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Bourgeau, Mount

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)
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!

Mount Bourgeau Route Map

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.

A good bridge across Bourgeau Creek lower down on the approach trail.

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.

Harvey Pass, looking up at a large slope leading eventually to the summit which is out of sight here.

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.

Big terrain as we start up the easy slopes to the summit.
Black Brett (R), Storm, Ball, Haiduk, Isabelle, Monarch and more.
Looking over at Black Brett (R), which is also ascended from Harvey Pass. Healy Creek and Mount Ball / Egypt Lakes at distant left.

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.

A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.

Of course as soon as we got down to Harvey Pass everything pushed north and the weather was good the rest of the day. 

Descending to Bourgeau Lake.

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.

Mount Bourgeau
A good bridge lower down on the approach trail.
A good bridge lower down on the approach trail.
A raging Bourgeau Creek that no longer has a bridge where we want to cross!
A raging Bourgeau Creek that no longer has a bridge where we want to cross!
After the waterfalls the trail steepens considerably and we started encountering snow and mud due to early season conditions.
After the waterfalls the trail steepens considerably and we started encountering snow and mud due to early season conditions.
More of the raging creek.
More of the raging creek.
Near Bourgeau Lake the trail started deteriorating more - mostly due to winter avalanches.
Near Bourgeau Lake the trail started deteriorating more - mostly due to winter avalanches.
The second lake, above Bourgeau Lake and getting above tree line. Harvey Pass is ahead and to the left.
The second lake, above Bourgeau Lake and getting above tree line. Harvey Pass is ahead and to the left.
Harvey Pass, looking up at a large slope leading eventually to the summit which is out of sight here.
Harvey Pass, looking up at a large slope leading eventually to the summit which is out of sight here.
Big terrain as we start up the easy slopes to the summit.
Big terrain as we start up the easy slopes to the summit.
Looking back over the Healy Meadows towards The Monarch. Black Brett at right.
Looking back over the Healy Meadows towards The Monarch. Black Brett at right.
Even an innocent looking snow patch can be problematic in June!
Even an innocent looking snow patch can be problematic in June!
A wider view - find Wietse in the snow patch!
A wider view - find Wietse in the snow patch!
Looking back over our ascent slopes and towards the Ball Range.
Looking back over our ascent slopes and towards the Ball Range.
Impressive view of Pilot Mountain which I would scramble solo 3 years later in 2009.
Impressive view of Pilot Mountain which I would scramble solo 3 years later in 2009.
Dark clouds to the west over the Ball Range which includes Mount Ball and Isabelle Peak.
Dark clouds to the west over the Ball Range which includes Mount Ball and Isabelle Peak.
Looking towards Brett and Pilot with Hector in between and Pulsatilla at distant right.
Looking towards Brett and Pilot with Hector in between and Pulsatilla at distant right.
Lovely summit view of a man-made structure! :)
Lovely summit view of a man-made structure! 🙂
Black Brett (R), Storm, Ball, Haiduk, Isabelle, Monarch and more.
Black Brett (R), Storm, Ball, Haiduk, Isabelle, Monarch and more.
Black Brett is on my list (completed in 2017).
Black Brett is on my list (completed in 2017).
Mount Ball is a big peak!
Mount Ball is a big peak!
Wietse starts back down.
Wietse starts back down.
Wietse starts back down.
Wietse starts back down.
The Monarch and Healy Creek to the left.
The Monarch and Healy Creek to the left.
Looking over at Black Brett, which is also ascended from Harvey Pass.
Looking over at Black Brett, which is also ascended from Harvey Pass.
It's a long way back down to the approach trail!
It's a long way back down to the approach trail!
A close-up of Bourgeau Lake with it's ice breakup.
A close-up of Bourgeau Lake with it's ice breakup.
Can't get enough of these views! Black Brett at right, Mount Ball at left distance.
Can't get enough of these views! Black Brett at right, Mount Ball at left distance.
Back down at Harvey Pass.
Back down at Harvey Pass.
A coffee break near Harvey Pass.
A coffee break near Harvey Pass.
A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.
A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.
A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.
A stream runs down from Harvey Pass to one of the small tarns above Bourgeau Lake.
The section of trail above Bourgeau Lake is really cool hiking.
The section of trail above Bourgeau Lake is really cool hiking.
The section of trail above Bourgeau Lake is really cool hiking.
The section of trail above Bourgeau Lake is really cool hiking.
Descending to Bourgeau Lake.
Descending to Bourgeau Lake.
Water plunges down cliffs to Bourgeau Lake.
Water plunges down cliffs to Bourgeau Lake.
A sure sign of spring!
A sure sign of spring!
The big melt is going on everywhere.
The big melt is going on everywhere.
The big melt is going on everywhere.
The big melt is going on everywhere.
Another sure sign of spring - my favorite wild flower - the Lady's Slipper.
Another sure sign of spring - my favorite wild flower - the Lady's Slipper.

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