Lake O’Hara Region

Four days in paradise. The Lake O’Hara region offers the most high-impact scenery of the Canadian Rockies in my opinion, plus a yellow school bus that will haul you, your espresso maker, box of wine, and sausages into the “backcountry” where potable water and illuminated outhouses await on a maximum three-night stay. Trailheads are already almost at tree line, so with a little effort, even a mediocre hiker can achieve magnificent views. On my first day out, I started on the alpine circuit with a detour scramble up to a high point just below the summit of one of the Wiwaxy Peaks, before rain sent me to nap in the tent just after passing Lake Oesa. Day two had me scrambling up the South peak of Mount Yukness, which afforded an amazing view of the entire region, but especially of the Abbot Pass route. On day three we scrambled up the south ridge of Mount Shäffer, and left the area in the evening of day four after hiking to Cathedral Prospect across the basin to the North, for an amazing overview of the O’Hara group. Can’t wait for the next time! Many more options await!

Overview of the four days in the area. Day 1 (Red), Day 2 (Yellow), Day 3 (Green), Day 4 (Blue)
The route for day one; up to Wiwaxy Gap, a small detour towards the peaks, then down to Lake Oesa and back to the campground
Arriving at Lake O’Hara, the clouds began to break up just after we pitched our tent
Looking at the Wiwaxy Peaks from Opabin Prospect
Shäffer Ridge from just below the summit of one of the Wiwaxy Peaks
The Lake O’Hara region from the Wiwaxy Peaks. Lakes Oesa, Lefroy, Victoria, Yukness and part of O’Hara are visible here
Route for day two. A moderate scramble up the south (higher) peak of Mount Yukness
Opabin Lake and Pass at around 9:45am on the way up
Looking South towards Opabin Pass, Shäffer Ridge and Mount Biddle from the summit of Yukness
Summit view looking North
Lake Oesa from above
Abbot Pass (flanked by Mounts Victoria and Lefroy) and Lake Oesa
Hiking around the Opabin Plateau after the scramble
Route for day three. An easy scramble up the southwest ridge of Mount Shäffer
The Alpine Club of Canada’s Elizabeth Parker hut
Mount Shäffer from the meadows surrounding the hut
Lake MacArthur from the col en route to Shäffer’s summit
Summit of Mount Shäffer, looking South
Summit of Shäffer, looking North
Route for the fourth, and final day in the O’Hara area. An easy 15km hike to Cathedral Prospect and back in time for the 4:30pm bus
The O’Hara group from the shores of Linda Lake, well worth the trip!
The Shäffer Ridge and Mount Hungabee from the meadows near the Elizabeth Parker hut, one of the last views of the O’Hara area for this year!

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