Yukness, Mount

Summit Elevation (m): 2847
Trip Date: Saturday, September 30, 2006
Elevation Gain (m): 1100
Round Trip Time (hrs): 7.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 13
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes
: Mostly hiking and easy scrambling with some very loose terrain and minor exposure along the summit ridge. Only attempt if dry.
Technical Rating: SC5; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Gaia
Map: Google Maps

On Saturday, September 30 2006, Sonny, Wietse and I hooked up to scramble Mount Yukness in Yoho National Park. The timing was impeccable. Not only was the weather absolutely fantastic and the larches out in fall glory but it also just happened to be the very last day of the season that the bus was going to leave late enough (18:30) for us to use it! We also timed our arrival at the parking lot perfectly because we actually managed to get on an 08:30 bus.

Mount Yukness Route Map

After the 20 minute bus ride (best 15 bucks I’ve spent in a while!) we arrived at the busy environs of the Lake O’Hare region. I was kind of surprised / disappointed by the amount of development but my disappointment soon vanished once we started up the West Opabin trail. For the rest of the day the views only got better with each step to the summit. The scrambling was fantastic on this little mountain. From easy trails to more difficult near the summit it was a good mix and thoroughly enjoyable.

Gorgeous terrain and fall colors as we hike the Opabin Plateau with Biddle looming above at center.
Hungabee Lake with Cathedral, Wiwaxy and Huber (L to R).

We were a bit surprised with how well the trail was marked – there were more cairns on this trail than I think I’ve ever seen! We had no route finding issues at all until we were less than 100 vertical meters from the summit. We actually traversed too far under the summit ridge. Basically once you run out of cairns, backtrack until you get to a cairn and then go up from there! About half way up that gully, look to your right and traverse one gully to climber’s right – again you should be following cairns. If you don’t traverse right you will encounter some difficult and exposed climbing and if you’re like Sonny you’ll knock rocks on your partner! Sonny and Wietse took the hard route while I happily took the ‘right’ one (pun intended).

Once at the summit we were treated to some unbelievable views. Included in our summit panorama were Huber, Victoria, Lefroy, Glacier, Ringrose, Biddle, the Goodsir Towers, Odaray, Stephen, Cathedral Mountain and Crags, Niles, Balfour and many more.

Summit panorama including (L to R), Odaray, Stephen, Cathedral, Wiwaxy, Huber, Victoria, Lefroy.
Summit pano of Biddle and Schaffer (C) with Little and Big Odaray on the right.
Huber, Victoria, Lefroy, Glacier rise many thousands of feet over Lake Oesa.
The Abbott Pass ACC hut sits under Mount Victoria’s ridge.

Since the scrambling was so much fun and we had so much time left until our bus ride back, we decided to bag every high point on the whole mountain. We went back down from the summit and traversed over to the col. On the way we bagged a nice ‘nub’ – actually pictured in Kane’s route description. From the col we went back up to the Southwest summit and enjoyed the same views as before from a slightly different point of view.

Looking over the Opabin Plateau as we traverse the summits. Schaffer at mid center above All Souls Prospect.

We had no issues on the descent and enjoyed more breaks than I’ve had in a while on a scramble. We even saw some majestic Mountain Goats up close near the edge of the Opabin Plateau which was another first for me.

The hike back to Lake O’Hara along the Opabin Plateau.
A beautiful Mount Goat near Lake O’Hara.

A very enjoyable and relaxing day out with lots of time for discussions and pictures. This is a highly recommended outing.

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