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Mount Burke
Kananaskis, Alberta
March 20, 2010

Even though Dinah and I had hiked up Mount Burke in 2001, I had always wanted to return. It was still early in the 2010 season, but I was betting that others had worked a trail into the snow.

The Cataract Creek campground access road was closed for winter, so we walked about a kilometre to the trailhead and started up Salter Creek. At first we encountered little ground snow, but as we ventured farther, the snow became knee-deep. Fortunately, snowshoers had tramped down a trail for us, although it was buried under a few inches of fresh snow. Unfortunately we missed taking the left fork in the drainage. Had I remembered to bring a map, I would have known there was a fork. We went up Plateau Creek a short distance before realizing our mistake. We climbed over the end of an intervening ridge and dropped back onto Salter Creek.

Here snowshoes and boots had beaten an obvious path. We followed it up the wooded slope to the treeline. Once on the open slopes, however, wind dogged us to the summit. Although the wind wasn't strong enough to hinder us, it caused snow to swirl about our boots or to fly high in the air. It also froze our faces.

On the summit, we welcomed the views under blue skies. Too cold to linger, we went back down the mountain, down to Salter Creek. Instead of staying on the creekbed, we followed a good trail into the woods. The trail ran for several hundred metres above the north bank before we lost it because of snow cover, less than a kilometre from the trailhead. If you find this trail take it. It's easier travel than the creekbed.

Postscript: In 2016 we returned and did Mount Burke - North Peak Loop, an enjoyable trip that involves some routefinding and scrambling.

KML and GPX Tracks

Before we started up the trail, we could see the lookout (mouse over for a close-up)

We hike alongside Salter Creek with Mount Burke ahead

We pass a stack of rocks on the creek

This must be where the drainage splits; we should've gone left

When we stepped off the snowshoe track we encountered deep snow (mouse over)

On the trail on the lower slopes of Mount Burke

Breaking out of the trees

Nothing to see at first

Heading to the lookout (mouse over to look back)

Cornices line the ridge

Well up the ridge

Strong wind blows snow

Blowing snow obscures the lookout

Crossing a snow drift

I'm looking forward to getting out of the wind

I watched Dinah from the lookout

The lookout

The ridge leads to North Peak of Burke

82 J/7 Mount Head

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