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West face

West face

West face

Page Type: Route

Location: Alberta/British Columbia, Canada, North America

Object Title: West face

Route Type: 45 degree ice/snow ascent

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Easy front pointing

Route Quality: 
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Page By: William Marler

Created/Edited: Jul 18, 2005 / Jul 18, 2005

Object ID: 165884

Hits: 3971 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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This is the safe approach via Lake O'Hara. The approach takes half a day, but except for the last 500 feet of scree up to Abbots pass it is an easy effort.

To get to Lake O'Hara from Calgary take the Trans Canada (1) west through Canmore, Banff to Lake Louise. For Lake O'Hara you must continue for another 20 minutes on the TransCanada.

First catch the shuttle bus which is the only vehicle allowed on the road pas the parking lot (contact the Alpine Club of Canada for hut & bus reservations) or hike the 13km up the dirt road. It is closed to private vehicles. Follow the trail left around the edge of Lake O'Hara up to Lake Oesa and then continue up the steep slopes, north to Abbot Pass. The Last part is a bit of a chore, but the first part is on an amazing trail built by Lawrence Grassi. It has to be seen to be believed. Huge flat stones have been placed along the trail making this hike so much easier. Trail worthy of ancient Rome.

Route Description

From the hut ascend the round hill right in front of the hut. Pick your gully of choice and ascend the 45 degree slope snow and ice climb (depending on conditions). Fairly easy front pointing will get you where you want to be. There are three gullies to choose from. We took the one on the right. This will depend on the snow conditions as mentioned above.

Once on the summit ridge it is 5 minutes to the summit. Watch out as the top is heavily corniced in spots.
1.5 to 2 hours to the summit from the hut.
45 minutes to descend (or quicker)

Essential Gear

Ice screws (might be needed)
Headlamp for early start.
Ski poles are useful for the first part. But not essential.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.


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