Inflexible, Mount GR:264271

elevation: 3,000 m.  height gain: 1,170 m.
area: Smith-Dorrien/Spray Area,AB
map 82 J/14

Via the James Walker Creek trail and north-west facing slopes. See pictures for our route description.

unnamed lake

Mount James Walker in the background mirrors in the small unnamed lake.
Scramble: RT 11.0; 5.5 up.When we did Mount Lawson in 2006, traversing to Mount Inflexible was out of the question, we had Winston dog with us and I didn't have the skills. Recently, a couple of vague trip reports have popped up on the internet describing ascents from the James Walker Creek trail. That approach was very appealing to me, the popular trail isn't very long and the way to the mountain's ascent slopes only requires a 5 minute walk through open timber from the trail. Beyond the trees, the whole scramble is revealed. Travel up the talus isn't particularly unpleasant, Fab and I stopped often to look at the mountain and visualize possible lines of ascent. Our friend Jay used a gully bridged by snow to gain a prominent scree ramp, that option didn't seem safe with the presence of moats. Another friend, Raff, came down from the north summit using that scree ramp and slabby benches. The latter, although unclear, seemed to provide the better route; we agreed it was worth investigating. The prominent scree ramp appeared to go all the way to the summit ridge avoiding all the outcrops on the ridge crest. The ascent started easy enough but as we got higher, the small rockbands separating the slabby benches became increasingly taller. As we began traversing towards the ramp, we encountered the crux of the climb: friction walking on moderately steep downsloping slabs with unfavourable runouts. Some route finding was necessary to negotiate crossing over several ribs. Once we reached the ramp, we resumed a fairly easy climb on snow and slabs. Higher up, slabs gave way to very loose terrain. Every step made talus shift all around sending rocks into our shins, it was a great relief to step onto the ridge. On the way to the north summit, I couldn't resist peering over the overhanging ridge for an exhilarating glance straight down to the valley below. I was a bit disappointed that the summit didn't have a register or a cairn, I decided to build one. We enjoyed a long stay at the top, the weather was stellar. Even though I was happy to be on the taller peak, I felt like our adventure wasn't complete until we visited the other summit; Fab agreed and off we went. The traverse took about an hour, we had to circumvent several outcrops on loose terrain, checking every hold along the way. We were thrilled to reach the second summit, the view onto Mount Lawson and the Kent Creek Valley is entirely worth it. The side trip also provided the opportunity to descend a different way. We used a ramp that parallels the one we ascended, it is situated higher and connects easily to the other ramp. Nearing the waterfalls, we came down an alternate way that we spotted while going up the steep slabby benches; it was nice to avoid those! All and all, today's scramble was very satisfying. The view from both summits is worthwhile and the approach via James Walker isn't long and tedious. We really liked this one, a true scrambler's delight!

talus slope

A 5 minute walk off the James Walker Creek trail in open timber leads to this talus slope.

our route

The arrows indicate our chosen route to the north summit and the descent from the south summit. The descent route is the preferred way to get above the waterfalls.

easy at first

Initially, the route is straightforward.

path of least resistance

Following the path of least resistance.


Again, the arrows indicate our routes up and down.

kent north

The snow gully (above Fab) can be ascended to reach the prominent scree ramp but it is more hazardous.

moderate scrambling

A bit of moderate scrambling.

downsloping slabs

Traversing on downsloping slabs, visible lower down is the easier way to access the prominent scree ramp.

aiming for a weakness

Aiming for a weakness to surmount a short rockwall.

end of traverse on slabs

The traverse on slabs delivered us on the scree ramp which easily leads to the summit ridge.

looking back

Looking back.

enjoying the snow

Enjoying the remaining snow.

interesting slab

An interesting slab along the ascent.

distinctive strata

The strata on Mount Inflexible is quite distinctive with several scree ramps. Noticeable is the easy passage on snow from the upper ramp we chose on the way down.

very loose talus

The final talus pitch to the ridge is very loose.

summit ridge

On the summit ridge with the south summit in the background.

peering down an overhang

Peering down the overhanging summit ridge on the way to the north summit.

north summit

Happy to reach the top of the higher but unofficial summit of Mount Inflexible.

mount james walker

Mount James Walker to the north.

mount assiniboine

Mount Assiniboine is always easy to pick out.

highway 40 scrambles

Mount Kidd, Spoon Needle and The Wedge are just a few scrambles from highway 40.

mount joffre

Mount Joffre south of us looms over surrounding peaks.

traverse to south summit

Traversing to the south summit.

on the connecting ridge

Fabrice is delighted, this is a good scramble!

looking down

Mount Kent North's connecting ridge also allows a traverse to Mount Inflexible. The arrows depict the ramps we used.

short scramble on loose terrain

Talus and a short scramble on loose terrain is required to reach the top of the official summit.

typical terrain

Typical terrain.

south summit

Checking out the register.

basin between lawson and kent

The lovely broad basin between Mounts Lawson and Kent is worth seeing.

mount lawson

Mount Lawson and its infamous traverse.

looking north

Glancing at the apparently higher north summit.

heading back

Heading back down.

unpleasant loose talus

The very loose talus isn't the most pleasant even on the way down...

snow is welcome

...but the snow is always welcome!

joining this morning's route

Connecting the upper scree bench with the lower ramp we used on the approach.

alternate way

Aiming for an alternate way that avoids the slabs.

easier route

The alternate way is easier than the traverse on slabs from our approach.

clear view of the passage

A clear view of the passage to the scree ramp.

initial part of the climb

Back on the initial part of the climb.


Looking up at the waterfalls.

talus slope

The talus slope which leads to the James Walker Creek trail.
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