loud constant roar woke me from my slumbers inside Kelly Smith's tent early on the morning of 25 September 2005.  The tent walls shook violently as the wind blasted through the townsite campground in Waterton National Park.  It sounded like a Boeing 747 was about to land there.  After enjoying some really fine weather the previous day on Buchanan Peak, I knew it would be too much to ask for two calm days in a row in a park notorious for its powerful winds.  Although Kelly was planning to head home early, Linda Breton, James Yearous and I had tentative plans to scramble up Mount Blakiston and Hawkins Horseshoe on this day.  I took a quick glance at my watch and knew that it was already getting rather late for such an attempt.  Besides, I was still feeling the effects of the one lowly peak I bagged the previous day.  While my mind debated about whether I should get up or not, my full bladder finally made the decision for me.  I reluctantly crawled out of my warm sleeping bag and hurried to put on my jacket before stepping out of the tent.  The wind didn't sound as bad outside, but it certainly felt cold.  Looking past James' tent, I noticed that Linda's tent was already packed up.  There was no sign of Linda, but I guessed that she was probably sitting inside her car and raring to go.  "Wow, this girl is really keen", I thought.  "Maybe we might just bag something today after all!"

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  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 Blakiston's 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...
Hmmm...those greasy sausages I ate for breakfast are starting to take their toll on me! This is the scrambler's access route up Mount Blakiston.  The summit is the bump in the middle.
Ugh.  If all goes according to plan, we're supposed to be on that ridge in the distance some time later today! Linda looks for a more challenging route to climb up.
That hanging valley encircled by Hawkins Horseshoe must be one of the most pristine (ie. seldom visited) places in the Canadian Rockies. This is the view of Lineham Falls headwall from the upper slopes of Mount Blakiston.
The most sporting finish is to go up a hidden gully near the right edge of the lichen-band. This band of lichen-covered rocks guards the summit of Mount Blakiston.
Hmmm...I remember a few miserable days on some of those peaks! The views begin improving higher up.  Visible in the distance are Mount Cleveland, Mount Alderson, Buchanan Peak, Buchanan Ridge, and Mount Carthew.
I lichen this part! Here is a closer look at the lichen-covered rocks from the hidden gully.  The knob on the horizon at right is Chief Mountain.
This is where the really fun scrambling begins (and ends all too quickly). Linda carefully avoids the snow as she ascends the hidden gully.
I nearly killed Linda just above here when I inadvertently sent a couple of big boulders crashing toward her.  As Maxwell Smart would say, "Sorry about that!" :-) The best scrambling of the day is through this section just below the summit of Mount Blakiston.
Are we smiling or just gritting our teeth? Linda and Sonny stand atop the 2910-metre summit of Mount Blakiston, the highest point in Waterton National Park.
Decision time...should we go for it? Linda surveys the rest of Hawkins Horseshoe from the top of Mount Blakiston.
Shortly after leaving Mount Blakiston's summit, I paused to watch Trevor some distance below me descending the crux, and in light of my Buchanan Peak fiasco, I was already having regrets about turning around.  The thought of having to come all the way back to tag Mount Hawkins was more unbearable than the raging wind.  I quickly turned toward Linda, but before I could say anything, she had already read my mind.  I made it clear to her that she was under no obligation to come along, but--bless her soul--she was eager to accompany me and endure more suffering!  We both quickly put on extra clothes and soon were bounding down the west ridge 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 Mount Blakiston and Mount Hawkins.
Now we're committed.  There's no turning back from here! This is looking back at Mount Blakiston from the first unnamed bump along Hawkins Horseshoe.
There is more hands-on scrambling here than I would have guessed. Here are some more lichen-covered rocks along the route.
Although the snow was ideal for hiking, I was glad to have brought along my ice axe. Bypassing an unnamed bump, Linda begins to traverse across a steep snow slope.
An easy ascent, even in these windy conditions. Linda begins ascending Mount Hawkins.
Mount Lineham certainly looks more impressive from this side. Across the valley is Mount Lineham and one of the Lineham Lakes.
Hope that knob stays unnamed! 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.
It's 5:11 PM already.  We're definitely gonna be hiking out in the dark! Linda takes the last few steps before the summit of Mount Hawkins.
This was my last peak in the Waterton section of Kane's scramble guide. Still smiling, Sonny and Linda gather around the summit cairn of 2685-metre Mount Hawkins.
More ridge walking than you can shake a stick at! The view north from Mount Hawkins reveals a ridge walker's paradise.  At far right is Anderson Peak.
Is this getting monotonous yet? Linda hikes toward yet another unnamed bump along Hawkins Horseshoe.
All this up and down stuff is getting old anyway! Linda and Sonny would bypass this unnamed bump on a good trail to the right.
I wonder if Linda is thinking about food right now... Linda cruises along the nice, level trail despite strong crosswinds.
I'm amazed how others have the energy to go up Mount Lineham after all this! Lineham Ridge comes into view.  Instead of heading up and over the ridge, Linda and Sonny would go through the gap to the right.
People living on the other side of that peak have to pay PST! Linda approaches an unnamed peak on the Continental Divide.
Mamma mia!  Is it ever nice to be out of that bloody, awful wind! Still smiling, Linda takes a short cut down to Lineham Ridge Trail.
And now, No. 3, The Larch. Darkness begins to descend on Mount Lineham and the valley below.