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French / Haig / Robertson Ski Tour

Trip Date: March 07, 2008
Elevation Gain (m): 1085
Round Trip Time (hr): 8
Total Trip Distance (km): 20
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: A fairly straightforward ski tour with some easy glacier travel. The route to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col has obvious avalanche potential and stable conditions are required.
Technical Rating: OT4; YDS (Skiing)
Map: Google Maps


On a beautiful day in early March, TJ, Megs, Wietse and I completed the French / Haig/ Robertson ski traverse in the heart of Kananaskis Country under the looming summit of Mount Sir Douglas over the French and Robertson Glaciers. We made our way up French Creek, following a set of tracks. There were some close calls with falls into the creek but eventually we struggled up to the lovely alpine valley at the toe of the tame French Glacier. We continued the relentless ascent to the French / Robertson col where our views became stunning. Clouds were building over the icefield and views of French, Munro and Sir Douglas were awesome.

French Haig Robertson Route Map

We continued to traverse to the Robertson / Sir Douglas col while the clouds moved in and out. TJ tried to shortcut the huge slopes to the col, but this wasn’t worth the exposure to avalanche terrain. Wietse and I bootpacked upward, following a solo skier who turned out to be Rod McAlister who I’ve been friends with on Facebook now for many years and enjoy his unique perspectives on life very much. The views were stunning at the col but the ski down the Robertson Glacier wasn’t quite as stunning, unfortunately. Wietse did as good as expected considering it was among his first backcountry ski tours but the punchy snow was very difficult to ski nicely. The ski back out along Burstall Creek was very pleasant in warm sunshine.

French / Haig / Robertson Ski Tour
Skiing from the Burstall Pass parking lot.
Skiing from the Burstall Pass parking lot.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek  - or at least trying to!
Skiing up French Creek - or at least trying to!
Skiing up French Creek.
Skiing up French Creek.
Exiting the French Creek drainage and ascending up to the glacier.
Exiting the French Creek drainage and ascending up to the glacier.
Exiting the French Creek drainage and ascending up to the glacier.
Exiting the French Creek drainage and ascending up to the glacier.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
A huge wind scoop forms at the French/ Robertson col.
A huge wind scoop forms at the French/ Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
Skiing to the French / Robertson col.
A huge wind scoop forms at the French/ Robertson col.
A huge wind scoop forms at the French/ Robertson col.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
At the French / Robertson col with great views over the Haig Icefield.
Mount Jellico.
Mount Jellico.
Mount Maude.
Mount Maude.
Sir Douglas.
Sir Douglas.
Mount Maude.
Mount Maude.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Clouds move in over the Haig Icefield as we traverse to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Ascending to the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
At the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
At the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
At the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
At the Sir Douglas / Robertson col.
Preparing to ski down the Robertson Glacier.
Preparing to ski down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing down the Robertson Glacier.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.
Skiing out of the Burstall flats.

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