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Topic "Mt. Bourgeau (1 of 12)" started by Ferenc Jacso on Dec-22-2008
Topic "Mt. Bourgeau (1 of 19)" started by Dave Stephens on Oct-02-2005
Topic "Bourgeau (again) (1 of 10)" started by Dave Stephens on Dec-30-2005
Topic "Long hike on Bourgeau (1 of 6)" started by Vern Dewit on Jun-04-2006

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (1 of 6)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Sunday, June 04, 2006 04:32 PM

On Friday, June 2 I hiked to the summit of Mount Bourgeau with Wietse Bijlsma, a new friend from The Netherlands who proved he has the mental toughness to be a competent scrambler. Although Bourgeau is not difficult, it is bloody long! 40,000 steps to be exact! (I was wearing a pedometer in case you don't believe me...)

http://www.fresho2.com/vern/scrambles/bourgeau/bourgeau.html

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (2 of 6)
Author: Dave MacDonald
Date: Sunday, June 04, 2006 05:30 PM

Great photos Vern. How far along the trail did you encounter the waterfalls? And how many do you figure you saw up close? I may have to make a trip to take some photos...

Dave MacDonald

http://macdonald.typepad.com

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (3 of 6)
Author: Marko Stavric
Date: Sunday, June 04, 2006 09:27 PM

Beautiful photos! Mount Bourgeau is where I first tried snowshoeing. It was so enjoyable as I raced past my friends who were breaking trail through some pretty deep snow. ;)

This is what it looked like in October:
http://www.arsonal.com/~marko/2005/2005-10-08_Mount_Bourgeau/index.htm

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (4 of 6)
Author: Sonny Bou
Date: Monday, June 05, 2006 12:33 AM

Nicely done, Vern, and impressive pictures to boot (as usual). By the way, it may interest you to know that your "impressive outlier of Mount Brett" just happens to be Pilot Mountain.

Sonny

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (5 of 6)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Monday, June 05, 2006 06:03 AM

I wondered about that Sonny - thanx for the correction! ;-)

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com

Topic: Long hike on Bourgeau (6 of 6)
Author: Jp S
Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 10:25 AM

Looks like a good hike - it is rated as one of the top hikes in "don't waste your time in the Rockies"

jp

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (1 of 10)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Friday, December 30, 2005 10:01 PM

Another Bourgeau day, and another whiteout. This time Blair and I bagged it for sure. We made it to the big building. After a couple of months of inactivity, 5,000 ft of height gain is just what the doctor ordered. Actually, I'm suffering from a cold from hell, and the doctor would have ordered bed rest, but I needed to get out. We skied up the scramble route. Trip report will follow (probably tomorrow).


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (2 of 10)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Friday, December 30, 2005 11:47 PM

Congrats Dave, I wish I could've joined you but wouldn't you know it - I was stuck at work all day today!

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (3 of 10)
Author: Sonny Bou
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005 05:42 AM

Well done, Dave. Another 1500 metres just for a silly white building... Hope the ski out was worth the second effort! :-)

Sonny

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (4 of 10)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005 06:03 AM

Congrats Dave! I can't believe you had another whiteout to contend with, as well as a hellcold. Can't wait to hear about the run down from the summit!!!:-)

Linda Breton

Website: http://scramblesandrambles.150m.com/scrambles.htm
Email: peaksdarkandbright@yahoo.ca


Topic: Bourgeau (again) (5 of 10)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005 11:27 AM

On Friday, 30 Dec 05, Blair Piggot and I summitted Mt. Bourgeau via the scramble route.

*************************************
The Thought Process
*************************************

Blair had spent the holiday season in Golden, where it had rained hard daily all the way to 8,000 ft. This wiped out the skiing in that area, and made the avi danger so high, you couldn't go ice climbing either. So Blair was ready to come home. Unfortunately, the recent warm weather had taken a serious toll on the climbing in Waterton. There is no snowpack left in Waterton and the ice climbs east of the divide have all vanished, so Blair came to my house Thursday night, and we decided to give Bourgeau a try.

