Hut Discovery: Abbot Pass

Experience a night at one of the ACC's most iconic and remote huts

Built in 1922, Canada’s second-highest permanent structure straddles the border between BC and Alberta. It provides panoramic views over the continental divide in both directions: back to Lake Oesa far below in BC, and down the Victoria Glacier to Lake Louise on the Alberta side. It was constructed with the stones at the pass, and has been a base for mountaineering in the Lake Louise area for nearly 100 years. Come visit one of our most spectacular alpine huts, and travel with the peace of mind that the supervision of a full alpine guide will provide. 

View down approach slope to Lake Oesa.
Photo credit: Sarah Sasges

 












Getting there

The approach to the hut is easily and consistently underestimated. Under optimal conditions, it’s a moderately involved, straightforward hike and scramble. Nonetheless, this is a full-on alpine environment in which conditions can change quickly. Rockfall danger and avalanches are a possibility. In early or late season conditions, you may have to navigate a steep snow slope, potentially requiring the use of an ice axe and crampons. Unprepared hikers are plucked off of the pass every year via helicopter, and it’s not uncommon to hear stories of people attempting the hike in wildly inappropriate footwear (sandals and gym running shoes). Blogs describe harrowing, uncontrolled snow slides by people tempted by an apparently easy way down, but unfamiliar with how to stop themselves. 

However, with the proper coaching and supervision, Abbot pass is a great beginner scrambling objective. It’s perfect for strong on-trail hikers who are moving into the alpine environment for the first time. While a basic level of fitness is required, your guide can coach you in snow travel techniques, proper use of mountaineering equipment, how to mitigate rockfall danger with your party and other parties, and basic balance and movement skills for the steep, rocky terrain.   

Ascending steep snow on the approach.
Photo credit: Sarah Sasges

 












Abbot Pass Hut

Abbot Pass hut is located at nearly 3,000m on the col between Mt. Lefroy and Mt. Victoria. The attractive stone building has a cozy interior: a wood stove, kitchen (complete with everything you’ll need to cook your dinner and boil water), and an upstairs communal sleeping area. 

Hut Discovery Program: Safety & Access 

If you’ve seen pictures from our spectacularly set alpine huts and want to check them out for yourself, this program is for you. All of our trips are led by ACMG-certified guides. We provide the guide to make up the mountain skills and experience that you might be lacking (glacier travel skills, steep snow, scrambling, navigation, use of mountaineering gear) and the hut booking to get you in to one of our most popular facilities. You bring your personal gear and food, your sense of adventure, and your camera. 

This new program is designed to open up our incredible hut network to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to access the more technical huts. Maybe you’ll gain a newfound sense of appreciation for Canada's alpine environment. Maybe you’ll be able to reach places and travel in environments you never thought that you’d visit. Maybe the taste of what’s possible will inspire you to continue your mountaineering journey and acquire the skills to reach these places independently. Either way, our Hut Discovery program will provide a unique and memorable experience.

 

Descending the final section of trail to Lake Oesa.
Photo credit: Sarah Sasges
















Staying in the region longer?

If you're looking for a place to stay before or after this Camp, the ACC welcomes all participants to join them at the Clubhouse. We’re located just outside of Canmore with breath taking views of the surrounding mountains and a cozy kitchen and common area. You can reach us most hours at 1 (403) 678-3200.

Level of Difficulty: Introductory

This program is designed for people who want to experience a stay in an ACC backcountry hut, but don't yet possess the skills in alpine travel required to get there. No previous mountaineering or scrambling experience is necessary. You will require a good basic level of hiking fitness and experience, and be physically able to carry an overnight pack up a steep slope (for between 4 and 7 hours). Be prepared for loose rock, steep slopes, and to potentially need to use your hands for balance.

Details

  • July 6th-7th, 2018
  • July 20th-21st, 2018
  • August 3rd-4th, 2018
  • August 25th-26th, 2018
  • $350 + tax
Register Now (July 6th-7th) Register Now (July 20th-21st) Register Now (Aug 3rd-4th) Register Now (Aug 25th-26th) Gear List

Camp Itinerary (Click to expand)

Day 1:

Meet your group at 8AM in the Lake O’Hara parking lot. Your guide will go over the paperwork, explain your day’s objective, and check everybody’s gear. At 8:30, you’ll load onto the school bus that takes you up the 12km access road to Lake O’Hara. You’ll then hike to Lake Oesa 

After Lake Oesa, the trail steepens. You’ll thread your way through ledges to the start of the approach gully, then work your way up the steep, rocky slope to the hut. Although it’s only a couple of kilometres on the map, this part of the approach can take 3-4 hours, depending on conditions and your group. 

At the hut, your guide will give you the grand tour and review hut etiquette for communal living. You’ll spend the evening preparing and eating the dinner that you’ve brought, and socializing with the other hikers and mountaineers. 

Day 2: 

Photographers, set your alarms to get up early and take advantage of the morning sun on Mt. Victoria! Today is a fairly relaxed day: you’ll prepare and eat your breakfast (and coffee), pack, and prepare for the hike back down. Your guide will coach you on descent techniques and safety (scree, snow, and loose rock).

If time permits, you might be able to add in one of the classic Lake O’Hara hikes on your way back down to the bus shelter (Yukness Ledges or the All Souls’ Prospect).

Once you’re back down at the bus shelter, you will have the option to split off from your group if you still have energy and want to explore the Lake O’Hara area on your own: just make sure you catch the last bus out at 6:30 PM. 

Gear, Food & Lodging

INCLUDED
  • Supervision by a full ACMG alpine guide
  • Hut accommodation
  • Wilderness passes
  • Bus transportation to Lake O'hara
  • All group gear
PARTICIPANTS MUST PROVIDE
  • Food
  • Personal gear (see gear list)

Cancellation policy and travel Insurance

Please be sure to review our cancellation policy before registering for ACC Adventures:
 
Cancellation Policy
We sell Tugo® Travel Insurance suitable for both ACC Adventures and personal trips

Travel Insurance

 Abbot Hut Discovery Gallery


These photographs were kindly taken by participant Jean-Francois Nadeau during our first ever Abbot Hut Discovery trip in July 2018.