Akamina Ridge, 6 August 2023

Today’s three peaks as viewed from the summit of Mount Rowe.

⚠️ Hiking and scrambling are inherently dangerous activities. Please read my Disclaimer.  ⚠️

After the short scramble on Forum Peak, the remainder of our trip would be a simple, but long hike. Sitting ~3.3 km from the summit of Forum, Akamina Ridge (2600 m) is a very popular destination, especially among trail runners who ascend via the trail from Forum Lake. In fact, in a very southern Alberta case of ‘one degree of separation’, we were joined on the summit of Akamina by a trail runner who just happened to share a mutual friend with Melanie and I. This kind of occurrence is normal in Lethbridge and you really never know who you will run into… so behave! 😂

Anyway, Akamina Ridge is a neat locale and I was thankful that we chose a calm day to ascend. According to Eric and Patricia Holmgren, Akamina is an Indigenous word “meaning ‘bench land’. It was applied to a joint astronomical station occupied in 1861 by the British-American Boundary Commission and is referred to in their report as ‘Akamina Camp and Astronomical Station'” (2000 Place Names of Alberta, 1972, 2-3) I’m assuming this station was located in Akamina Pass and the name later given to the ridge, but I could be wrong.

After enjoying the views from the summit we seriously considered heading over to “Akamina Minor” but for whatever reason, we weren’t feeling motivated in the moment which was something that I think we regretted once we had descended off the summit of Akamina Ridge. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to come back… 🤪

To get to Forum Peak, we drove to the Cameron Lake parking lot and then followed the Cameron Lake trail west for a couple hundred metres before leaving it to gain Forum Ridge. The 2017 Kenow wildfire opened this section up making for an easy ascent onto the ridge, where we gained the cutline described by Kane. Once on the cutline it was an easy trip onto the open section of the ridge and to the base of Forum Peak.

From the base, we scrambled up to the first and largest cliff band – the crux. We then headed to climber’s right and at about the 50 m mark, began to scan for a way over this “moderate step” as described by Kane. As indicated, we soon found a couple possible options, though none looked entirely straightforward. I soon zeroed in on route and began to head up. As Andrew had done Forum before, he opted to continue along a series of ledges to the col with Akamina where he would wait for me.

Scrambling up the first cliff band did involve some exposure and some careful maneuvering, but it was short-lived. Once on top, I proceeded to head back to the nose of Forum and try to tackle the subsequent cliff bands as head-on as possible, which is a deviation from Kane. However, the second band also forced me to climber’s right for a short distance, where I found a 3 m high wall with good holds that I could readily scale.

When I was above this, I again headed back to the nose where the remaining bands could be tackled more easily – again, slightly to climber’s right – until I emerged onto the summit. For reference, it took 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach the summit of Forum Peak from the Cameron Lake parking lot.

After enjoying the views on the summit, I headed over to rejoin Andrew at the col where we began the easy hike (~2.3 km from the summit of Forum) to Akamina Ridge. The first highpoint on Akamina looks like a grind from a distance, but it’s only a 130 m elevation gain from the col over ~590 m. There is a trail up to the first high point, but we left it soon after it veered to climber’s left in favour of the shorter distance offered by going straight up the ridge. Again, the terrain is easy.

From the first high point on Akamina, the summit is only ~1 km away (53 m elevation loss and 73 m elevation gain) and it’s an easy walk. We seriously contemplated heading over to the small peak immediately to the southwest of Akamina that Andrew has dubbed “Akamina Minor”, but decided not to, which in hindsight, we should’ve just done. For reference it was ~3.3 km from the summit of Forum Peak to the summit of Akamina Ridge.

From the summit of Akamina Ridge, we continued northwest to a smaller high point located ~860 m away. Though the trail bypasses it, we made the short trip to the top where we took notice of “Bennett Peak (Ashman Ridge)” which is located only ~2.7 km from the top of the high point (~3.7 km from the summit of Akamina).  We then continued along the trail until we were above the col with the high point on “Bennett Peak (Ashman Ridge)”. From here, it was a relatively quick ~1.3 km trip (63 m elevation loss and then a 211 m elevation gain) to reach the summit. We then spent about 30 or 40 minutes on the summit enjoying the views.

