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East Peak of Mount Burns

Moderate Scramble
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Not much at all.
Sunday, August 30, 2015

For a while Steven had been saying that he and his family may be moving to Vancouver and eventually came the day for he Vern, and I's last trip together.  Steven had been on a peak bagging rampage of peaks and areas he would like to visit before he moved including GNP (USA), Mount Fitzwilliam, and even Mount Resplendent.  Sadly weather and conditions conspired against a big 11000er as our final trip and we settled with heading down to the Sheep River (southeastern Kananaskis), an area which I had never been to before.  Our initial objective was Gibraltar Mountain, but after seeing some menacing clouds and feeling very intense wind we decided to downgrade to the mighty East Peak of Mount Burns, a Nugara scramble in the area that Steven remembered.

Driving down to the Sheep River Trailhead we leisurely made out way down the trail breaking off into the bush after a gap in the forest showed that we had almost gone too far.  Once in the bush navigation isn't too tricky, generally just head upwards in the open forest until treeline after which it is easy to find a path leading further upwards.  The downside with leaving the trees behind is that we are then fully exposed to the legendary Southern Alberta wind (which lived up to its reputation)!

Setting out down the trail.


Up on the ridge, not excessively windy at this point but getting there..


Looking over towards our objective.


To reach the summit of the East Peak of Mount Burns there are two false summits that need to by bypassed.  Thankfully sheep/human trails lead onwards nicely with cairns and flagging in a few places.  A traverse along a ledge lead to the connecting ridge between the false summit and true summit and the start of the proper scrambling.  The connecting ridge had a lot of variety between moderate and difficult scrambling on either grippy rocks or mossy ledges.  Generally if staying on the crest of the ridge things will be harder, dropping climbers left and right will let things stay easier.  Summit views were actually quite nice with a lot of peaks that I couldn't recognize (I have been up a surprisingly small number of peaks in Kananaskis).  It was kind of a sad summit as that would be the last peak Steven and I climbed together before he headed out west (our 157'th together!).

The bump on the left is a false summit that has to be traversed.


Steven making his way to the far ridge.


Nice foothill scenery around here.


Past the false summit the actual peak is now in view.


Steven on a more scrambly section.


Steven almost at the summit.


Summit views.


Back at the first peak that we traversed around ahead of the bad weather.

The journey back to the car was even windier than on the way up and only a couple ridges to the west was getting doused in rain showers so we were doubly motivated to scurry back quickly.  Once back down in the bush without the wind the temperature was actually quite tropical and we enjoyed our stroll downwards back onto the main trail.

Very windy by the time we made our way down.


Quite a short day but nice to be in a new area.

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