Mt. James Walker South Ridge Route(Scramble) 3035m
FA- Mr & Mrs L.Kubbernus, H.Kariel, P.Vermeulen and others in party, Aug.1975
From Sawmill parking lot along the Smith-Dorrien Road, go and east from behind the bathroom following a flood drainage to a locked gate. Go left and north following an old road. This mellow road goes up and down until an obvious V-split in the trail. An earlier trail heads off and up right earlier- don’t take this. The trail hooks around NE then east into the valley and soon you will come to a boulderfield and dry mud lake. The trail heads into the forest when the creek emerges from a canyon. Hike up following flagging and an OK trail that is easy to loose for few hundred meters. Aim for the slender rockwall up the valley. Once the trail spits you below the 20m high rockwall follow a wide gravel trail up and north(water source).
Get above the rockwall onto a hilly plateau that is usually windy but has great views of the whole area. If you have binos, scope the SW ridge descent which is basically down the large bowl-slope and into a tight gully near the bottom. This is easier to find coming down as there are some cairns marking the way, however it doesn’t hurt to take a photo from here, so when you are descending you can spot some obvious natural features to help guide you properly.
Head around the bulk of James Walker to the east then north, or to some the right side of the mountain from the plateau. Pleasant hiking over slabby rock and you will pass a pretty tarn. Keep meandering up the valley NE and don’t be tempted to head up any gullies. Keep following the valley back until it forms a gentle slope that heads up. The north ridge of Inflexible will now be on your right. Stay the course up the gentle, unhindered, rising valley of rock. After a solid 30 minutes or more, this will put you onto a flat plateau with a good boulder to hide behind for food. You can easily walk to the obvious edge of the north ridge to look out into the Kananaskis Valley and highway #40.
From the only lunch boulder, either follow the summit edge up(no info) or go straight up from the boulder to a rockband in the steep, and loose(bring a helmet!) slope and bust through it, eventually making the south ridge of James Walker. Follow this north to the summit which has a few spots where care must be taken but they are short sections of exposure.
Descend either the exact way you came, or more recommended is to follow the entire length of the south ridge until it puts you onto the wide open scree bowl as seen from the hike in. Hike down this which becomes steeper but is still loose hiking only. Look for cairns that will put you through the exit gully, if not, you will be doing some hands on down climbing the bottom cliffband. Now on the grassy plateau, follow it out the valley and back to your car.
This is a big day as the approach just getting into the valley takes up the bulk of time spent. Don’t think a bike is a bad idea!