Distance: 16 km
Elevation gain: 1365 m View map Download GPS track
Anderson Peak is the third highest mountain in Waterton National Park. A moderate scramble route to its summit is described in Andrew Nugara's scrambling guide
, but we like to avoid moderate terrain and so decided to take Bob Spirko's easier approach
that uses an avalanche gully to reach a col below the summit. A minor bump on the other side of the col is officially named Lost Mountain, and thus we'd also be able to reach two summits in one trip! (The ridge continues to Kootenai Brown Peak and Mount Bauerman, but this would been a bit too much in one day for us).
Our day began with a pleasant hike along the Blakiston Creek trail. It was nearly level and Blakiston Falls, the creek, and wildflowers kept things reasonably interesting. After 4.3 km we reached the lightly treed and grassy ascent avalanche slope and started up, initially bashing our way through dense stunted aspens and thick seasonal growth. This thinned a bit as we started steeply ascending to the right of a cascade and we found bits of trail that for the most part kept us away from the worst areas. After about 300 m of ascent the grade eased somewhat, the bushwhacking ceased, and we were able to pleasantly ascend another 300 m on grass. The terrain steepened and transitioned to scree at this point and we aimed for Anderson Peak rather than the col, easily navigating through a minor broken cliff band about 250 m below the summit.
After 3.5 hours I reached the summit, just 5 minutes after low cloud started rolling over it! Big breaks in the low cloud allowed me to still get photos, but all the major peaks to the west had their summits hidden in cloud. This seems to be a theme each time we hike in Waterton! Sandra joined me about 20 minutes later and we found a sheltered place to eat just below the summit, then continued on to Lost Mountain.
It was an easy scree slog from Anderson Peak to the base of Lost Mountain, then a deceptively easy scramble to the summit. I'd been a bit concerned about this ascent as in photos and from a distance it appeared to involve a lot of tricky navigation through broken cliff bands, but my first route worked just fine and I even managed to get Sandra to the top! It was nothing more than an easy scramble. Views from the summit were sufficiently different than from Anderson Peak, especially to the north, to make the quick scramble up Lost Mountain worthwhile.
After retracing our route to the col we started back down, sidesloping back to our ascent route to avoid some small cliffs we'd seen below the col on the way up. An uneventful and long descent then brought us back to the Blakiston Creek trail, heavily traveled near Blakiston Falls, and after a quick drive we were back at our trailer at the Crandell Mountain campground.