Monday, 9 September 2013

Burstall & South Burstall Redux

We were last up Burstall Pass in 2009. Eager to show my friend Monty the best of K-Country, we headed up her today on a route very similar to our 2009 excursion, with one major exception: we walked the whole thing, and did not use bikes. That may seem trivial to you, but the bikeable 3.5 km took us 2 hrs to walk back and forth today, when we biked it in less than an hour in 2009. So our day was a long one. We started walking at 10 AM, and 20.8 km later, we finished at 6:20 PM.

It got off to a good start though; we saw a moose on the roadside on the way down.
A horse? No. 
Lady moose, chewing
The perfect blue skies excited us, but by 11 AM, grey clouds had socked in.
The Robertson Glacier 
Crossing the plain
Getting across the glacial outwash plain in the morning was pretty easy, despite some "significant hazards".
Not the trail I would use 
The lake before the re-entry to the forest
We were readily able to rock hop the numerous creeks in the AM, and avoid the lake, by just doing a bit of exploring.

By noon, the clouds basically gave up, and the sun started winning -- at least in the sky coverage department. A brisk west wind kept it feeling cool as we climbed.
Looking back. Mts Birdwood, Pigs Tail & Commonwealth
The fall colours have already set upon the ground cover, but the larches have not yet started to turn.
Reds in the grass
Looking toward South Burstall Pass. Sir Donald still clouded
We cleared the pass, and headed to the Leaman Lake overlook (in Banff Park) for lunch.
Leaman Lake
Looking north up Spray Valley
From here, we headed south toward South Burstall Pass, with Snow Peak (a popular scramble) looking over us.
Snow Peak behind us 
The pass and Mt.Sir Douglass ahead
It's not a long or hard trudge up to the south pass. But it's worth it.
The Spray River & Palliser Pass 
Mt. Sir Douglas 
A close up on her glaciers 
Looking back at (l to r) Snow, Smuts, Birdwood, Pigs Tail
At 3 PM, we finally left the south pass to head back. At 4:30 PM, the glacial outwash plain was a might bit tougher than it was in the morning, with at least 3 more inches of water in every channel that widened them and created new stream flows to get through.
The glacier again
We had a few places we had trouble finding crossings for, including a 70' wide swamp of flowing muck.

So we wasted a bunch of time trying to find creek-hoppable routes, when we probably should have just sucked it up and waded the freezing cold, muddy water. On second though, that's probably why we didn't.
Confed, and the last of the streams.
It was a nice hike, and a great place, but a LONG hike, and a tiring one. Next time, bikes.

1 comment:

Edwin said...

Bikes, now your trodding on familiair soil.... (haha)