On Friday March 09 2007 Wietse and I decided that we'd had enough of winter and set out for the Livingstone area to bag some peaks. We decided to try Mount Burke on the Friday and give Raspberry Ridge and Gunnery Peak a shot on Saturday.
The day started off bright and blustery. After two previous attempts at this mountain, Wietse was determined that a 'bit' of wind was not going to deter him a third time! We started off in the creek bed in ankle deep snow and soon discovered that staying on the east side of the creek avoided most of the white stuff.
[Yep. That's Burke, waaayyyyyy off in the distance! Pictured from the trailhead.]
Eventually we came to the left-hand creek. It was here that we noticed some very adventurous snowmobiles had gone up! Until you enter that creek you can't really appreciate how difficult it must have been for them to negotiate up it. The bottom line was that we could easily walk right up the hardened trail that they left behind and if you're reading this story give me a call or email so that I can thank you personally for saving us a LOT of time and energy!!
Once on the main trail heading up climber's left out of the secondary creek the snow disappeared for a while. But not for long. About 200 vertical meters from tree line the snow came back with a vengeance. It was really, really tough going with pockets of snow up to our knees and sometimes even waist deep! I was getting very annoyed and started openly questioning the wisdom of our early season hiking destination. Of course there was no way that Wietse was turning back so we took turns and eventually to our delight we finally broke tree line.
[Wietse trudges up the skyline ridge on Burke's wide approach.]
[Doesn't look very windy does it? Looks can be deceiving!]
From tree line the summit is reached via a short but quite steep hike. The snow and increasingly cold and strong wind was a bit of a pain but we made it without any major hassles. Other than a terrorist in the hut at the summit there was nothing too exciting up there so we took some obligatory summit pictures and spent the rest of the afternoon strolling back down the mountain under a warm Chinook sky.
[We didn't stay at the summit long because there was a terrorist sitting there waiting for lost hikers!]
[A view past the hut looking west. I'm amazed that the hut is still standing in all that wind!]
[Looking south along the Chinook cloud line above and the Burke ridge line below.]
[Hey look! The terrorist has moved ahead of us on descent!]
[Dramatic views of Mounts Armstrong and McLaren along the continental divide to the west of Mount Burke.]
[Looking southwest off the descent of Mount Burke.]
[A compressed landscape showing the dramatic weather.]
[It's very peaceful back in the trees on the walk back to the trailhead - and pleasantly warm too.]
[Another cool shot of the high Chinook clouds and the trail back to Burke.]
Other than the deep snow and the logging clear cuts this is a highly recommended hike.