We returned the way we came and proceeded to the follow the Akamina Ridge trail back to Wall Lake and then back to the Akamina trailhead and parking lot. From there it was a further ~1 km walk back to the Cameron Lake parking lot and my vehicle.

Our total roundtrip time was 7 hours and 40 minutes and our total distance travelled was 21 km. Total elevation gains came in at 1419 m.

Andrew leads the way as we make the easy hike from Forum Peak to Akamina Ridge.

The first high point (far right) on Akamina Ridge comes into view.

A good look at Kintla Peak (centre) and Kinnerly Peak (right).

The view back to Forum Peak.

Approaching Akamina Ridge with the summit on the right.

Looking to climber’s right at “Bennett Peak (Ashman Ridge)” (left), “Bennett Pass Peak” (centre), and Wall Lake.

A closer look at Wall Lake shows the trail along the far shoreline.

It looked like it would be a bit of a grind to reach the top of the first high point, but it was only a 130 m elevation gain over ~590 m from the col.

Glancing back as we start to ascend.

There was an excellent trail we could follow – at least part of the way. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

My view back to the col. The trail from Forum Lake comes up the ridge on the far left.

A pano from the previous location. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

The same except looking to the northwest. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

The trail soon veered to climber’s left for a more gradual approach, but because it did not save time or really even energy, we continued straight up the ridge. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

The summit of the first high point on Akamina Ridge.

Looking back to Andrew.

A good view of “Akamina Minor” (centre) and the summit of Akamina Ridge (right of centre).

Despite the smoky haze, we had a decent view of Upper Kintla Lake.

Glancing back to Forum Peak. There is a ~150 m difference in height between Forum and the summit of Akamina Ridge.

A better look at Upper Kintla Lake with Kinnerly Peak and Kintla Peak on the left.

The view down to Wall Lake as I make my way off the high point.

Andrew’s view over to me. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

My view back to the high point.

Making the ~1 km walk to the summit. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

Heading towards the col. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

A different view of the previous photo. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

From this angle, it looks like “Akamina Minor” is connected by a very sketchy ridge.

We could almost see the entirety of Wall Lake.

We aren’t far away now.

Glancing back to the first high point.

The connecting ridge to “Akamina Minor” is not looking any better! 😳

The summit of Akamina Ridge (2600 m).

A pano with me on top of Akamina. (Photo by Andrew Nugara)

A pano to the east…

And then to the south.

Gazing west…

Then northwest.

Finally, the view to the north.

In hindsight, we should’ve tackled “Akamina Minor”. 🤔

Long Knife Peak would be an interesting trip! The Canada / US border almost bisects the mountain but the summit sits in the US.

The summit of Chapman Peak pokes over Mount Custer.

Mighty Niitaaspiitaa (Mount Cleveland).

A hazy telephoto of Mount Carter (left) and Rainbow Peak (right).

Starvation Peak (left) with an intriguing, unnamed argillite peak on the right. 🤔 In the foreground on the lower right is “Akamina West 2”.

Looking north at Piinaquiium (Mount Blakiston) (centre), Mount Lineham (right), and Mount Rowe (foreground).

A closer look at Mount Lineham.

A hazy Mount Carthew.

Buchanan Ridge (centre) was a fun trip. 😊

Gazing down the Akamina Parkway at “Rogan Peak” (left of centre) and Mount Galwey (right of centre).

Mount Alderson (centre) and “Carthew Minor” (foreground left).

The view back to the first high point.

Where we started the day: Forum Peak.

Two of the peaks I need to get to: Festubert Mountain (centre) and Lone Mountain (far right).

Looking again at Kinnerly Peak (right), Kintla Peak (right of centre), and Mount Peabody (left)

Long Knife Peak (right of centre) with a cool looking ridge in the foreground.

Another look at King Edward Peak (left), Starvation Peak (centre), and the very intriguing, See Peak which is the high point on Kishinena Ridge (right). Mount Ashman is in the foreground on the right.

Two other peaks that I need to get to: Mount Matkin and Font Mountain.

Gazing over to Mount Hawkins (centre).

Our consolation peak for the day: “Bennett Peak (Ashman Ridge)” .

Andrew enjoying the views.

I still have the sunglasses that I found on Mount Lineham. Normally I lose or wreck at least a pair every year, so the fact that I still have these is momentus. 😂

Click to follow us to “Bennett Peak (Ashman Ridge)”.

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