Protection Mountain Ridge

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photo: Saul Greenberg
  • Canadian Rockies, between Castle Mountain and Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Map and GPS data.
  • Scramble
  • 28km linear, 32km actual. 2200M total elevation gain.
  • Trailhead: 12.4km North of Castle Junction.

Opinion. Perhaps one of the best one-day ridge walks in the Rockies. Rarely done, likely because of its length. While there is scrambling on route, I would rate it as 'easy' according to the scrambling guide. Best done in good weather with no snow.

Fact. Follow trail to mine at end. Scramble up to ridge (gully on left is good once you reach it). Head SE over easy ground. At Col1 (gr 697907) the ridge narrows; scramble it as it approaches TV peak. From TV Peak, drop NE to saddle at gr716903 (Col2), then join the wide gentle ridge heading S. Classic broad ridge walk undulating over small peaks en route. The ridge joins Stuart Knob - scramble up on E. Side. Then drop onto col connecting to Castle, and descend scree into austere basin to the S. Aim to left side of basin, and follow stream. Note: Cliffs block the way, and you will need to find your way through them as described below. Stream dead-ends into cliff drop-off below. From here, no necky climbing / scrambling is necessary, so if you are doing some you are not going the right way! To get through cliffs: Contour left until you can descend reasonably to next meadow. Then descend to Rockbound Lake either by steep scree gully through cleft in cliff (slightly left of previous descent), or keep contouring far left over hill until you can descend easily into the SE end of the Lake. Follow trail to road.