Lake O'Hara

Elevation: 2115 m
Elevation Gain: 430 m
My Ski Ascents:
January 18 2014, March 24 2013, March 24 2012, February 12 2012
Download GPX: Lake O'Hara

With a high pressure system and its associated clear skies rolling in over the weekend, I was itching to get out to the main ranges for some spectacular scenery. With avalanche danger ratings still off the charts, however, I had to be conservative in my selection of a target. While it’s not a “summit”, there are few places on Earth that can compare to Lake O’Hara in terms of beauty. Despite my fondness for this area, I’d yet to show it to Brianne who (thanks to Santa) is the proud new owner of a pair of cross-country skis. After working out some of the kinks on flat terrain in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park last weekend, she was ready to brave the 12 km-long fire road approach. With the cross-country ski trail to the lake not officially open until February, we were also able to bring along Crux for his first cross-country ski in the mountains. Fond of Lake O’Hara themselves, my parents also agreed to come along for the ride making this outing a real family affair. Although I've made better time skiing into Lake O'Hara, I can't remember ever having as much fun doing it is I did on this day!

A note of thanks to Gord for all of the photos in this trip report as I was too lazy to reach into my backpack to grab my own camera! Why freeze my fingers when he's already freezing his?

Mom enjoys bright blue skies, fresh snow and plenty of open road on the long ski in to Lake O’Hara. Despite the distance, the time went quickly with the good company present (I am, of course, referring to Crux).

Inspiration in the form of Mount Victoria’s spectacular north face.

Black and white views of Mount Odaray. Although much of the 12 km-long ski is in the trees, every clearing comes complete with an amazing view!

At long last – 12 km later! Arriving at a shady Lake O’Hara as Mount Lefroy catches the late afternoon sunshine. Unfortunately, the lake’s position amongst the massive peaks of the continental divide ensured that (at this time of year anyways) it remained cloaked in shade the whole time we were there. Guess we’ll just have to come back once the sun is a little higher in the sky! ;-)

The “Hounds” explore the frozen lake.

Wiwaxy Peak (left) and Mount Huber (right) tower above.

Lunch on the lake! I think that someone was begging for a sandwich in this photo (but I can't recall if it was Crux or myself).

A frosty afternoon in the shadow of lofty peaks. From left to right: Mount Lefroy, Glacier Peak, Mount Yukness, Mount Hungabee and Mount Biddle.

Family photo on (not at) the lake.

I think it’s safe to say that Crux and Brianne both enjoyed their first trip to Lake O’Hara despite the long ski in! Now to brave the long ski back out...

Part of what made the day so much fun! Technically dogs have to be kept on leash in the National Park; what ensued on the way down could best be described as 12 km of high speed sled dog training!

Still smiling (blisters and all) as the last rays of daylight warm North Victoria.

The sun sets on Mount Bosworth as we dashed downhill to get back to the parking lot before dark. A beautiful end to a beautiful day!