Via Bourgeau Lake.
An easily accessible hiking trail just outside of Banff that gets you up into the alpine. I would rate this as Complex on the ATES due to the large, unavoidable slide paths and terrain traps.
Park at Bourgeau Parking Lot in Banff National Park.
Jenn ducks under a fallen tree on the way up to Bourgeau Lake. The majority of the approach is in the trees and uninspiring; however, provided a fast and fun luge run back down to the parking lot!
Inspecting fresh cougar tracks.
One of the several large slide paths that the trail crosses. Mount Cory rises in the background.
Jenn traversing a large slope above Bourgeau Lake up to Harvey Pass. Ski crampons came in handy due to some sort of dust-on-melt-freeze-crust. We had some great turns coming back down this slope!
Mountain Goat high above in a precarious location.
Sheep came by to say hi.
Jenn skinning up. Mount Bourgeau behind in upper left, Harvey Pass in upper right. We decided to ski the knob in centre, down into the Pass.
More enticing slopes to ski later in the season! I was surprised by the variety in terrain.
Jenn reaching Harvey Pass.
Harvey Pass/Lake. Sunshine Village and Healy Pass behind to the left. Another enticing slope to the right.
Topping out at our high-point. The days are short this time of year, so we can’t linger for too long!
Beautiful Christmas Day.
Great turns back down Harvey Pass. Boot-top powder.
GPS track of our route, returned same way. Alternate descent marked in dashed red line, which would take you down the other side of Harvey Pass to the Healy Meadows trail and back to Sunshine parking lot. Would be a great tour if you have 2 vehicles! A ski ascent of Mount Bourgeau would also be possible if the slopes were not so wind-blasted.
Descent was quick (~1 hour), as the approach trail is a consistent grade all the way back to parking lot, and was a lot of fun!