After scrambling Mount Pilot and Brett the day before and driving all the way to Elkwood campground in Kananaskis I was ready for a shorter and easier day. I chose to finally do Mount Burstall since it had been on my radar for a long time already.
There is no magic to getting this peak. Make sure you're far enough up the trail before venturing up the valley - you should be on a faint trail the entire way. When I did this peak there was an obvious cairn and some flagging. I've read of people venturing up the climber's right side to access the col but this is usually regretted by those who attempt it. The terrain is steeper and more exposed than it looks from below. I went on the rock rib that you see between the two black scree slopes and this worked really well.
[The lower route goes through a meadow / avalanche path - this is off the bike approach already.]
[The faint trail leads you through a short stand of trees and onto an avi slope where you can see up to the col. I went on the obvious rock rib running between the two black scree slopes on the left side of the picture. People have been suckered onto steep, exposed terrain on climber's right and most regret it.]
[Fall colors are coming out as I work up to the col.]
[A good ways up the col, looking back at the avalanche gully with Burstall Lakes far below and Commonwealth Peak (L) and Ridge (R) in the bg.]
[Views to the south from the col include CEGFNS, Murray, Smith Dorrien, French and Robertson (L to R).]
I was surprised by the loose and steep terrain after the col. This is certainly a difficult scramble with no room for error pretty much from the col to the summit. I thought the crack was safer than a lot of the terrain that proceeded it simply because I didn't feel like I was going to slip out of the solid rock in the crack!
[A trail leads up from the col to the summit ridge.]
[Great views over Burstall, Hogarth and Mud Lakes (L to R) at Commonwealth Peak and Ridge, Nestor, Engadine, Tower and Galatea (L to R). ++]
[Steep and loose terrain above the col. I forgot my poles and only had a stick for support here. This was really too bad and made me feel very insecure through this section.]
[Summit views are sublime in every direction. This is looking north at Snow, Birdwood, Pig's Tail, Smuts and Commonwealth Peak (L to R).]
[Great view to the south includes, Robertson, Sir Douglas and Whistling Rock Ridge (L to R).]
[Panorama north and west includes, Leval, White Man, Vavasour, Snow, Warre, Eon, Birdwood, Pig's Tail, Smuts, Commonwealth, Tent Ridge, Commonwealth Ridge, Fortune, Nestor, Engadine, Tower, Galatea, Gusty and Fortress. ++]
[Vern on the summit of Mount Burstall.]
[One more pano includes Burstall Lakes, Hogarth Lake and Mud Lake - and Mount Chester at far right. ++]
The summit was nice but with a rain cloud heading my way I felt a little rushed the whole time I was on Burstall. My round trip time was just over 3 hours and it did end up raining just to the east - and you really don't want rain on this little peak. Great views from the top and interesting scrambling with a very short round trip time - I highly recommend this peak to competent scramblers.
[Looking down the upper crux.]
[The lower part of the crux crack - don't slip here!]
[Off the crux and down climbing loose scree to the col below. Mud Lake at left and Galatea, Gusty, Fortress, Chester and James Walker (L to R) across the Spray Lakes road.]
[Looking over Burstall Pass towards Talon, Leval, White Man, Vavasour and Snow Peak.]
[Telephoto over Whistling Rock Ridge to Talon and Soderholm.]
[Gorgeous views over Burstall Lakes towards Spray Lakes. My descent route to the left.]
[Looking down the Spray Lakes Road towards Nestor, Old Goat.]