August 12th 2016
Following in the steps of our friends Cam and Joy from the previous week (and they survived the glacier) We headed out on a beautiful August day from Moraine Lake to traverse the Opabin Glacier to Lake O’Hara. We had a car in the Lake O’Hara trailhead and planned to catch the bus out from Le Relais $10. It was a Friday and we had heard that if the bus is full of return ticked passengers, one way travellers had to walk out. “Oh No” not another 11 km. We arrived at Le Relais at 4:30 pm and caught the bus without a problem.
The trip starts at the Moraine Lake parking, arrive early to be able to park. Head up the Sentinel Pass trail, may require a group of four. Turn left to Eiffel Lake. Pass the lake and continue to Wenkchemna Pass 9.5 km 790m. Look down the Valley of the Ten Peaks before heading down 350m to Eagles Eyries Rock in Prospectors Valley. It looks to be all rocks and moraine but is surprisingly pretty with a nice stream and green lush vegetation. Stay walking on the green stuff as long as possible heading towards the Opabin Pass. Follow the best path you can find across all the rock until the snow and ice. We found the snow was soft enough to kick steps in so made for better footing. Close to the top it gets a bit steep, muddy and loose. Make sure you head for the low point where the small cornice sits at the col. Lunch on the col under Mt Biddle and Mt Hungabee. Leaving the col to go over into Lake O’Hara the snow is very steep. Some of us used ice axes for self arrest but it is a short pitch and there is always the rocky edge to travel on. Lower down is where the real glacier still has some depth. No crevasses were found or seen. We stayed on the left on descent. When off the glacier head right to Opabin Lake. Then depending on the time chose a route down to catch the appropriate bus out.
Distance return 19.2 km Time return 8 hrs ( inc 30 min lunch ) Elevation Accumulated gain 1190 m Loss 350m Gain 340m Wenkchemna Pass 788m Elevation to High Point 788m Summit height 2613 m