Summit Elevation (m): 2930
Trip Date: Friday, June 2, 2006
Elevation Gain (m): 1550
Round Trip Time (hr): 9
Total Trip Distance (km): 25
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2 – you fall, you sprain something
Difficulty Notes: Mostly a hike – should be on trail most of the way, even past Harvey Pass. A long day, but easy scrambling.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps
On Friday, June 02 2006, Wietse and I hiked to the summit of Mount Bourgeau in Banff National Park. I have wanted to do this one for a while already and even though it was a bit early in the year I figured with the dry spring we should be ok. The only reason I’ve wanted to this one for a while already is because I suspected that it contained beautiful scenery and I wasn’t disappointed in that regard!
We started out from a mosquito-infested parking lot at around 07:30 under partly sunny skies. The trail is obviously very well traveled and we made quick time till coming to a raging Wolverine creek with no obvious crossing. We went a bit downstream and found a makeshift bridge of branches and logs that we used to keep our feet dry.
After the creek crossing, the trail rises quite a bit steeper as it gains the headwall where the waterfalls tumble down. It was here that we started to encounter snow and mud and our travel speed started to decrease a bit. We pushed on as the views continued to improve and the trail continued to dis-improve!
After getting briefly lost in the open marsh / meadows just before Bourgeau Lake, due to a flooded trail and large amounts of snow, we found some footprints and followed them up into the forest around Bourgeau Lake. We couldn’t follow the lake shore because the water level was too high. Due to avalanche debris and winter blow-down, the trail above the lake to tree line was not in good condition.
We ended up losing the trail several times but finally we came out on a scree slope and climbed up to the second lake. The views continued to improve as we got higher. Once we got up to Harvey Pass we could see that we still had a long way to go. We struggled through some patches of waist deep snow but overall the route was clear.
After summiting we had to rush down because of very rapidly changing (for the worse) weather. I was still very paranoid about bad weather at this point in my scrambling career. Now I realize that the clouds were harmless and I was freaking out for no reason.
Of course as soon as we got down to Harvey Pass everything pushed north and the weather was good the rest of the day. Because I was wearing a pedometer for a contest at work, I know that this is a long hike – 40,000 steps to be exact! Recommended as an early (but not too early) season objective when other, tougher mountains aren’t in season yet.