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.
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! 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.
[The group skis across the pass and up towards Burstall Pass Peak.]
[Looking back at our approach trail from the pass, Snow Peak on the left and Birdwood behind it.]
[TJ breaks trail up the ridge to the first summit of Burstall Pass Peak.]
[The group follows TJ up the ridge.]
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!
[Preparing for the traverse to the true summit.]
[AM and TJ head up the final slope to the summit of Burstall Pass Peak.]
[Bill and Keith follow me along the ridge.]
[More ridge, the views are opening up behind us.]
[Dramatic views on the divide and of the summit of Burstall Pass Peak.]
[The whole group heads for the summit.]
[Mount Sir Douglas has a cap of clouds at left, making it look even more menacing then usual!]
[Great weather and views on the summit.]
[Vern on the summit of Burstall Pass Peak.]
[The group enjoys a few laughs and some good food on a strangely calm and windless afternoon in the Burstall Pass area. This almost never happens here!]
[TJ is happy to be skiing down soon! Lemon Lake with Whiteman, Leval and Vavasour in the background.]
[A panorama view looking north and east from the summit. ++]
[Mount Assiniboine decides to show up for the party.]
[Looking for a good line down.]
The ski down the pass had some great moments, the best being some glades just under the pass. All-in-all a great day out and I'm very glad I didn't miss it!
[The clouds have rolled back in but we don't care since we're off the summit now! :-) You can see our descent tracks skirting under the avi terrain coming off the peak. We definitely traversed and ascended some terrain that would be very sketchy in the wrong conditions. Don't just blindly follow our track up or down this peak!]
[The group heads back down from the pass, Mount Birdwood in the background.]