I have to "thank" the weather forecasters first.. "Thank" you for your prediction of sunny sky. It did got sunny, but only for 20 minutes. 99% of the day was snowy and cloudy. I wouldn't go for this peak, the top winter scenic peak in Kananaskis Country, if I knew the nasty weather before leaving. Also, dear University, please stopping giving us examinations on weekends.. Man I have to go to the mountains during weekends lol...
Okay.. After the long complaining, now it's the trip. Nugara points out that the round trip time would be about 10-12 hours. Well, it makes sense, since the total distance is 20km. However, I think he refers to, if you have to break trail all the way up. I did manage to finish this trip in 5 hours 50 minutes. I didn't even use the snowshoes for a long portion of the trail, just because the trail was extremely well packed. This speed up my pace significantly.
At the beginning, I tried to follow an official snowshoe trail, which led to wrong direction. Lol, I forgot Burstall Pass trail is not an official snowshoe trail, so if there exists one, it must not be the one I want. However, this trail led me to a steep canyon, which looks somehow similar to the approach canyon to Bow Hut. The steep cliffs on both side are pretty impressive. So this "wrong turn" was not too bad. After gaining the main trail, I set up a peak bagging race's pace towards Burstall Pass. The weather was moving in quickly, and then it started snowing. Ohh NOOOOO!!! On the way in, I also searched a bit for the French - Haig - Robertson Traverse, which is definitely on my to-do list for this year. After crossing one marsh area, it's the first significant elevation gain to a narrow area. After that, Burstall Pass is in sight. Thank God Burstall Pass Peak was not covered in clouds. I really don't like to summit a peak in a whiteout condition. Because, having absolutely no summit view means, I have to come back. Near the steep climbing towards Burstall Pass, I began to post-hole, so I had to snowshoe-up.
My ascent route is to traverse to South Burstall Pass first, then ascend the not-too-steep slope right towards the summit. Mt. Sir Douglas did clear up for about 3 minutes. Together with Mt. Birdwood, they are the most eye catching giants nearby. Once on the ridge, it was only about 5 minutes to the summit. The view towards BC side fully opened up. Despite the not-so-good weather, the low clouds on the other side added to variety. Well, you cannot picture these sceneries in sunny days for sure though. Mt. Assiniboine never showed up for me on this day. There are three summits on this peak that are 3-5 minutes apart from each other. I don't know which one is the highest, pretty close though. So I traversed all of them to make sure I summit the mountain. I traversed further north before descending. I highly recommend to retrace my ascending route if the avalanche condition is high, because the north part of the peak is a bit steep. Even with the nasty weather, this trip still qualifies one of my favourite winter trips. On the way back, I saw at least 15 skiers and 3 snowshoe-ers in several groups trudging up the pass, some of them were going for the peak. I was quite surprised about my speed on this peak. So after estimating my round trip time would be somewhat about 6 hours, I decided to speed up, to save more daylight time. In that pace, I would still have 3.5 hours of daylight time, which means, I could definitely finish Chester Lake, maybe including one of the smaller summits near the lake. Overall, Burstall Pass Peak is definitely one of the highlights of winter travel in K-Country, and as a peak bagger, you should try it.