One reason we picked Bourgeau was because through this tragic weather, Sunshine Village has been doing great, so I thought the skiing should be relatively good nearby. The other reason was due to my questionable ascent back on October 1st, where I wasn't sure if I had reached the summit.

Given that my last trip up Bourgeau was just under 7 hours round trip, I figure this would be a short day, so we were planning on 6-7 hours. That meant we didn't have to get up too early.

*************************************
The Details
*************************************

We got up at 0445, drank coffee, packed and left Strathmore by 0600. After a bathroom stop at the Cochrane turnoff, and a breakfast stop at Tim Horton's in Canmore, we arrive at the Bourgeau Lake parking lot by 0830. As we geared up, I noticed that I left my waterbottles and thermos at home. Fortunately, Blair had an extra litre of water, so I took that. After all, it should be a short day, so 1L over a 6 hour day won't be too bad. So, we geared up and headed out. By 0850, we were skiing up the trail to Bourgeau Lake.

The snowpack on the trail was about 2-3 inches thick and very icy from the recent melt-freeze cycles. Of course, going up wasn't a problem, but coming down would be another story.

After we crossed the first bridge, the snowpack started to increase, which was a welcome sign. When we arrived at Bourgeau Lake, we started to experience even more snow (probably a foot in depth), but we also started to experience some whumphing. Instantly, I had my doubts that we'd even make it to Harvey Pass, but we decided to press on and see what the conditions were like around the second lake.

When we arrived at the second lake (pretty much treeline), conditions changed. Every rib was scoured, and every gully between the scree ribs was loaded. In these gullies, the snowpack was questionable, and given the shallow-ness of the snowpack, it was even more suspect, but these gullies were only about 6 ft wide, so we just carefully stepped across, and pressed on. We had to carry our skis most of the way from just prior to the second lake up to the flat meadow below Harvey Lake. This is the disadvantage to performance oriented skis.... they are freaking heavy.

Once in the meadow below Harvey Lake, we were faced with the crux avalanche slope. We stayed on the windward (left) side and got up without incident. The snow here was actually pretty good. Heavy windblown powder and moderately stable, but 100% better than what we had been experiencing. We then went across Harvey Lake to Harvey Pass. The next part was disappointing. The slope above Harvey Pass had been blown clean. The cloud ceiling was dropping down, and the winds were getting a lot stronger. We ditched our skis at the pass and stumbled our way up the slope. The higher we got, the lower the visibility.

I would put the visibility around 60m. Everytime Blair got further than that ahead of me, I couldn't see him. After two months of not climbing (other than one low cardio day of roadside ice climbing), this day was taking it's toll on me. Adding in a chest cold, and the fact that I was so dehyrated, I was suffering. Fortunately, Blair was suffering with me. Misery loves company.

After a long time (like forever), we reached the nub that I had previously thought was the summit. With visibility around 60m instead of the 5m like last time, I could see more slope up ahead. I had not reached the summit last time. We slogged up the final slope, and boy was I dragging. I was honestly ready to call it quits, and I was just looking for an excuse, but Blair coaxed me into continuing, and about 150ft above my numb, we stumbled up to the building. It had taken us a whopping 6hrs 19mins to reach the summit. So much for a short day.

The building that sits at the summit was completely plastered in snow (from all sides). In fact, it looked like a huge snow ghost (trees that are covered in snow and you can't see the trees anymore).

With daylight fading (damn short days), we stumbled our way down the slope to the pass. We picked up our skis, and headed down. The skiing from Harvey Lake down to that flat meadow and even down to the second lake was pretty good, but then we had to carry our skis about half way down from the second lake to Bourgeau Lake. We crossed Bourgeau Lake and headed into the trees as the daylight disappeared. The trail from the parking lot to Bourgeau Lake is more narrow than our skis are long. This meant, you couldn't do hockey-style stops. Also, we were navigating by LED headlamps. This wasn't the brightest move we had made (no pun intended).

