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Diana Lake and The Judge
Invermere, B.C.
August 16, 2008

Distance: 20.8 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1250 m

North of Radium, a 24-kilometre forest service road ends at the trailhead for Diana Lake, and presiding over the lake sits The Judge. Although the lake appears to be a popular destination, few people seem to scramble up the mountain.

After an hour-long drive up the rough road, we parked alongside a few cars at the trailhead. At the start, the trail had deteriorated in spots, having been badly eroded by water. Unwittingly, we passed the turnoff and continued hiking for a couple of hundred metres before realizing it. Given the boot prints we saw, this is probably a common error. The guidebook gives little detail as to where to leave the main trail but if you reach a broad, stony drainage, you've gone too far. We retraced our steps to a cairn and headed up a side trail.

The trail gradually gains elevation as it winds through the forest. It crosses a few avalanche slopes and meadows where we saw fresh signs of bear activity. We learned later that there were five bears in the area, although we saw none.

After hiking 6.2 km, we reached Diana Lake. However, we inadvertently took a trail that leads to a cabin. The owner immediately confronted us and asked us to leave the area. He directed us to the trail that runs along the lakeshore.

Past the lake, the trail is less defined and even with flagging, we had trouble staying on it. Once we reached Whitetail Pass, however, there was no getting lost: we needed only to follow the ridge to the summit.

The grade steepened when we hit orange talus. The white rock above it is great for scrambling but ends too soon. Although the view from the summit was fine, there are no nearby major peaks. The Bugaboos were too far away to study.

After a half-hour stay on the summit we came back down the trail. At the lake we stopped to talk to three guys who had camped there. Two of them had tried to climb The Judge but turned back at the summit block. As one explained it, he was “chicken.” They said two other guys tried as well but turned back when they reached the gully below the summit. The Judge is likely to rebuff hikers, but for scramblers, it is an enjoyable moderate scramble with no exposure.

KML and GPX Tracks

The trailhead


A recent washout forced the trail to be rerouted below it

After hiking through trees, we finally had an open view

We saw signs of recent bear activity, so we were especially vigilant on avalanche slopes like this one

This meadow, "The Bend," winds around Mount Norman

The trail passes through trees and crosses a stream

The route takes in a boardwalk

Avoid the cabin or risked getting yelled at

Diana Lake

After the lake we made our way to the pass

Mount Norman behind us

Looking down at Pinnacle Meadows

Heading to Whitetail Pass (on the right, out of sight)

Starting up the ridge from the pass. The Judge is on the left.

Easy walk along the ridge

Most of the ridge crest is gentle, but this section juts out unexpectedly

The ridgewalk is surprisingly long

Unnamed ridge behind us extends north

Alpine Hawksbeard

The scramble begins at the orange rock

Looking back along the ridge

White rock caps the mountain

The grade steepens

We're able to see farther away as we ascended, but it's hazy

Mount Norman and Diana Lake in the background

Talus slope below the summit

The large, white boulders provided interesting scrambling

Almost on the summit

On the summit

Heading back to Diana Lake

A close-up of the summit from Diana Lake. It's best to avoid the gully and scramble up the rock on the left.

Ruffed grouse near the trailhead

We noticed a black bear on the drive back down the road

82 K/16 Spillimachen

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