Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Height: 8,809
View-o-meter: 2/5
Scrambling Difficulty: Moderate through Blakiston with an easy ridge walk
Total Trip Difficulty: Moderate
Best Feature: Lots of time above Lineham Lakes
Worst Part: The peak is exactly at the halfway point of the loop - are you in shape or not?

Most ascents of Hawkins come as part of the popular "Hawkins Horseshoe". This pleasant ridge run connect Blakiston-Hawkins-Lineham together as a pleasant 19km ridge running day that is more of a hike than a scramble. Hawkins can also be climbed directly from Lineham lakes and with lots of effort from far up Blakiston creek. The Hawkins horseshoe is similar in character to the Dragon's back above Forum and Wall lakes. Views are of the drier front ranges and less of the dramatic snow capped peaks around the Kintla and Starvation areas.

Hawkins as seen from Lineham ridge looking across Lineham's North Lake. Hawkins is to the left, Blakiston is to the right.

From Blakiston via the Hawkin's Horseshoe

Hike 2/3 the way up the Lineham trail and make the long talus slog up Blakiston passing a short (5m) 4th class chimmney through the black Purcell lava. A little bit of 3rd class leads to the talus summit. Run the ridge back to the west passing through one unamed summit. The ridge run is about 4km. It is mostly an easy walk on a broad rounded talus ridge.

The ridge connecting Hawkins (foreground) to Blakiston (background)

After Hawkins the ridge continues to the west for another km or so before cutting south. You'll pass through a gully that is the backway into Lineham lakes before encountering the Tamarack trail. From here you can either head down the established trail to Rowe meadows or follow the ridge to the east the jaunts up Lineham peak. The main purpose of running the Horseshoe via Blakiston is because few people ascending via Rowe meadows want to divert over to Lineham before continuing over to Hawkins and Blakiston. While the Blakiston ascent is a bit of a talus slog, ascending Lineham peak and then sliding down the talus down to the Lower Rowe lake junction is actually easier on the knees than following the established trail down the backside of Rowe meadows.

To really shorten the day, it is possible to ascend Blakiston, hike up to Hawkins, drop directly down into Lineham lakes and come out the cliff on the frontside of the Lineham valley (established trail with lots of exposed 3rd and serious 4th class traversing).

A number of avid fishermen use this trail to make it in for the fabulous fishing in these lakes - however most people come in via the log hike into the backside. The original trail was put in by Frank and Linea Goble who use to run Franks restaurant in the park. The old trail used to head up the left hand side of the falls. They got their directions mixed up and ended traversing in from the right (current trail). Locals kids (12 and up) used to grab their 60-80lb packs and three foot wide bed rolls and scream across the cliff for a night's fishing. My grandfather used to carry his kids across the cliff in his backpack. I think I first scurried across when I was about 8. In the crux sections my dad used to climb down underneath and put his hand up for a foothold. I think there were only two steps that both my brother and myself had to rely entirely on his hand as a foot hold because we were too small to reach the actual holds. The rest of the time he used to just secure our feet to the cliff by pushing in under the soles or pressing our hands down onto the holds. You can protect the crux traverse with some gear, but the rock isn't too reliable and traverses are always bad for both the leader and second. Our little terrier mut used to jump across this cliff on his own until his legs gave out from arthritis.

Hawkins' North aspect in all its bushwacking glory

Other Route Descriptions

Trail Peak.com - basic trip report with a basic route description with an excellent google map layover and lots of pictures.

Bob Spirko's scrambling page - Lots of pictures illustrate a simple route narration.

Vern Dewitt's scrambling page - Lots of pictures illustrate a simple Hawkins Horseshoe route narration

Dave Stephen's Scrambling Page - a very abbreviated trip log of the Hawkins Horseshoe

Linda's Scrambles & Rambles page - Interesting story of a very snowy September ascent.

Calgary Outdoor Club - brief trip report.


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