I drug Ryan out to Waterton to go on one last epic hike of the season. I don’t know how the summer went by so fast but now I will not be finishing the Triple Crown of Waterton. But I thought I would at least accomplish Akamina Ridge, a feat that I didn’t accomplish and will now explain.
Ryan is not a hiker; he laced up his street shoes and had one last puff before we started our hike.
The first kilometer or so is an easy, steady uphill walk until you come to the border line that crosses you into B.C.’s Akamina-Kishena Provincial Park. A map is also next to the sign to let you know what trails lead where.
Very shortly after passing the invisible provincial border, we came upon this sign. I chose to go left to Akamina Ridge, but I knew it was possible to go straight to Wall Lake first and on to Akamina Ridge. As soon as you take that left you pass an old abandoned ranger headquarters.
Right behind these buildings is a very short path to Forum Falls.
After the falls you begin the ascent toward Forum Lake. I would call it a medium climb, watch out for all the tree roots on the trail. Toward the top you reach a marsh covered with a thin man made boardwalk to walk across.
Shortly after this marsh, we got to Forum Lake and sat down to eat lunch and prepare for the climb along the ridge.
Once we finished eating we were ready for the steep climb up the side of this lake to the ridge.
Now here is where the true adventure begins. This climb was steep and my hiking style is to take several 15-30 second rests as I hike. Ryan was getting annoyed because his style is to push through until you are there. We finally get to the top and the trail split into two. We could see Akamina Ridge on our left and below us, Wall Lake.
Sadly, I had not read enough on this hike to know exactly where to go. So I went by sight (I had seen many photos of Akamina Ridge) and I began to go left toward the ridge, only to come to a very steep scramble. As I began to scramble up, Ryan lost his temper. He was in street shoes and had no traction on the shifting terrain and I didn’t even know for sure if this climb would take us where we wanted to go. So we turned around and went back to the fork and started on the second trail that started to go down toward Wall Lake. I knew this wasn’t right either because we had to hike the ridge. Increasingly frustrated with not knowing where to go, Ryan and I began to bicker and in a temper I told him we were done and going back.
Have you ever been in a fight while hiking? It’s pretty funny. I would storm ahead of him only to stop until he was in my view to yell and keep going. I was mad, not really with him but in general. I have never NOT finished a hike! I couldn’t believe that I was turning around and not finishing what I set out to do. The achiever in me was dying, calling me all sorts of names and it just made me more angry.
Halfway down, my temper had cooled and we made up. We even ended the hike holding hands, and though the achiever in me was still mad, we both agreed it was a good day and we enjoyed each others company.
So now I have to attempt Akamina Ridge again next year. Which I guess I would have had to do anyway to complete the Triple Crown.
0 thoughts on “Attempt to hike Akamina Ridge, Waterton, AB”
Much more scenic in winter. Less people (no people) and powder to snowboard back down!
Have you done this in winter? You would have to cross country ski in from the Cameron Road blockade.
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Yikes! Good to know. Thank you so much for the heads up!
I enjoyed reading your account of the Akamina hike because I had the same confusion when I was hiking it with a girlfriend two summers ago. Once you’re up on that saddle where you’re staring over the edge to Wall Lake, we figured we were supposed to turn right, cuz the insurmountable wall of boulders to the left seemed, well, insurmountable. Unfortunately, that IS the correct way to go, but it wasn’t easy! Once you’re over that wall, the rest of the ridge is amazing. I’ve hiked literally thousands of kilometers in the Rockies and Akamina Ridge is right in my top three faves. We are planning to do the Waterton Triple Crown AND the Fantastic Four next summer. If you need a few girls to tag along with, let me know! (This is also why I don’t hike with the bf…)
Thank you for sharing your account! I was worried that we were ridiculous to not know the way! The need to put a small sign up to direct hikers. I will conquer Akamina Ridge next summer for sure!
Oh my, we did what you did at the fork, except it was foggy looking upward and someone said it was just a lookout from to the left, so we went to the right, downward towards Wall Lake. We scrambled for 2 hours down the very steep slope of extremely loose terrain then bushwacked our way at the bottom to get on the trail beside Wall Lake. I guess by the time we realized we were on the wrong trail, it was too treacherous to turn back, however given the fog, wouldn’t have seen anything from the ridge anyway. We are definitely doing this hike again only now we know which way to go!!
Holy cow you went down that?! Good thing you lived to tell the tale! I still haven’t managed to make it back yet, so Akamina Ridge still alludes me.