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D5/6 -- Birdwood Traverse (Commonwealth Pass/Birdwood Lakes/Burstall Pass)

  • Aug 17, 2013 · 8:00 AM
  • McMahon Stadium

This is going to be a very long hike/scramble.  Although there is some easy scrambling and off-trail route finding, it is not - or so I understand - extremely difficult.  It is very long and suitable only for diehard hikers.

This trip is described in both Copeland and Daffern (Volume 1). It involves going up one valley, and down another.  In between we will cross four passes: Smuts, High Col, Birdwood and Burstall. There will also be a need to cross a marsh and a creek.  If we get to Mt. Engadine Lodge by 4ish (doubtful), we will be able to take in the Hiker's Tea.  A stop for dinner/snacks in Canmore is also an option.

Distance: 20+ km

Elevation gain: 950 m

Driving Time: 4 hrs (2 each way)

Time on trail: 8 to 10 hours (or more)

Required Equipment:

  • Hiking boots (no runners)
  • Dress for spring, not summer
  • Headlamp (just in case!)
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Food
  • First aid kit
  • Shoes for a creek crossing (and extra socks)

Additional Gear:

-  Gaiters

-  Camera

-  Poles

Costs: Annual memberships are $20.  These allow you to attend all CORA trips for free. The Non-Member fee is $5.

Driving and Directions: A short car shuttle will be needed.  We will leave from the Mt. Engadine Lodge.  To get to the lodge travel west from McMahon Stadium on Hwy 1 to Hwy 40.  Take Hwy 40 to the Peter Lougheed Park junction. Turn right just before the winter gates.  After 2 km (approx), turn right onto the Smith-Dorrien Trail.  We will travel another 22 km to the Burstall Pass Day Use Area parking lot. One car will be left here, and the others 4 km further down the road at the Mt. Shark parking lot. We will depart from Burstall Pass and end the trip at Mt. Engadine Lodge.

Transport: CORA trips start at the trailhead. We meet at the meeting point in Calgary to make organizing trips easier and help ensure we know who's showing up. Please be on time, because we will wait no more than 15 minutes. You may choose to meet us at the trailhead, but please advise us ahead of time.

Trip Etiquette

-  We WILL stick together as a group.  This is Bear Country.

-  This is NOT a race. We will travel at a comfortable pace.

-  Where there is doubt about the route, we will discuss the

matter together.

-  The CORA Code of Conduct outlines our expectations.


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  • Morgan

    Enjoyable day soaking in amazing scenery at Burstall with a super group! Thanks Bruce for organizing.

    August 17, 2013

  • Gaston G.

    Apologies for the late pull out.

    August 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately I'm not able to make this hike. Have fun!

    August 15, 2013

  • Alexander J.

    What creek is this? The one beside Engadine Lodge? This is a long hike. Can we start earlier?

    August 13, 2013

    • Bruce P.

      Hi Alex. The destination has changed. It will still be a long drive, and probably a long hike. Starting earlier than 8 is a bit of a problem.

      August 14, 2013

  • Bruce P.

    The pass remains closed as of very late Wednesday. We can still go to Burstall Pass. There remains the option of going to Leman Lake, scrambling up Snow Peak (apparently an easy scramble) or doing a loop to South Burstall Pass. We will choose one of these options on Saturday.

    1 · August 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just a heads up. As of August 10, the Commonwealth Creek and Smuts Pass area is still closed due to an aggressive grizzly. It has been closed for the better part of a month now. I would suggest contacting the Barrier Info Center for further details.

    August 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    was looking forward to this but unfortunately will be in Edmonton now

    August 13, 2013

  • Cheryl

    Hey Bruce. If you want to become a member, how do you go about it? We can't pay at the meet up area right??

    August 12, 2013

    • Bruce P.

      Hi Cheryl. You're fine. Your membership is good until next year. Membership payments are now accepted on line. You will need a credit card or paypal account. You may click the pay online button under membership dues on the left hand side of the page. It is my understanding that one day memberships are no longer available.

      August 12, 2013

  • Bruce P.

    CORA Membership policies have recently be changed. You MUST be a 2013 member to attend this event. Your profile must indicate this. If you are not a 2013 member you will not be able to attend. Guests cannot attend either as we are no longer able to take payment at the trailhead. Please take whatever action is necessary.

    August 12, 2013

  • sakina Bruce , not yet.

    2 · August 8, 2013

  • sakina

    Sorry Bruce . Have to go to a wedding.

    August 5, 2013

  • Bruce P.

    Given the conditions in K-Country I have changed the date in the hope that we may be able to do this trip later in the year. This was a lovely trail, I'm hoping that it still is.

    June 28, 2013

6 went

Membership dues

CAD20.00 before first trip

This covers: Annual Membership

Payment is accepted using:

  • PayPal
  • Cash or check - “Payment must be made before attending your first trip of the year with CORA. Your Membership will be valid until the next AGM.

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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