What would follow was a 7.5km snowplow from hell. For those that don't know, the snowplow is where you point your toes in, and push your feet out to create a wide V shape. Once we crossed the bridge, the trail is more ice than snow, and that meant we had to push the snowplow extra hard. By the time we had reached the parking lot, my outer quads were one big knot and my ass was so puckered that if I had pushed any harder, it would have sucked my underwear right inside me. 3hrs 20mins down, but a lot of that time was stumbling from the summit to the pass, and the time we spent carrying our skis over wind scoured slopes.

What I thought would be a great ski run requires a lot of snow and daylight. If there was about four feet of stable snow from summit to car, the skiing would be really good, but that trail needs to be wider. The normal ski route up Bourgeau looked like excellent skiing on the SE side of Harvey Pass, and we did think briefly about heading down that way and catching a ride with any one of my friends who were at Sunshine that day, but we thought we'd play it safe and head down that way we came.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (6 of 10)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005 11:47 PM

A great follow-up report to go with the first! It's got me laughing and cringing. :-)

Too bad about the snow conditions. I was surprised also to hear the trail was not wide enough to ski easily, that's disappointing. So much for my dreams of cruising through that forest...lol.

PS. Don't hold your breath for a Tangle Ridge ascent either. Snow conditions were poor for skiing, except for the last 150m of elevation.

Linda Breton

Website: http://scramblesandrambles.150m.com/scrambles.htm
Email: peaksdarkandbright@yahoo.ca


Topic: Bourgeau (again) (7 of 10)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Sunday, January 01, 2006 01:04 AM

Yeah, I had talked to Lisa Paulson (ex-Sunwapta Warden) about two months ago regarding Tangle Ridge, and she said the terrain indicated a nice ski objective, but the typical winds blast the ridge clear. Evidently, there is rarely enough snow to make the trip a worthy objective.



Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (8 of 10)
Author: Ken Takabe
Date: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 02:53 PM

Nice job Dave !

I guess there wasn't enough snow to ski down from Harvey Pass to Sunshine Village ?

I just can't imagine going down that narrow trail all the way to the parking lot. It's almost like a singletrack mountain biking trail !

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (9 of 10)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 03:28 PM

Hey Ken,

The route from Harvey Pass down to the Sunshine parking lot is the normal ski route, and it looked really inviting. The problem was that our vehicle was in the Bourgeau Lake parking lot. Even at that, I knew several people who were at Sunshine that day, so we even thought about heading down that way and catching a ride from any of my friends. But by the time we returned to Harvey Pass from the summit, we wouldn't have reached the Sunshine parking lot in time. That would have put us a long way from our truck.

If you look in the temp directory on my webserver, then go into Bourgeau, the 10th picture shows the typical ski route back down to the Sunshine parking lot. This also gives you an idea of the snow at Egypt Lake.

http://www.dave-stephens.com/temp/


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Bourgeau (again) (10 of 10)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Sunday, January 01, 2006 02:57 PM

Great trip report Dave! That underwear comment had me very relieved that I didn't join you for this one! ;-)

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (1 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Sunday, October 02, 2005 09:29 AM

On Saturday, 01 Oct 05, I hiked/slogged my way up Mt. Bourgeau under less than ideal conditions. It was not my first choice of objectives, but after some topsy-turbie planning, that's where I ended up.

*************************************************
The Planning
*************************************************

Our second vehicle recently died, leaving us with one vehicle, and unfortunately it was looking like my wife had to work through the weekend. That meant I had no way of getting to the mountains. That's when Blair figured he'd pick me up and we'd climb somewhere up north (north of Waterton that is). No idea what we'd be doing, but probably something in the Alpine II range. On Thursday evening, Blair told me he had to work on Saturday and couldn't go climbing. So, I figured I wasn't heading to the mountains. Then a few hours later, my wife figured she didn't need to work, so I now had a way to get to the mountains.

Now I just needed to figured out what to do. I sent Vern an email asking if he wanted to link together a couple of smaller scrambles. Vern was planning on playing golf of all things. After the laughter, I then fired off an email to Sonny asking if he wanted to do Cougar Mtn. Sonny was busy too. So, I figured I'd save Cougar for a day that I can get together with others, I picked Bourgeau. I knew there would be snow, but Bourgeau is just hiking, so I should still be able to reach the summit without any problems.

