Having thoroughly enjoyed the scenery during an ascent of Mount Chester (across the highway) years earlier, I was intrigued by Mount Murray and the "rugged" French Creek valley at its foot. Since that time, Murray had been on my radar and for reasons that are not obvious, I finally decided to attempt it with Gord and Aurore on a day when we would have to rush back to Calgary to pick up my mom from the airport later that evening. The approach proved unpleasant (rugged as advertized), however, the stunning scenery up high was validation enough for the suffering in the valley below!
The appropriately named 'Mud Lake' just beyond the Burstall Pass parking lot.
This thin trail through dense, wet forest wasn't the route that Kane describes to get to Mount Murray, but it did the trick...
After some intense bush-whacking, we emerged from the woods. Our reward? Steep scree slopes. Escaping the forest was not nearly as simple as Kane claims; the drainage that his description mentions is now overgrown and not obvious. You should come upon this thinner spot in the trees at a clearing about 10 minutes beyond the second waterfall.
At least the view improved substancially! The valley below the French Glacier.
Large, noisy waterfall in the valley.
A waterfall on Cegnfs Peak. We had to cut across this one at about the elevation of the trees on the left.
Our first views of Mount Murray beyond Cegnfs.
Looking back towards the exposed summit ridge of Mount Burstall.
An interesting choice of pose for a photo...
Better view of the target Mount Murray. The route follows the col over scree slopes that break up the rock bands, and finally up the backside at the summit block.
One of many false summits on Cegnfs.
The old man, displeased with the steep scree ascent.
Gord: "That next little peak is Murray, right?"
Matt: "No...that's still Cegnfs..."
F'ing false summits!
Finally, the true summit! Of Cegnfs at least...
Beautiful views through the Cegnfs/Murray col.
Summit register #1 of the day!
Looking back towards Mount Burstall, Birdwood (prominent) and the south end of Spray Lake from Cegnfs.
Burstall, Birdwood, and Rolo.
Across the col: Mounts Murray (closest), Smith-Dorrien, French and Robertson.
Descending to the col...
...only to have to climb back up again on the other side (Cegnfs peak in the background now).
The foreshortened view of Mount Murray from the col.
Unnecessary climbing: there was a great little trail just to the right. Oops!
Nasty little gully near the top.
Sommet #2 of the day!
Gord choosing his way along the summit ridge with care.
Apparently Gord's favorite thing to take pictures of in the mountains...
Kananaskis Valley in the distance to the south.
My nemesis: Mount Ray.
Mounts Pocaterra (left) and Tyrwhitt (right) above the Kananaskis Lakes to the south.
Glaciated Mount Joffre.
Spray Lake at the end of the Smith-Dorrien Valley.
Prominent Mount Birdwood on the other side of Burstall Pass.
Mount Burstall and Commonwealth Peak in front of Spray Lake.
Spray Lake in the distance to the north.
Across the valley, left to right: Mount Galatea, Gusty Peak, Mount Chester, and the Fortress.
The Fortress and Mount Kidd in the distance. If you squint, I'm pretty sure you can see the stupid telecommunications repeater on the summit of Mount Kidd.
Summit #24 and counting!
Apparently, my helmet could use some adjusting...
Cool moraines in the valley below: a reminder of how far the glaciers have retreated.
Doing the 'angry Buono' on the summit.
Aurore trying not to make me look fat.
Wonder who placed the register on this summit?...
A tough nut to crack...
Only the second ascent of Mount Murray this summer!
Summit shot with the Gord.
Assiniboine beyond Burstall Pass.
The rather sharply angled summit of Mount French.
A summit just isn't a summit without a creepy chocolate-eating Aurore photo.
Cegnfs peak, now far below!
Distant Mount Ball over highway 93 to Radium Hot Springs.
Temple, faintly visible a long way off.
Frenchy pointing at Mount Robertson. I'm pretty sure she meant to point at Mount French!
Time to head down.
Heading back towards Cegnfs.
Aurore posing in front of Cegnfs and the Chester Lake scrambles (Galatea, Gusty, Chester and Fortress).
Mount Chester in the evening sun. Fortress behind in the shade.
Gordo below the summit block of Murray.
Impressive rock bands on Mount Murray.
Back into the alpine meadows. Mount Murray getting farther and farther back.
Trying to smile for a photo while being devoured by mosquitoes.
The lush French Valley.
Trying to convince Gord to put the camera away and get a move on! Also pretty flowers.
Back down to Mud Lake in the fading sunlight.
Sunset on Mud Lake.
Moose! Based on the hoof prints and sh*t on the trail, I think we followed this guy through the forest the whole time. We saw another 2 further down the highway. Moose Saturday?
Mount Murray from the highway. Now to see if we could make it to the airport in time to pick up my mom!