Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit

               Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit     13 miles      1161m elevation gain     8 hrs (bus back out)

Lake O'Hara sits at the end of an 11km fire road. This year reservations for the bus were available online for the whole season (rather than by phone with gradual date availability).  I still missed the entire thing but honestly it's a nice trek in and you add a jaunty 11k and 430m to your day.

The forecast was for potential storms with rain likely at 3pm so our plan was to conquer the fire road as quickly as possible and ascend right away from O'Hara to Wiwaxy Gap (500m gain over 2km).

Lake O'Hara.

We sat for a few minutes then it was up, up, up.  The advantage to such a steep climb is the view constantly unfolding below.

There was a particular shot I wanted on this trail and I was hoping we'd get the sun for a few minutes since it seemed the clouds were rolling in.  Just as were climbing away from the view, the sun finally hit Lake Oesa.  Yes!

It's hard to capture how stunning this was.

The thunder started rolling as we hit the high point of the ridge so we descended fairly rapidly.  It became clear we were only going to get the edge of the storm as it stuck to the next valley south.  By the time we reached the Oesa overlook it was actually sunny again.

Since things were looking lovely on the weather front we crossed the Oesa outlet stream and picked up the next section of the Alpine Route - Yukness Ledges to Opabin Plateau.

This immediately rolled in to the north of us.  More thunder and lightning.

Somehow it stayed in the valley to the north.  Opabin is a lovely mix of trees and lakes.  We decided not to continue along the All Souls Route as the dark clouds were closing in rapidly.

Our weather luck finally ran out as we descended to O'Hara.  We sprinted to make the 4:30 bus through the pouring rain.  Luckily there were seats for us, though both buses were full after the campsite pickup.

It was a magical day.


  1. Gosh I need to go there. I wish I could move the mountains closer to Red Deer.


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