*************************************************
The Climb
*************************************************

I left Strathmore at 0500 and arrived in the Bourgeau Lake parking lot at 0700. Lots of snow. Even in the parking lot, there was an inch of snow. By 0715, I was on my way. Temperatures were +1 with light and wet flurries. The trail to the Bourgeau Lake was obvious but covered in snow. By the time I reached the lake, there was about 3-5inches of snow on top of mud. I also lost the trail getting up from Bourgeau Lake to Harvey Lake. That resulted in some minor (but wet) bushwhacking. The two tarns above Bourgeau Lake were starting to freeze over with a slushy cover.

The thick cloud-cover kept me from knowing where Harvey Pass was and which way I should go, but I eventually found it. I accidently went up and over a bump NW of Harvey Lake. Note to self, next time, go to the far end of Harvey Lake and turn left, traversing around this bump. After going down the other side of this bump, I was at Harvey Pass (or one notch above it). The snow was now just below knee deep. I took my first break here.

The rest of the way to the summit was a huge slog. The snow was past the knee, and there was a rain crust about 14-18 inches down. About every other step, it would break. Near the summit, the ground tilts to the right. I broke that slab and got a 6inch shift in the snow. I guess it's time to start thinking about avalanche conditions. On the left side of the ridge were really big cornices. Since visibility was around 10 ft, it was a delicate balance to know which was uphill verse which was a cornice. I reached the top after 4hrs 04mins. It was one big snowy pile and I couldn't find the summit cairn. The visibility lifted for a second, where I could see all around me was a big drop. I confirmed my position with GPS (both elevation and grid reference). Yep. I had reached the summit.

As I sat on the summit, Visibility closed in to about 5ft. It was really hard to even see the postholing marks that I just made. I slowly made my way down, plunge-stepping back to Harvey Pass. For consistancy, I went back up and over that bump above Harvey Lake. I then was able to follow my tracks back down. This time, I found the trail between Harvey Lake and Bourgeau Lake. After another quick break, I continued my hike from Bourgeau Lake to the parking lot.

About an hour before the parking lot (near the bridge), I stumbled across three women going up to Bourgeau Lake looking for golden larches. After telling them that all of the larches were covered in snow and you'd have to shake the snow off of them before you could see the colour, they progressed anyway. I got to thinking... aren't there better places to see the larches?... maybe Larch Valley.

Anyway, I was back at the truck in 2hrs 40mins after leaving the summit. Despite the conditions, it was still nice to get out. For me, this was my first time out since mid-August, and I'm feeling it. Today is a day to watch football and snuggle up to my bottle of Advil.



Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (2 of 19)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Sunday, October 02, 2005 09:53 AM

Dave - perseverance gets the job done. Also sounds like you really badly needed a scrambling/workout fix. Lets hope it just keeps snowing and we can get on with the ski season!

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (3 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Sunday, October 02, 2005 10:03 AM

I was actually wishing I had my ski stuff. The skiing from the summit back to Bourgeau Lake would have been great. I'm just counting the days until I can put on the skis. It should be within the next couple of weeks. I bet you could currently ski on the Robertson Glacier. I might suggest that to Blair for this weekend.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (4 of 19)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Sunday, October 02, 2005 12:37 PM

Boy, am I ever glad I chose golfing! ;-) It was either that or sit at home because apparently my wife thinks I've done enough scrambling lately?

Good on ya for sticking though to the top Dave!

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (5 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Sunday, October 02, 2005 01:14 PM

I thought about turning around at Harvey Pass, but when I think about turning around, I always think about all that I had accomplished that day would be for nothing and I'd have to do it all over again. That always keeps me going.

I had to use a disposable camera since my real camera is in the mail. I hope the pictures capture the miserable time I was having. That way, everybody can enjoy it.



Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (6 of 19)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 08:59 AM

Great report! You have a talent for keeping those white-out trips interesting. Looking forward to the photos of misery! ;-) It may be just a hike, but it still takes perseverance to slog through those conditions and finish.

Sounds like the snowshoes should get thrown in my car again! 8^)

Linda Breton

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (7 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 09:32 AM

Snowshoes?!?! You've got to go with skis. It's so much faster, and you can go so much further.

Were you out this way this weekend? What did you climb?


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (8 of 19)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 09:59 AM

I am serious about trying skiing this year! The thought of going further and faster(what a concept!!) is very appealing, as is the idea of a quick and gentle descent. Do your knees bug you when you descend with the skis? Could a person ski all the way up the trail to Bourgeau?

My weekend was filled with other kinds of suffering...I would have preferred the climbing.;-)

Linda Breton

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (9 of 19)
Author: Ken Takabe
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 10:52 AM

I did Bourgeau this past summer and wished I saved it for the winter for an AT ascent.

I'm saving Sparrowhawk and Castle for alpine touring and I was even wondering about the possibility of doing peaks like Banded, Cornwall, etc. on AT skiis.

We'll talk more about this tomorrow. :)

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (10 of 19)
Author: Sonny Bou
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 11:26 AM

Castle and Sparrowhawk would probably be good bets for ski ascents although Chinook winds often rake the lower slopes of the Smith-Dorrien peaks leaving them pretty bare. Same goes for Banded and Cornwall although the bigger problem there is the long (and likely snow-less) approach since Highway 66 is usually closed by Dec 1.

Sonny


Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (11 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 11:32 AM

The ski ascent route up Bourgeau is very different from the scramble route. The ski route leaves the Sunshine Village parking lot and circles the peak clockwise to Harvey Pass. The scramble route would go through serious avalanche terrain. With that said, if the avalanche conditions were solid, I bet you could ski from the summit back to the car in about 20 minutes. It would be an incredible run.

Overall, there are a number of Kane peaks that can be done on skis.



Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (12 of 19)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 11:43 AM

Ken, I like your thinking!:-) I wonder how Castle would be...??

Dave, good to know there's a more feasible ski route if conditions are not cooperative. 20 minutes hey? I would have to add a lot more on for crash and burn time.;-)

Linda Breton

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (13 of 19)
Author: Ken Takabe
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 12:27 PM

Yeah, I thought about those access roads...

I suppose I could hit the trail on my mountain bike and ride as far as I can with a pair of skiis strapped onto my back.

But then again, there's a point where even a long scree slog becomes more feasible. :)





Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (14 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Monday, October 03, 2005 03:16 PM

Skiing into Rockbound Lake is fairly popular, but to actually get up that gully on Helena Ridge, then circle around to Castle would be something else. The run back to the car should be pretty fast. Skoki is a popular place for backcountry skiing. Most of those peaks are doable as an easy day trip.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (15 of 19)
Author: Sandra Mcguinness
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 05:30 PM

Castle is a good ski ascent - need somewhat stable conditions as there is one avalanche gully to cross. It is a nice ski run down from the summit (have to boot pack the last bit to the top), and, of course, much faster skiing out the access trail than walking.

Banded, Cornwall, etc., would seriously suck for ski ascents. I skied through that area a few years ago (we went from the Elbow Road out to Hwy 40 near Evans Thomas Creek). We had to walk 20 km in our ski boots as there was no snow - when we did encounter snow it was so shallow that it was totally faccetted with maximum ski pen. This was on a supposedly good ski year. The front ranges just don't get enough snow to ski on.

Bourgeau by the winter route is fun too. You don't get much good downhill skiing but it is nice up in the meadows.

Some others you can do in winter are Fortress and James Walker - need reasonable stability again as there are some potential avi slopes.

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (16 of 19)
Author: Linda Breton
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 06:55 PM

Sandra, thanks for the info and suggestions! I am very interested in doing Castle this way. I'm starting to get pretty hyped up about this!!:-)

Linda Breton

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (17 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 07:10 PM

I've gone through Kane's book and noted the peaks which I've seen ski mountaineering trip reports (successful) for. I'm sure this list isn't exclusive. I didn't include the ones up around Moraine Lake because that would be a huge slog. Temple has been skied down by a few routes, but I think that's too extreme for this list.

