This the second in a five part series of posts on our adventures in the Lake O’Hara area. It takes you along on a virtual hike on the route we took, via the Wiwaxy Gap and the Huber Ledges to Lake Oesa… the launch pad for the third post in the series, where we climb the scree to Abbot Hut. While it is possible to do the shorter, most direct route, it’s not what I’d recommend. If you have good weather, strength and stamina (or can push yourself) to do this, take on this challenge.
We’d been fortunate enough to book passage in on the earliest bus up and decided to make the most of our time in the Lake O’Hara area by taking in as much of the spectacular scenery as possible en route to Abbot Hut. We certainly went on a longer and more challenging route, but it was far more fun.
Our route took us, via the Wiwaxy Gap trail to its high point on the Alpine Circuit, brought us along the Huber Ledges that are cut into the high cliffs, then down to the shores of beautiful Lake Oesa for lunch. From there we rested, ate to fuel ourselves, and then headed up the scree slope to the hut.
Though it was a smoky day, the views were still pretty amazing (though nothing like they were on the day out when the skies were a bluebird colour and the sun shone brightly, revealing the incredible blues and greens of the lake colours on our way out).
More to follow in the next blog post where you’ll see what it was like to scramble up to the hut. Stay tuned…
The amazing thing is that this route, when viewed from across the valley the day we headed out, looks absolutely impossible! It’s amazing what you can achieve, putting one foot in front of the other, trudging in the footsteps of those ancient and intrepid mountaineer explorers!
Zoom in. We headed up the avalanche path that meets the lake on the left. Next, look to the right of the second avalanche path above the fourth wrinkle in the mountain’s side. Can you see the upward diagonal scratch? That was our trail. It went up to the col (the shoulder between the peak on the left, and the mountain that rises out of sight on the right), and then headed out, horizontally from there, to the right, along one of the rock band layers that makes up that Huber Mountain. Incredible, eh? The zig zag path below is the regular hiking path that leads to Lake Oesa on a more direct route and is the trail that most people take.
To be continued... next up: Gettin’ Screed (heading up the scree slope from lake Oesa to Abbot Pass).
Cancellations are also posted on the Yoho Trail Conditions page by Parks Canada. Be flexible about your dates, keep this page open on your phone, refresh it frequently, and you’re far more likely to get in. (Thanks for the tip, Ian!)
Click here for more terrific hikes in Yoho National Park. And check out more hikes from Canada and our adventures around the world here.
Trekking up a mountain’s shoulder, hiking through a flowering alpine meadow, snowshoeing through a dense pine forest, or taking in the 360 degree views from a ridge top vantage point make me feel alive. The experiences in these places give me a profound sense of space and place.
Travel does a similar thing, pushing me out of my comfort zone, exposing me to new experiences, new people and new ways of thinking; it also gives me that sense of space and place in this world.
I believe that life is lived in the contrasts: when you experience simplicity and complexity and life's ups and downs, whether they be physically in this world or mentally in your own personal inner landscape, you know that you are truly living.
The bigger they are, the more there is to explore!