Mount Burke in May

Our objective, Mt Burke from the road to the trailhead.

12 km round trip (incl walk from main road to trailhead) and 825m elevation gain.

This trail is off Highway 940 (opens May) south of Highwood House and the Kananaskis winter gate closure.  Since we have never been there, it seemed like a great time to check it out.  We parked at the Cataract Creek day use lot and walked up the campground road to the trailhead - which we couldn't find as my directions were pre-flood.  Eventually we followed other hikers, there were very few people on this trail.

We got into trees quickly, then into snow.  We went straight up (and up, and up) a clear cut through the trees then applied Yaktrax as the trail started to switchback steeply though deep snow.  For future reference, we need spikes to stop slipping on the snow as much.  It seemed a long time to be in the trees, then they thinned out....

...and the view just opened right up.  

So many mountains.  Behind me is the Alberta/BC border and the Great Divide.  After climbing 850m or so, we reached a bit of a snowy tightrope and decided not to attempt it without better grips.  

The view SE from the same spot.

Going down was challenging, I lost count of falls, arse slides and times I lost an entire leg in snowy postholes.  It had got quite warm and that softened the 2m deep snow up to nightmare slushy consistency.  

It was such an absorbing trail I didn't once look at my watch, I was surprised to find we were up there for 6 hours.  I definitely want to come back when there's less snow to make the summit.  


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