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The Little B's Meet the Big B!
Report Submitted by Mike W
(trip) Date: Sunday May 01, 2022
Submitted: Thursday May 05, 2022 at 23:26
Me and the Little B's, and a friend
This past Sunday May 1 the Little B's and I and a friend explored an area north of Healy Creek that I hadn't been to before in winter - Harvey Pass below Mount Bourgeau, and Bourgeau Meadows. This area is better suited to alpine touring or telemark gear, but is still feasible with light touring gear especially if you have Little B's to help you along! The route description is based on the 2021 edition of Confessions of a Ski Bum - The Bow Valley - Banff to Castle Junction, downloadable from https://gettothemountainspublishing.com/products/the-bow-valley-banff-to-castle-junction-digital-download-donation.
We started from the Sunshine Village parking lot following the usual trail to Healy Pass. But you leave the trail after about 1.3km from the parking lot, descend to Healy Creek, cross it, and head up the steep bank opposite (photo 2). I though there might be open water, but the creek was well covered in snow. The gradient soon eased off and we made our way northwest toward Harvey Pass, following the left shoulder of the drainage to climber's right. Further up, the drainage splits into a west and north branch. We followed the north branch which was more direct to Harvey Pass, but turned out to be tight and convoluted. A better approach would have been to follow the west branch and then turn north once the terrain begins to open up.
Nevertheless we made steady progress (photo 3). At treeline we got a good view of the Bourgeau West Triangle avalanche path and the windblown west ridge route to Bourgeau summit (photo 4). Soon we were at Harvey Pass, but the wind had picked up considerably, visibility was pooor, and we quickly headed back down to treeline. Then it was a long generally downhill traverse across Bourgeau Meadows followed by a short climb up to the SE shoulder of Centre Peak. The Little B's turned around to bid a fond farewell to the big B (photo 1). We then dropped into the Y Drainage that runs down to the Healy Creek E5 campground (photos 5 & 6). The warm weather had softened the usually icy Healy Creek trail, so we had an easy descent back to the parking lot. We saw no one all day.
The Little B's turn around to bid a fond farewell to the Big B
Climbing the steep north bank of Healy Creek
Bourgeau West Triangle avalanche path with Bourgeau summit hidden behind
Descending the Y Drainage
Descending the Y Drainage
Confessions of a Ski Bum - The Bow Valley - Banff to Castle Junction