Burstall Pass

by Bob Truman on October 5, 2018

in XC

Thanks to Gord for the photos and report:

Burstall Pass on Oct 4, 2018. Photo by Gord

Burstall Pass Oct 4-18.
I usually make Burstall Pass my first ski of the season but usually I encounter numerous rocks and some hiking. Not this year; conditions were stellar, probably the best ever for early season skiing. 45 cm at the trailhead, (Burstall Pass parking lot was not plowed so we parked at Chester), and 58 cm in the meadow below Burstall Pass. No need to remove skis when going through the trees or up the headwall. There’s no identifiable base layer but the snow was so deep and dense that we never touched a rock. We skied some of the low angled slopes off the top and I was thinking if I could ski this quality of powder all season I’d be a happy man. Temperatures rose to +4º or so in the afternoon and some of the trail between Burstall Lakes and the trailhead was getting glazed.

More photos

The trail report for Peter Lougheed Provincial Park(PLPP) was updated today…

“Between 30-50cm of snow fell during the storm at the beginning of the month and heavy snowfall has made for very snowy trail conditions. Expect trails to be icy in the morning and slushy as the day warms up. Early season avalanche conditions exist, take care while traveling in the backcountry.”

The report for Kananaskis Valley, which includes the village and Ribbon Creek, says pretty much the same. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MaSid October 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm

XC gear (including light touring versions) will only get you so far, to the flats below the upper valley and/or towards the toe of the Robertson glacier (still a worthwhile trip). The headwall ascent/descent to gain the pass proper is steep and tight enough to be best done with full alpine touring gear and also gets you into avalanche terrain, requiring avalanche equipment and knowhow. Friday’s heat and sun will probably get some snow moving. It’s a long flat trip on snow shoes for the conscientious snow shoer breaking a separate trail than the main ski track. Take the skis and enjoy the more rapid return.

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2 Hilary October 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm

I’m looking to do this tommorrow with either xc skis or snowshoes. Curious based on terrain and conditions what you might recommend. Or maybe it’s a candidate for a combo?

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3 Gord October 6, 2018 at 9:26 am

My preference for this tour is A/T skis and boots but I use narrow skins (30mm) on wide skis for trail to the flats at Burstall Lakes, then I change skins for the climb into the alpine. Same on the way out. With this system you can glide like a XC skier on the flat sections.

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