I had heard and read so many glowing reports of Akamina Ridge that it had a high placement on my list, so that when the Grant MacEwan Mountain Club offered a trip to Waterton Lakes National Park (WLNP) on its 2008 summer trips schedule, I had to sign up. Akamina Ridge was scheduled for the Saturday of the August long weekend, with Crypt Lake (also high on my list) for Sunday, and, tentatively, the Carthew-Alderson Trail for Monday, followed by the 575-km drive back to Edmonton.
Akamina Ridge is accessed from WLNP, but actually is across the provincial border and Continental Divide in British Columbia in Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park. The name "Akamina" is spread liberally around the area, with the ridge, Akamina Pass, Akamina Lake (in WLNP) and the Akamina Parkway (also in WLNP). Akamina is said to mean "high bench land" and was used by the British-US Boundary Commission in 1861 as the name of one of its astronomical observation stations.
The original route as described in Alan Kane's Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies takes the fire road/trail to Akamina Pass, and then follows the Continental Divide south to Forum Peak, from where it follows the ridge. The section from the pass to Forum Peak is choked with deadfall, and the currently favoured route goes over the pass to Forum Lake, and then up a subsidiary ridge to the ridgeline. This ridge, between Forum and Wall Lakes, is considered the crux of the route, with some moderate scrambling to pass through a cliff band. It was this route we planned to follow.
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