This winter's snows in Western Canada continue to be dismal. In search of snow on a bluebird day, we ventured to Robertson Glacier in Kananaskis (Feb 22/15) with our AT gear. The trailhead (Burstall Pass parking lot) is approximately 35 minutes south of Canmore on the Smith Dorrien highway. On a day like this, it's an incredibly scenic area - mainly due to the geology. Most all of the mountains feature strata that has been thrust virtually straight up, resulting in dramatic peaks that reach over 11,000 feet.
The tour gains some altitude into the Burstall Lakes, then follows a glacial outwash plain towards Robertson Glacier. The valley narrows, so you have to be wary of avalanches from both sides, but on this day, the weather was fairly cold, and there hadn't been any recent storms. At that point, you start climbing a pretty evident route. Two skiers had come off the top from the other side (see the French-Haig-Robertson video blog from last April), leaving some nice turns, so we were encouraged by the conditions. No sign of the big crevasse near the top where the pitch rolls over - guess there has been enough snow and wind to bury it.
The col at the top was very windy, and as a result, not a nice place to hang for lunch. Too bad! The view is incredible! As such, we took off the skins, and cranked turns to the valley bottom that were surprisingly pleasant considering our complete lack of snowfall this season (so far).
By the time we were back to the cars, it was 6 hours. The way out will finish off whatever available calories you have left. And perhaps leave a blister or two.....