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The French Haig Robertson Traverse

This is a Premiere route in the Kananaskis range with beautiful views and complex terrain.

Ski Touring Moderate

19 km
1.2 km
1.2 km
7-8 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.9 km
The French Haig Robertson Traverse Map

This is one of the crown jewels of the Kananaskis region a must-do for ski mountaineers who like long days, technical travel and stunning views. This route takes you onto two Glaciers - the Haig and the Robertson and you should travel with full glacier gear and a minimum of three people on this route. Although it can seem mundane, looks are deceiving - if you have been on the Robertson Glacier in the summer you will realise there are a lot of very large holes.


To begin this traverse you will start at Burstall Parking lot which is very easy to access off the Smith Dorrien road. It is one of the busiest trailheads in Kananaskis as Burstall is a popular cross country and snowshoeing destination.

To begin you head out on the double wide nordic trail and then after 2 kms take a left to go around Mount Burstall. You will stay in some trees on the summer trail until you reach the valley. You will skin through the valley between Mount Burstall and Mount Murray until you pop out of the trees into a massive bowl with Mount French towering over you. You head up this bowl to the obvious Col. Once you reach the Col you will be on the Haig Glacier and it is advisable to put your glacier gear on. At this point you head toward Mount Sir Douglas on the flat Haig Glacier. You will reach a steep headwall on your right that you will have to bootpack to gain the col and your eventual descent down the Robertson Glacier. This is a very steep slope that gets a lot of sun. If you are doing this tour in the spring (which is advisable) you will want to hit this bootpack before it is too warm. You should bring crampons and a mountaineering axe as this section can often be very firm.

Once you reach the Col you will see an impressive and very open bowl to descend back to the valley. This bowl is the Robertson Glacier and you will want to ski cautiously to avoid any obvious holes. Once you reach the valley you skin back to the parking lot along a flat nordic trail. For this ski tour you will want glacier gear, very good weather and visibility. There have been a number of rescues on this route with people getting lost in bad visibility. It is advisable to do this route in spring although it is skied heavily throughout the season when windows of good stability occur. It isn't a good early season ski tour as you are on two glaciers with crevasses that may not be bridged well. The views are incredible, bring a lunch and some friends and this may just become one of your favourite spring tours.



Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Low Exposure (E1)

1 out of 4

Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between February and May


  • Bowl
  • Alpine
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area