Well, I figured it was time to test out the leg and go for a ski. After a few laps at
Nakiska last week, it was time to push a bit farther and do some touring. My buddy
Louis and I took a mental health day into K country and decided for a tour around
the Birdwood Traverse, which we have named the "Smut-Bird Reach Around". In future
years, plan to do this one later in the year with more snow and less wind, but all
in all it was a mix of type 1 and type 2 fun.
First a video of Walter playing hockey - I think he'll be a leftie!
We elected for an interesting tour up Burstall trailhead, and then underneath Mt Birdwood. This allowed
a neat look into Banff NP, along with exploring an area we hadn't been into yet. This is Louis taking
his skis off for a brief boot pack up a short section of hard packed steep snow, on the way up to the pass.
You can see that we didn't have a lot of visibility with low clouds most of the day and a storm threatening
most of our outing.
The crux section of the day was just getting up an icy rocky slope where there clearly wasn't a lot of snow yet.
Hard to believe it's the end of January. This is looking back up Burstall Pass.
A look at the boot pack section. The last time I was up here, this wasn't necessary so I suspect it's more
a case of snow levels and wind.
Once we got up that last slope, it was just a gentle bit of snow to the pass. Snow Peak is to our left here
and Mt Birdwood to our right. We skied into Banff National Park here briefly, and then back up into K country.
Dropping into the Birdwood Lakes. The exit is to the right-side col under Mt Smuts. I think this area
could be fun to camp in, depending on whether the gale force winds are normal here. There were definitely
some other ski lines that could be fun to explore here in different conditions.
It was actually quite warm on this day and I spent most of the day with nothing on my bald head.
Once we dropped into the Birdwood Lakes and then up to the short pass, it was wind-hammered and no snow
from this point through the pass. Again, not really 'in shape' for skiing I'd say.
View from Birdwood-Smut Col
A look towards Commonwealth Peak, although it was pretty socked in.
The data from the trip are HERE . Notably 1180 m
elevation gain, 22.3 km, 7h36 mins, although all of that would be shorter if we had done a car shuttle to avoid the
5 km death march back from the Commonwealth trail head. Next time, when we're smarter. Full size
Since I'm a big dork and I enjoy playing with data, here's a slightly different look at the same route,
this time using Google Earth and our GPS track Return to picture index