Why not start here, the outhouse at Lake O’Hara includes this handy graphic on toilet use. Turns out I was wrong all along.
I feel that by writing too much I will be taking away from the incredible landscape that makes up the Lake O Hara area, so I’ll keep it to a minimum this time. Lake O’Hara in the morning here. Mount Yukeness in the background.
Our first objective is to hike up to Wiwaxy gap which is part of the Alpine circuit at Lake O’Hara. Parks Canada suggests that the alpine trails are for “experienced hikers who are comfortable with route finding, heights and traversing exposed terrain. Hikers must be aware of avalanche conditions year-round and follow protocols for travelling in avalanche terrain.”
Navigating one of those exposed ledges Parks Canada warns you about.
As we climb up the 600 meters of elevation, the views of the valley start to open up. It almost looks like somebody painted this, surreal.
Making their way up to the Wiwaxy gap. Notice the lack of other hikers? Lake O’Hara has strict limits on the number of people they let into the area each day to protect the fragile alpine ecosystem.
Made it to the Gap!
From the Gap we carry on across the Huber Ledges. If you look carefully you can see the trail clinging to the side here as it somehow finds a route through terrain that seems impossible to traverse.
If you look closely, you can find the group on the trail hiking down to the Lake. They are absolutely dwarfed by the huge mountains that surround the Lake O’Hara area. As of 2020, if you want to visit Lake O’Hara, you need to enter a lottery. If you win a pass, you can pay for a permit to enter the area via a 12km bus ride. It costs $10 to enter the lottery and an additional $14.70 if you are lucky enough to win a seat.
In the lower left corner of the picture you will see a blue and Yellow marker. These markers help you route find on the alpine circuit trails. They were put in by the trail builder Lawrence Grassi. He chose these colors to pay tribute to his homeland, Sweden’s flag.
Wiwaxy Gap, where we came from, can be seen in the background.
The group down at Lake Oesa enjoying a well-deserved lunch and break.
From the lake we head over the Yukeness Ledges which are also part of the alpine circuit. Wiwaxy Gap, that we just came down from, can be seen in the distance.
As you come down from the Yukeness Ledges, you pop out at this picturesque lake.
At this point, the group decides to head back to the Lake O’Hara. Rick suggests that he and I carry on and finish the Alpine circuit by continuing to All Souls Pass. How long could it possibly take to gain the 400m elevation to the pass? We should make it back before the bus leaves… probably.
As we gain elevation heading for the pass, we are treated to a great view of Lake O’Hara. If you look closely, you can see the trail heading up to the Wiwaxy Gap.
I didn’t take too many pictures from the All Souls route as we were busy racing the bus. We didn’t want to miss our ride out. If you look closely, you can see the blue and yellow trail marker again in the lower right corner. I’m happy to report we did make it back in time to catch the bus out. All in all, another great day at Lake O’Hara.

1 Comment

Shawn Bags Mount Schaffer – Yoho National Park - Trip Bagger · March 27, 2022 at 1:21 am

[…] The day starts at Lake O’Hara which Parks Canada limits access to. You to can stay at the cabins on the lake you can see in this picture. It ONLY costs $970 per night. (Minimum 2 night stay). I decide that instead of getting a cabin, I’ll climb a mountain. After hiking to Schaffer Lake, which is still in the mountains shadow early in the morning, the ascent starts. The terrain gets a little more interesting as you get higher. View from the summit. The yellow thing in the front is a summit register. Most mountains in the Rockies have a summit register. They have a little book in them where you sign your name. When the book fills up they get removed and stored at a museum in Banff. On a side note; this isn’t true on more popular summits, there are just far to many people summiting to do this. Lake O’Hara and the very affordable cabins can be seen from the summit. The mountain is named after Mary Schaffer who spent a good deal of time exploring the Canadian Rockies. First ascended in 1909. Lake McArthur. My family was hiking around the area at the same time and waiting for me down at the lake. I was trying to use the cameras timer to get a photo of myself. I was too slow. This timer idea isn’t really working out. I eventually gave up on the timer and took the traditional summit selfie instead. More on Lake O’Hara here: https://www.tripbagger.com/2017/08/16/shawn-bags-lake-ohara-yoho-national-park/ https://www.tripbagger.com/2019/09/04/shawn-bags-lake-ohara/ […]

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