Waterton - Crandell, Hawkins, Lineham, Akamina
Canmore - Ha Ling (miners gully)
Smith Dorrien - Fortress, Chester,
Banff - Bourgeau, Copper, Castle, Helena, Whymper
Louise - Fairview, Niblock
Skoki - Ptarmigan, Skoki, Fossil, Oyster
Field - Field, Pollinger, McArthur
Icefields - Andromache, Dolomite, Cirque, Observation, Coleman, Tangle, Sunwapta



Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (18 of 19)
Author: Frank Nelson
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 07:23 PM

Dave, do you know if the approach up the glacier on Andromache has any heinous avalanche slopes to cross/climb?

Frank

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (19 of 19)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 07:59 PM

I know there's a ski route up the north side, but I would go up through the bowl between Andromache and Little Hector (the scramble route). There's some significant avi slopes getting through that headwall. I'd avoid getting too close to the south face of Andromache until it's time to ascend the wall on the east end. The south face of Andromache slides with regularity.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (1 of 12)
Author: Ferenc Jacso
Date: Monday, December 22, 2008 04:21 PM

We have been planning a scramble with Kerry
Vizbar for a while and finally I could hook
up with him and his friend Keith on
Saturday, December 20. I would have
preferred to go out on Sunday which was the
first day of the calendar winter but Kerry
thought the sunny weather wouldn�t last till
Sunday. He was actually right and I�m sure
happy that I exchanged a true winter ascent
with a sunny fall hike.

The temperature in the nearby town of Banff
hit a low of -36.7 C that morning and we
weren�t exactly warm in the parking lot.
Fortunately, there was no hint of wind still
this temperature was the coldest I have ever
experienced. Our exhale turned to frost on
our face masks, caps and jackets immediately
so we soon looked like Santa with purple
face and frost on our eyelashes and
eyebrows.

Higher up Keith�s thermometer showed -32 C
although it went a bit off-scale as the
lowest marked temperature was -30 C. We
stopped for a snack and after that my hands
got cold. As they warmed up again, they hurt
so badly I wanted to cry. Better keep moving
in this cold.

I originally estimated it would take us 8
hours of snowshoeing to cover the 12 km to
the summit but the trail was broken to
Bourgeau Lake (7.4 km) so we made an
unexpectedly good progress in the beginning.
Only the last 3 km was somewhat more snowed
in. Sure enough, after the lake there was no
more trail and we started postholing still
in the woods, near treeline. To escape
bushwhacking and treewells we picked up and
ascended avalanche debris slope and then
traversed higher up with some still
unpleasant sidehilling.

Here Kerry decided to turn around as he
strained his right thigh and was in
continuous pain. I swapped snowshoes with
him because his snowshoes were much larger
and I thought it maybe useful if we were to
find much sugary snow higher up. (I already
struggled with my small ones in the trees.)

We followed goat tracks through rock islands
with Keith to minimize avalanche danger even
though the danger rating was low. After like
10 minutes we saw that Kerry changed his
mind again and continued up! As it turned
out my snowshoes didn�t kill hiss thigh that
badly and he wanted to make it to Harvey
Pass at least to take a look at mighty
Assiniboine.

At Harvey Pass everything changed: we were
out of shade finally and the sun started to
warm us up so Kerry was now happy to
continue on in spite of his pain. It was
just a long slog up to the summit from here;
much more pleasant than the freezing valley.
It took us about another two hours (7 hours
total) to get to the summit. The views were
excellent and we spent 45 minutes sunbathing
and playing around with photos. Unbelievable
for December. I�m usually cold after 10
minutes on the summit even in summer but
that was not the case this day. While the
temperature was probably still in the -20�s
the calm sunny weather felt much warmer.

