Birdwood Traverse **

Kananaskis backcountry ski touring.

Via Burstall Pass and Commonwealth Creek. A fun traverse around Mount Birdwood that allows you to see a bunch of cool terrain.



Park one vehicle at Burstall Pass parking lot, and a second vehicle about 5km north along the Smith Dorrien across from Mount Smuts.

Trip Report


The route begins up the Burstall Pass hiking trail from the Burstall parking lot. Above is our approximate route as seen from the gravel flats before Burstall Pass. The traverse wraps around Mount Birdwood on right, and in between Snow Peak, on left.


Once you gain the hill above the Burstall gravel flats towards Burstall Pass, branch right and wrap around the south ridge of Mount Birdwood. You will need to gain the pass in the above picture, which is pretty much the crux of the trip.


On top of the pass between Birdwood and Snow Peak, looking back towards the group. This short, but steep, slope must be negotiated. Burstall Pass off to the right.


Once you gain the col between Birdwood and Snow Peak, you can get some good turns down into the valley towards the left. That being said, the further down into the valley you go, the longer you will need to skin up towards the second col in the middle of the above picture. Smutwood Peak on left with Mount Smuts on right. The skin up to the col can be steep and heavily forested in places.


Once at the col to the right of Smutwood Peak, it is time to transition again to get some turns down onto the frozen lakes south of Mount Smuts. The third pass to gain is the wind-swept pass off to the right, below Mount Smuts in the centre of the picture.


At the top of the third pass below Mount Smuts, you will be rewarded with a great ski down into Commonwealth Creek area. Open slopes with great snow can be found off to the right (avy hazard), with safer skiing through the trees in the middle. Follow Commonwealth out towards the road and to your second vehicle.



Actual GPS route above in blue. Times and distances below are round-trip.


Author: SeeThenSki

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