July 2, 2012
Waterton Lakes National Park, AB
The plan between Eric and myself on the 3rd day of this past Canada Day long weekend was one of the three long traverses in Waterton, the “Hawkins Horseshoe”, Newman/Spionkop/Avion, or Anderson to Bauerman. None of them appeared overly lengthy on paper so we decided to just sleep at Pincher Creek rather than car-camping at the trail-head. This way we could have some “real” breakfast in the morning. The downside of doing that was the increased likelihood of getting laze. My alarm failed to drag us out of the comfortable sleeping bags and thank to some further delays we didn’t manage to start the hike until 9:00 am in the morning…
The Newman-Spionkop-Avion is a group of less-known objectives by Red Rock Canyon on the northern boundary of Waterton. They are all well documented in Andrew Nugara’s More Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, but draw less amount of interest comparing to the popular Kane’s scrambles.
The initial trudge on Snowshoe Trail went by pretty fast. And in fact, this would have been a good trail to bike. For us biking wasn’t an option for two reasons. Firstly there’s no way to fit 2 bikes in my car and secondly, we weren’t sure whether or not we’d return via the same route.
We soon reached the junction where Goat Lake Trail started, and we took a right turn. On Goat Lake Trail, we were distracted by the flowers and waterfalls and I have to say that they’re way more colourful than what I remembered from the central Canadian Rockies. The trail was a bit overgrown at places, but easy to follow even by hiker’s standard. We arrived at Goat Lake under a cloudy sky but the lake was beautiful nonetheless. The trail beyond the lake was snowbound, but good sets of foot prints led us up skirting around all the rock bands. The snow was very supportive (thankfully). After reaching treeline, we didn’t have to deal with snow, and a good trail led us to the col between Avion and Newman. Newman Peak was just to our right, so we ascent it without taking a break. From the summit, we could see a higher point immediately to our east, after double checking my Gem Trek Map, we confirmed that the one we were standing on was Newman Peak, and the other one was an unnamed peak at GR127513 (11:58AM).
We also bagged this GR127513. Due to the fact it lacks a name, nor did it get covered in a guidebook, I don’t want to claim it as a separate summit, so I’ll treat it as a sub (but higher) peak of Newman. I got much better view from its top.
We ditched our backpacks on the summit of Newman Peak, and quickly made our way towards Spionkop Ridge.