Then we descended back to the saddle and
left the sunny ridge. Our thermometer was
back to -27 C soon and to -30 C in the
parking lot. Kerry just commented on the way
out he wouldn�t repeat this long and boring
hike again. I thought the hiking trail was
excellent and the snow covered trees were
beautiful although agreed that the last
hours in the dark were not very
entertaining... We got back to the car in
11:21. A memorable December workout!

My photos:
http://tinyurl.com/a3lhqj Kerry�s pictures:
http://tinyurl.com/9oz5cs

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (2 of 12)
Author: Sonny Bou
Date: Monday, December 22, 2008 08:09 PM

Wow. You guys are definitely hardcore! That sounded like some Everest epic with the ungodly temperatures, but I can understand how it wouldn't be that bad on the upper mountain if the sun was out and there was very little wind. Bravo zulu for slogging all that way on snowshoes and tagging the summit. And it looks like you guys were also rewarded with incredible views. Excellent photos.

Sonny

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (3 of 12)
Author: Tamas Fustos
Date: Monday, December 22, 2008 09:08 PM

Good job Ferenc, as usual. That day I just tried my first AT ski ascent, that was really chilling weather.

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (4 of 12)
Author: Tom Waddell
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 06:05 AM

Good Job! I have been wondering if Borgeau was doable in the winter(ok very late fall) and now I know. How long did it take you car to car?

I was at Chester Lake Saturday getting a ski lesson (a very successful one at that) and it was an awesome day. Cold but clear and windless.

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (5 of 12)
Author: Wietse Bylsma
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 09:04 AM

Wow - you guys are die-hards, very impressive! Nice pictures as well, especially the ones of the snow sastrugi.

Wietse Bylsma
http://canada4u.zenfolio.com

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (6 of 12)
Author: Kerry Vizbar
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:12 AM

Tom, it took us 11h21m including our long break on the summit. Obviously, it's doable in winter but the section where you gain the upper headwall is definitely class 3 terrain, so you would want to choose a time when there's a low risk of avalanches. The approach would probably be rated class 2, but you do cross several runouts.

Although my leg still hurts (I think I twisted it the wrong way while stumbling in the big snowshoes), I'm certainly glad I decided to keep going on this trip. As you can see, the scenery was fantastic! Even the Bugaboos were clearly visible from the upper mountain.

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (7 of 12)
Author: Bill Kerr
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:42 AM

Good job guys especially given the temp. I was wore out doing that on foot so can just imagine it on snowshoes. Great pictures.

I had thought that maybe it would be an okay ski trip since you at least get to glide out.


bill.kerr@shaw.ca
http://www.billkerr.ca

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (8 of 12)
Author: Mountain Ninja
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:38 PM

Congrats on tagging the summit on such a cold day!

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (9 of 12)
Author: Tom Waddell
Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 05:55 AM

Thx Kerry. I actually misread Ferenc's report. He states the time at the end. For some reason I thought it said you guys got back at 11:21 (sheeeshh, now I need to learn to read).

I had been wondering about the possible avi risk in there so thanks for clearing that up as well. I hope your leg gets better soon. I understand turkey, stuffing, etc. is a wonderful cure.

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (10 of 12)
Author: Vern Dewit
Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 11:50 AM

Yowsers - you guys make the rest of us look like wimps! :-) Congrats on a hard fought summit and some wonderful photos.

Vern Dewit
http://www.fresh-oxygen.com
http://verndewit.com/

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (11 of 12)
Author: Andrew Nugara
Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 02:59 PM

Bourgeau on snowshoes and in those temperatures - that's incredible! Well done.

Andrew

Topic: Mt. Bourgeau (12 of 12)
Author: Dave Stephens
Date: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 04:52 PM

It's definitely doable in the winter. Blair and I did it on skis from the Bourgeau Lake parking lot; however, the normal winter route is from the Sunshine Parking Lot via Harvey Pass. Blair and I went the summer route as described in Kane's book, but we were in good winter conditions. The route that we took definitely requires solid snowpack conditions. There are numerous avi slopes.If you take the summer route in the winter, be careful. With that said, the ski run back to the car can be great.


Dave Stephens
www.dave-stephens.com