The Alpine Club of Canada's Abbot pass hut. Named after Philip Abbot an American who fell to his death in 1896 on Mount Lefroy
. Apparently he was North america's first recorded climbing accident. A picture of him is on the wall of this excellent hut.
This historic hut is a great staging point for climbs in the area. Mount Victoria
are just some of the options.
There are a couple of ways the get to the Abbot pass hut. Via Lake O'Hara is the safest way of getting there. The other is via the "Death Trap or the somewhat safer "Furhmann ledges".
To get to Lake O'Hara or Lake Louise. 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.
Via Lake Louise If your daring and willing to risk fate then go via the "The Death Trap". It's a very tight, very deep and steep glaciated valley that runs from Abbot Pass down to the Plain of Six Glaciers. This is were all the big avalanches run, so be careful!
The alternative to the "Death Trap" is the asending the "Fuhrmann Ledges, a lower shoulder of Mount Lefroy and following the upper portion to Abbot's pass. This is briefly described in Bill Corbett's "the 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies". Which is a worthwhile addition to anyones climbing guide's library.
If your looking for the safe approach, then go 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.
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.
Abbots pass hut, Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy among others are in Banff National Park.
You will have to purchase a parks pass upon entry to the park at Banff. Should you wish to camp a backcountry permit will be needed. You should check in and out with the rangers at Lake Louise.
Backcountry wilderness permits can be purchased in Banff or Lake Louise. Park Passes are also required for your vehicle and can be bought at the east gates while entering the park via Calgary or at the Info Centers.
Rates for Parks Canada as of July 1, 2005:
Wilderness Backcountry: $9/night
Wilderness Pass: $63/year
Reservation Fee: $12/group
Also be advised that there have been Bear closures in the area. There are also areas the Lake O'Hara area that have restricted access. Contact the Info Centers for more information.
Cost of lodging/Space available
Abbot Hut is located at the base of the South Ridge. It is maintained by the ACC. For reservations call 403-678-3200. $24/night for non-members, $19/night for members.
The hut has room for 24 people and has a propane system for cooking and lighting. An efficient wood stove provides the heat.
Out-house facilities in the rear of the hut.
Leave this place cleaner than when you found it. It is one of the jewels of the Canadian Rockies. Lets's keep it this way.
The Alpine Club of Canada
Joining a club such as The Alpine Club of Canada is recommended when climbing in Canada. While it is not obligatory, useful information can be had at their main Clubhouse in Canmore, or at their website which is open to everyone.
Alpine Club of Canada
Staying at the club in Canmore is 15$ Canadian for members and 19$ for non-members. It can get quite crowded in the summer so a reservation is recommended. Staying at the hostel in Lake Louise is more at 36$ Canadian but is good value for the money.
One place that is recommended is the ACC/Hostel in Lake Louise. This place has a small cosy restaurent with good food as well as kitchen facilities and lots of room for approx 36$ Canadian a night. While this is twice as much as the ACC lodge in Canmore it is still a bargin when compaired to the cost of hotels in the area.
Elizabeth Parker hut
Another "camping" option near Lake O'Hara is the Elizabeth Parker hut, owned & maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada. Reservations can be made through the AAC: (403) 678-5855. The hut is locked; make certain you get the lock combination when making reservations.
Weather forecasts are available, on the web weather office or (403) 762-2088
If your seeking information on route conditions call the Lake Louise Warden office 403-522-1220. Banff or Lake Louise Public Safety Wardens 403-762-4506 or Mtn Magic Equipment (the boys on the climbing floor generally know how things are) 403-762-2591