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Burstall Pass Peak

Summit Elevation (m): 2793
Elevation Gain (m): 1000
Trip Time (hr): 7
Total Trip Distance (km): 19
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something. Unless you’re caught in an avalanche – then you could die.
Difficulty Notes: Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.
GPS Track DownloadDownload GPX File
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Ski)
Map: Google Maps

On Saturday, January 23 2010 I joined a nice large group of friends for a jaunt up Burstall Pass Peak in the Burstall Pass area of Kananaskis. Since I had a bat attitude (or “battitude”) on the evening before, I decided to sleep in an extra hour and try to catch the rest of the group on the way up the pass. I was a bit bummed out on the drive to K-country because the weather was very grey and depressing. I was starting to think sleeping in would have been a great idea.

Burstall Pass Peak Route Map

At the parking lot the weather was still socked in but since I was there anyway I decided to get a work out and try to catch up to the rest of the group. I went quickly up the trail and 1 hour 5 minutes later I was over the first major elevation gain and thinking that I may not catch the group quite as quickly as I thought! 

Cutting across some snow slopes near Burstall Pass, heading towards the peak.

At the final slope before the pass I finally heard voices ahead of me and was relieved to come around a corner and run into the group. To make things even better, the sun finally started to poke out and there wasn’t even a breath of wind as we crested the pass – very unusual for this area.

Anne-Marie and TJ on the summit of Burstall Pass Peak.

TJ led a great line up the first peak and soon we were strapping our skis on our packs and starting on a very cool high traverse to the true summit. We spent a good half hour on the summit with snow dust drifting down on us and the sun warm on our faces – it was fantastic! 

Looking over South Burstall Pass (R) towards the line of rock that is Whistling Rock Peak (L), Zeke’s Peak and Mount Sir Douglas (R).
Looking over South Burstall Pass (C) towards the line of rock that is Zeke’s Peak (L) and Mount Sir Douglas (C).
Mount Assiniboine looms over the Spray River Valley and the mountains lining it’s western edge.

The ski down the pass had some great moments, the best being some glades just under the pass.

Skiing back down into the Burstall Valley under Mount Birdwood.

All-in-all a great day out and I’m very glad I didn’t miss it.

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