Climb Mount Yukness, Yoho Nat'l Park, BC, Canada

Elevation Gain: 2650'.......... Summit: 9341'.........Distance: 13km

July 20, 2017 (Thursday)

GETTING THERE: Lake O’Hara is accessed from a turnoff on the Trans-Canada Highway 12 km (7.5 miles) west of Lake Louise and 1.5 km (0.9 miles) east of the West Louise Lodge. The turnoff is well signed. There are two options for getting up to the lake in the summer – hiking and a 20-min 11K bus ride.

Lake O'Hara and Lake Oesa

Lake O'Hara circuit is a 2.8 km loop that hugs the lake. You'll cross several foot bridges and a waterfall. Lake Oesa is a 6.4 return climb from Lake O'Hara. Lake O'Hara is a beautiful lake that you must view for yourself. The trail up to Lake Oesa is a work of art by Lawrence Grassi. Stepping stones galore, and scenery to die for. You'll pass several lakes and a rock slide before reaching Lake Oesa. Once at Lake Oesa, you have the option of returning the same way or taking the Yukness Ledge Alpine Route back to Lake O'Hara. The trailhead for Lake Oesa starts 0.8 km into the left side of the Lake O'Hara trail.

There are two peaks to be summited on Yukness Mountain – the easier NW peak with its view of Lake O'Hara; and the true summit of the mountain, the SE peak which is reached via a scramble of moderate difficulty. There is 810m (2650 feet) of elevation gain to the summit from Lake O'Hara. It is mostly hiking and easy scrambling with some very loose terrain and minor exposure along the summit ridge. Only attempt if dry. The rockfall possibilities of this route make a helmet a must.

Starting from Lake O'Hara, hike along the right hand (south) shore of the lake until you get to the Opabin Plateau East Circuit Trail (ignoring the turnoff for the West Circuit Trail along the way). Take the East Circuit Trail to Opabin Lake. Upon reaching the lake, the trail begins faintly up the mountain from its left hand (NE) shoreline. (A sign used to mark the beginning of this trail, but it no longer exists.) Several cairns mark the way. Eventually, you will come across a series of gullies leading uphill to your right. The correct gully is the 4th one you encounter, or the leftmost one you see. Topping out of this gully, you can go left to summit the lower NW peak. Although it is very straightforward to get there, the last few steps as you skirt around the left side of the peak do require a bit of concentration due to some mild exposure. As always, ensure you take note of the gully you came up upon reaching the top of it so you can retrace your steps properly on the way down.

If your goal is the SE summit, go right after topping out of the gully to the col of the mountain. (Again, make note of the gully you came up for your return down the mountain.) From here, do not try to follow the ridge to the summit. Traverse below and to the right of the ridge, keeping roughly at the same height as the col. Nearing the summit, you will pass a couple of gullies before scrambling up to make the final, short push to the summit. Return the same way to descend.