Anderson Peak and Lost Mountain

August 6, 2022. Visiting a pair of summits near Waterton’s Red Rock Canyon.

  • Region: Waterton Lakes National Park. Traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Ktunaxa First Nations
  • Distance: 18.2 km round trip
  • Total Ascent: 1325 m
  • Elevation of Objective: 2692 m (Anderson Peak), 2513 m (Lost Mountain)
  • Total Time: 7h 16m
  • Safety and Disclaimer

I’m aware of 3 routes to the top of Anderson Peak. One is described in Nugara’s More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies 3rd ed. It’s a moderate/difficult scramble route which ascends a rocky drainage then tags the eastern summit before continuing to the true summit. Another one involves approaching the mountain as the final part of a long west-to-east ridge walk starting near Twin Lakes. The final one is a route ascending a major drainage directly south of the summit. This is the one I see most often reported in online groups and the one I decided to follow for my first trip to the mountain. As part of the trip I also planned to tag the summit of Lost Mountain which is immediately adjacent to Anderson.

Access is from the Red Rock Parkway in Waterton. After parking at the Red Rock Canyon parking lot I followed the Blakiston Creek Trail west for a little under 5 km to the 3rd major drainage coming down from the slopes to the north. I left the trail there and bushwhacked a bit, following alongside a dried creek bed. I crossed over to the right side and after crashing through low bushes for a time was on clear slopes and ascending. Pretty soon I found myself down on the rocky part of the drainage since there was bare rock there that was easy to ascend. I did this for as long as possible before finally having to climb up alongside the drainage again on the right side.

The summit is not visible from the ascent slope. I chose a line and started ascending. The terrain was steeply sloped and generally had poor footing. To try to reduce the slog I found myself in a subsidiary drainage that gently angled me to climber’s right. The usual route doesn’t veer right, but I’m not sure that would have been any easier (or harder). Near the summit ridge I got onto the usual black rubble that is near the tops of most mountains in the area. The slope was steep but the rocks were pretty stable, they just made for tricky footing. After some more arduous climbing I was on top of the ridge and could see the summit a few hundred metres to my left. A slight descent then some steep hiking got me to the summit of Anderson Peak. It took 3 hours 47 minutes to this point.

Getting to Lost Mountain from Anderson involved a short descent southwest to the col. Some brief moderate scrambling was required ascending from the col. In very little time I was on the summit of Lost Mountain. The views from both peaks are similar, though naturally they’re better from Anderson because it’s almost 200 metres taller. For my descent I returned to the col and began to pick my way down, careful not to descend too soon so as to avoid some rock bands. The terrain was a mixture of steep dirt, shallow scree, grasses and pebbles on slabs. Nothing that allowed for a quick and carefree descent. I was grumbling a bit by the time I got back to the bushwhack, then the harassing insects I encountered had me grumbling a lot. Once back on the trail I had a pleasant walk back to my car.

Click/tap on the pictures in the gallery below to access higher resolution images.

Route overview looking north.
Anderson Peak, as seen from the Red Rock Canyon Parking area. The nearest peak is the eastern summit.
Following the Blakiston Creek Trail. Just over 1 km along is Blakiston Falls. There are two viewing platforms that extend over the edge of the canyon.
Blakiston Falls
Continuing past Blakiston Falls.
A section of the creek with exposed red argillite.
The first drainage coming down from Anderson Peak.
Continuing along the trail. Aahkoinimaiisták/Mount Blakiston and Mount Hawkins are on the other side of the valley.
The second drainage. This is the start of Nugara’s scrambling route.
The third drainage, just under 5 km from the trailhead. Anderson Peak’s summit isn’t visible. It’s beyond the yellow rocks at the centre of the col. Lost Mountain is on the left. I departed from the trail here and picked my way through thinner areas of vegetation to the creek bed, then crossed over. The dried creek bed actually intersected the trail a short distance before this clearing. It would have been fine to just start following it from back there, though following it on my return trip I found it full of debris and shrubs. Travel wasn’t much easier than simply being alongside the creek bed.
In the shrubbery to the right of the creek bed. It thinned out up ahead.
Despite it being August there was still water cascading down the drainage.
Climbing up alongside the cascade. Enjoyable terrain.
I came across a boulder with some interesting whorls in its rock.
A close look at patterns in the rock of the boulder. Are these stromatolites?
Around here I departed from the watercourse and climbed to the right because I saw all the bushes ahead. It turns out I could have carried on following the water without having to deal with any problematic bushwhacking.
Away from the drainage now, heading for the exposed rocks up ahead. As I climbed I veered slightly right. If I’d stayed in the depression to the left I would have continued on a straight shot towards the summit.
Taking a break and looking back across the valley.
Looking over at Lost Mountain.
Continuing the ascent. If I’d made directly for those grey rocks I’d be going right for the summit. I ended up staying right.
Off the grassy slopes now.
Looking to my right. The grade was pretty steep the whole way.
I found myself in another drainage and followed it until I reached the black rocks. Then I veered left.
By this time I was pretty tired of climbing this slope. I was pretty sure I’d see the top right away.
I was wrong. The grade lessened a bit but I wasn’t on top yet.
When I finally reached the summit ridge I was greeted by this view of Mount Glendowan.
Looking to the left, the summit was finally in sight.
Walking over to the final climb to Anderson Peak’s summit. Lost Mountain on the left.
Looking back to the black rocks where I’d climbed up.
The summit cairn on Anderson Peak.
Looking northeast. Mount Glendowan, Cloudy Ridge, Mount Dungarvan, “Rogan Peak”, and Mount Galwey.
Looking south. Aahkoinimaiisták/Mount Blakiston and Mount Hawkins are across the valley. Lost Mountain is to the right. Beyond Lost are Lone Mountain and Festubert Mountain. Further beyond are Long Knife Peak, Starvation Peak, and King Edward Mountain.
Looking west. At centre is “Kootenay Brown Peak”. The top of Mount Bauerman is visible just beyond KB’s peak. Beyond that is Kishinena Peak. Avion Ridge is to the right. Festubert Mountain and Lone Mountain are to the left.
Looking north. Avion Ridge is straight ahead.
Another look over to Aahkoinimaiisták/Mount Blakiston. Nínaiistáko/Chief Mountain is in the distance on the left.
Down on the col, heading towards Lost Mountain.
Ascending from the col. Some scrambling terrain ahead.
Here I went left and climbed some straightforward scrambling terrain.
Looking right, towards the cliffs below “Kootenay Brown”‘s summit.
Here, the terrain on the left was unfriendly and I didn’t immediately see a weakness on the right, so I went right up the middle.
The summit cairn on Lost Mountain.
Looking back towards Anderson Peak.
Looking west towards “Kootenay Brown Peak”. I had read somewhere that they were working on making that an official name. Kishinena Peak is beyond KBP to the left.
Lone Mountain
The steep drop immediately east of the summit.
Back down at the col.
A look back at the terrain east of Lost Mountain’s summit. The cairn is just visible.
Back alongside the drainage.
Almost down. Steep dirt, grassy rock-strewn slopes, shallow scree, and pebbles on slabs prevented any carefree rapid descent.
Down in the valley again. As mentioned above, I tried following the creek bed back to the trail but it was so full of rubble and brush that it was more aggravating than the terrain adjacent to it.
Back on the trail.
Alongside Blakiston Creek.
Walking out.

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