*** Annual road closure (AB-40) between December 1 & June 14.
Edwards Rating: III (IV) M M
5.5 to 8 hours
Elevation of 1052 m NET, 1218 m TOT & max 2790 m (2690 m Lineham Ridge summit)
Completed on September 14, 2019 in dry conditions.
Gear: Hiking poles, helmet would have been a good idea for potential rock falls in descent gully. I don’t know if it’s always that windy, but winter clothes were useful today!
***** Surprisingly not popular, this is one of the best scrambles we have done. While there is quite a bit of exposure and sometimes narrow ridge sections, rock is solid and scrambling is enjoyable all the way through to the second summit. Nugara explains it very well in his book and staying on the edge of the ridge makes it for an easy one in terms of route finding even though there is no trail up there most of the time. Technically, it is at least moderate with a few difficult sections because of the exposure, probably avoidable to the right.
From the parking lot, we walked back on the road for about 200 metres and started on the obvious trail on the other side of the highway. We hiked for 4 km and turned right on a dirt trail when the first lake comes into view. We stayed on the edge and scrambled up to the high point of this first ridge, turned left and went down the col. We scrambled up the main ridge right away and started our ridge walk. We stayed on the edge up to a green slab. As there was a bit of snow or rain from time to time, we knew this exposed section would be a problem if turning back down on wet rocks (thinking we may not make it because of the weather…). We climbed the first 5 metres or so, assessed, and went down a bit to follow a long grassy ledge crossing the whole green slab. We turned left at the end and reached back the ridge. We then stayed on the edge as advised in Nugara’s book for some exposed but fun scrambling. We came across a rock band close to the summit, we down climbed on the left even though there were very few holds. An easier way on the right was available.
From Lineham summit (GR582980), we descended east toward our second objective, Picklejar Peak. From there, the summit seems lower than its northeastern peak but the summit really lies in the middle. From the col, we scrambled up nice rock bands and slabs all the way through to the summit (GR593982). Again, some exposure, might be avoided to the right but rock was so good we went straight up and close to the cliff. Continuing passed the summit for about a minute, we circumvented a vertical wall to the right, came back to the ridge and started going down a scree/rubble gully. It seems very steep from far away but it is fine. Rubble is loose at times so watch out for rock falls. Some decent scree but mostly painful rubble for 45 minutes or so. Down in the valley, we reached the fourth lake and followed obvious trails along the four lakes & back down to the car. It is possible to only do either peak in one trip. If so, I would use the steep slabs in the gully under Picklejar Peak and avoid most of the rubble on the way up. As for Lineham Ridge, sticking to the edge is great but there seem to be many easier ways to reach the summit. Picklejar Peak is a must as views of the lakes and eastern mountains (Junction & Pyriform) are stunning!
From Calgary, follow Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W to Kananaskis Trail/AB-40 S. Take exit 118, start your odometer at the Casino entrance and drive for about 87 km and turn right at the signed Lantern Creek parking lot.
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