It was Thursday and obviously hard to find partners, so I was looking forward to a scenic solo ascent. Lake O'Hara - Opabin Plateau - Yukness Mountain - Yukness Ledge - Lake Oesa traverse is definitely the most scenic day trip I've ever done. It can easily beat "Kiwetinok to Pollinger to McArthur to Kerr", "Mt. Northover to McHarg to Worthington", "Newman to Anderson 8-Peak-Traverse", "Saskatchewan Glacier to Castleguard Mountain", and "Mount Gordon to St. Nicolas Peak", to qualify the best view of this year so far. Just look at the location of this peak: in the middle of giant 11,000ers, with tens of alpine lakes surrounding. I took 535 photos during a one-peak-trip and that really means something.
The day started by walking up the 11km approach road. I've no interest to go in Lake O'Hara in bad weather, including cloudy and smoky, therefore booking the bus ticket 1 year ahead sounds stupid to me. Walking up is tedious but I like long days anyway. What surprised me was, the road itself has tens of elevation gain... I thought it was just flat. I think I must have gained 500m or so on the way in. With fast walking, I made to Lake O'Hara in just under 2 hours. Compared with the afternoon view, the morning light wasn't so great to picture the lake, but I still got some good shots.
Circumventing Lake O'Hara was short and soon I arrived at the junction to Opabin Plateau. I took the West Opabin route (the East route is shorter but less scenic), and soon I started to gain elevation up a headwall. Looking back, I got jizzed by the view of Mary Lake and Wiwaxy Peaks, as well as Odaray Mountain and Cathedral Mountain. The back side of Mount Stephen is also visible by this point. The well maintained trail tops out on the plateau, and soon I passed Moor Lakes. Mount Huber looks impressive. And soon after that I made to Hungabee Lake. Then a bit of trudge, I was looking at Opabin Lake, and the impressive Mt Biddle. I managed to catch up two other scramblers at the lake and we grouped together up the mountain.
The ascent gully shows up, straightforward even for novice scramblers. There're cairns here and there and it's hard to get lost. I wasn't keen on the lower north summit, so I went all the way to the col, where I was treated with the head-on view of Abbot Pass / Lake Oesa. I made the scramble harder by trying to stick to the ridge. This way, I would rate my route as difficult scramble. The other two scramblers traversed below and their way is easy to moderate. So why I did this? I was told the scrambling is fun on the ridge.
After soaking in the views for half an hour at the summit, we descended via the moderate route, and except for kicking down rocks, it was very straightforward. To go this way up, you have to look carefully for the cairns, while resisting to gain elevation too soon. By the time we got back to Opabin Lake, the afternoon light made Hungabee Mountain look more impressive.
After saying goodbye to them, I started uphill again towards Yukness Ledge. Because I didn't do the north peak of Yukness Mountain, I missed the view of Lake O'Hara. Well, I made up for it by traversing Yukness Ledge. Lots of up-and-downs on the ledge, and eventually I made to Lake Oesa. After an energy break, I slowly walked back to Lake O'Hara.