Burstall Pass Peak

February 16, 2009

Mountain height:         2615 m
Elevation gain:            700 m
Ascent time:                4:50
Descent time:              3:10                

Snowshoeing with Mark.

Unofficially named Burstall Pass Peak sits immediately southwest of Burstall Pass and is a slightly easier alternative to Snow Peak. The ascent is well documented in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide, Volume 1.

The scenery on the way to Burstall Pass was expectedly outstanding, especially the views of Commonwealth Peak, Mount Birdwood and Snow Peak. Just as impressive was the snow-covered form of the day’s objective. Though not much more than a big hump, the contours of the peak’s snowy ridges under a brilliant, blue sky were beautiful.

The actual ascent was fairly straightforward, save for a couple of steeper and slightly exposed sections. Unfortunately, the good weather held only to the east of the Continental Divide. Much to the west and south was obscured by low lying clouds. We reached the first cairned summit and then continued to the slightly higher summit to the south. That traverse looked to be quite exposed and steep in places, but was actually very easy.

After hanging out for about 45 minutes, in the hopes the weather would improve, we gave up and started back. It appeared that a clearing trend was in the works, but we didn’t have the time to wait around for it. Except for the crumby weather to the west, an outstanding and wonderfully scenic trip.

Above the headwall, with Mount Birdwood, Pig's Tail, and Commonwealth Peak behind

The open slopes below Burstall Pass

Nearing the objective

Same as above; false summit at the left

Looking back to the east

Burstall Pass Peak; the summit is at the left; false summit in the centre

The false summit

A pleasant curve of snow

The false summit and ascent route again

Mark beneath the Sun

Looking back

Approaching the ridge

Heading towards the false summit

Looking north; Mount Sir Douglas is behind the clouds

Almost at the false summit

Traversing the ridge

Same as above

Looking back along the ridge

Approaching the crux of the trip, although is wasn't at all difficult

Same as above

Nearing the true summit

Heading down

Looking to the west; Mount Leman at the left


Same as above; Snow Peak in front

More of the descent

The sky starts to clear over Sir Douglas

Not steep enough to Crazy Carpet

The stunning environs of Burstall Pass

Mount Sir Douglas

Part of Snow Peak (left) and Mount Smuts

Mount Birdwood again