South End of Lawson
We were expecting poor weather when we planned to climb the South End of Lawson, but when Saturday rolled around the forecast had improved. After a succession of rainy days, this was a day of respite and we were blessed with morning blue skies.
Following directions in Gillean Daffern's Kananaskis Country Trail Guide – our first trip in her fourth and latest edition – we parked at the gate and walked up the TransAlta road. At the end of the road, after crossing a dry bed hidden in trees, we found the trail. The trail wasn't always well defined and we often lost it, but we always managed to quickly regain it.
At first there was little to see, but in clearings higher up, we were treated to expansive views south towards the Kananaskis Lakes. The rocky false summit provided the best views, but we were more interested in the ridge traverse here since it requires a short scramble. We were curious as to how that would go, especially because we had encountered snow patches. But the crossing was snow-free and easy. From the false summit we reached the true summit in five minutes. Here, competing with the mountain scenery, we saw larches taking on fall colours. We spent half an hour on top before turning around.
While checking our GPS receivers on the way back, we noticed that the road was longer than what was indicated in the book. Later we learned the trailhead is actually a few hundred metres south of what's shown on the map, making the road 1.2 km long instead of .7 km. (Daffern is aware of the error.)
For a short hike this was a surprisingly enjoyable outing. As Daffern suggests, the South End of Lawson is destined to become popular.
View of the South End of Lawson from the road
Looking for a place to exit the road
On the trail
Two of a brood of four chipmunks we saw scampering on the rocks
Mounts Packenham and Hood
Coming to a grassy slope
Dramatic views south
The ridge appears to end but there's a col left.
Crossing the col
Looking back from below the false summit
Traversing below the crest
Dinah starts across.
Heading to the true summit
On the summit
Coming down the summit
Heading back to the false summit
360° view from the top
82 J/11 Kananaskis Lakes
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