Mount Burwell

September 21, 2021


North Shore Mountains, BC

Mt. Burwell is a broad granite massif on Lynn-Seymour Divide at the boundary of Lynn Headwaters Park. This peak is a reasonably popular objective that offers some expansive views of the North Shore Mountains. It’s also included in Matt Gunn’s Scrambles in SW British Columbia as well as the local Bagger Challenge list. For ambitious scramblers this peak is often ascended en route to tag the much-bigger Cathedral Mountain. To get there one must traverse up and over Coliseum Mtn. and then up and over Mt. Burwell so I decided to save these peaks in one batch of grab. Earlier in the day Francis and I had ascended “Paton Peak” and Coliseum Mountain.

Cathedral Mountain et al. via the standard route. GPX DL

There’s a lovely tarn immediately to the north of Coliseum Mountain that offered a scenic spot to take a break. Beyond that tarn we faced some undulating terrain to descend into Coliseum/Burwell col but the trail was still well marked and easy to follow. There’s more undulating terrain to overcome on the broad SE Ridge of Mt. Burwell but by sticking close to the ridge we had a fun scramble to eventually reach the summit of Mt. Burwell. We debated about tagging that “West Burwell” but since Cathedral Mountain was the primary objective we decided to worry about “West Burwell” later on the return, if we ever wanted to bother with it.

Mt. Burwell and its reflection in that tarn north of Coliseum Mountain
That same tarn with Five Fingers Group behind on Pitt-Coquitlam Divide
Cathedral Mountain looming behind that tarn
This is looking back from that tarn towards the summit of Coliseum Mountain
“Echo Peak” in the foreground with The Lions etc. behind
The east face of Crown Mountain and peaks in Lynn Headwaters
Me sticking on the ridge on Mt. Burwell’s ascent
Francis on a short off-route scramble step
Me plodding up the broad SE Ridge of Mt. Burwell following the trail
Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Burwell. Click to view large size.
Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Burwell. Click to view large size.
The summit of Meslilloet Mtn. hidden in clouds with Fannin Range in front
Mt. Harvey, Brunswick Mountain and Mt. Hanover on the skyline
Me on the summit of Mt. Burwell in front of Cathedral Mountain
Francis and I on the summit of Mt. Burwell

Without doing much lingering we immediately started the descent into Burwell/Cathedral saddle after signing Mt. Burwell’s summit register. This descent involved over 300 m of elevation loss on somewhat complicated terrain. The first half of the descent was pretty straightforward by sticking onto the north ridge but the terrain soon became more broken with some big steps. The route was mostly well marked but we lost the flags and the cairns about 2/3 of the way down. The easier terrain existed on the west side of the ridge so we thrashed down through some wet bushes onto a couple wide grassy ledges. After some searching around we eventually found the route again and traversed back onto the ridge. We weren’t far from the Burwell/Cathedral col and the trip continued with an ascent of Cathedral Mountain.

Francis starting the north ridge descent
Cathedral Mountain and Burwell Lake
Francis descending a corner slab in front of Burwell Lake
Looking back after a short stretch of steep down-scrambling
Me descending the broken boulders off the north ridge of Mt. Burwell
Off-route thrashing in wet bushes wasn’t fun
Palisade Lake on the west side of the ridge
We were off-route here and faced some 3rd class and wet terrain