OverviewMount Burney is near the centre of the Opal Range in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. It is one of the many highpoints along the main range of the Opals that runs from Mount Evan-Thomas south to Elpoca Mountain. This attractive peak is subtle and hard to distinguish from the long Opal Range ridgeline.
The summit reaches a height of 2934 metres (9,626 ft.) and is the second summit south of Mount Blane, excluding ‘The Blade’. Like most Opal Range summits, this peak has named to honour the Battle of Jutland. Named in 1922 for Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney (1858-1929) who was a British admiral of the First World War. During the Battle of Jutland, his flagship, HMS Marlborough was hit, but not sank, by German torpedoes. First ascent in 1956 solo by R. Lofthouse via the West Face.
Getting ThereEasy highway access from Highway 40 along the western edge of the Opal Range provides the best approach. Highway 40 does provide access from the Trans Canada Highway in the north, and continues south to the Longview area, but the southern section is closed for wildlife protection from December 1 to June 15 each winter/spring. Best vehicle access from Canmore/Banff or Calgary is via the Trans Canada Highway, south along Highway 40.
Park in the King Creek parking lot, opposite the turn off for Kananaskis Lakes, approximately 50 km south of the Trans Canada Highway. To gain the West Face or South West Ridge of Mount Burney you need to access upper King Creek (south branch), which can be difficult as there is no official trail and numerous creek crossings.
Red Tape / Camping and BivouacsThe parking area, the approach and most of the climbing on Mount Burney are located in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. No permit is required to park or climb in this park. The ascent of Mount Burney can be completed in a long day and a bivouac is not usually required.
Random backcountry camping without a permit is allowed in most Wildland Provincial Parks, but Provincial Parks require consultation with park staff. If wishing to bivy, please consult with staff at the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre or the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park Visitor Information Centre during normal hours of operation.
When to ClimbTypical Canadian Rockies situation with July and August providing the best conditions for high elevation climbing. Mount Burney’s relatively low elevation and position in the dry front ranges extends the summer season and is usually dry from June to late October.
ApproachPark in the King Creek parking lot, opposite the turn off for Kananaskis Lakes, approximately 50 km south of the Trans Canada Highway. To gain the West Face or South West Ridge of Mount Burney you need to access upper King Creek (south branch), which can be difficult as there is no official trail and numerous creek crossings.
An excellent trail heads up King Creek, but the trail does not have any permanent bridges. Between ice climbers in the winter, and the occasional hiker, the trail usually has many high quality log bridges, but these get fewer and fewer as you head up stream. After about 1.5 kilometres from the parking lot, the creek splits into two branches, turn south (right) and stay low, close to the creek using game trails with some light bushwhacking. After about 1.5 kilometres from the forks, access the West Face or the South West Ridge from tree line below the West Face.
Route DescriptionsOnly one route has been documented on Mount Burney. We could not find the line and forged a new, or unreported, route up the South West Ridge.
West Face, Alpine I
|First ascent of the mountain in 1956 solo by R. Lofthouse via the West Face. Only route description from the The Rocky Mountains of Canada South. (7 th edition). Quote, “Easy ascent via West Face from King Creek”.|
South West Ridge, Alpine II, 5.5