Tuesday, September 22, 2015

CR2015: Wiwaxy Gap and Huber Ledges

As Joan and I started out on July 27th there were occasional peeks by the sun, but the foliage was still wet.

Today we headed for Wiwaxy Gap, a relentless climb that offers spectacular views and the Huber Ledges traverse to Lake Oesa. Few choose to go down from Wiwaxy; Joan and I have done it once, and are in no hurry to do it again.

After just a few minutes, we spied a gentleman enjoying the scenery from his cabin porch.
Lake O'Hara opens up early on this route. Click to enlarge this photo, and you'll see the Lake Oesa trail winding through the rock pile just left of the lake.

Early on the route climbs a gully via switchbacks, then moves through trees, including a grand specimen we call "grandfather tree." Then it crosses several rock faces.
The weather became chilly and overcast, but the assault on Wiwaxy warms you up fast. The Lake Oesa basin and chain of lakes come into view as your altitude rises.
Here I have zoomed in on Sleeping Poet's Pool, across the valley above the Yukness Ledges. It is our one must-do for this visit. We had hoped to get there last year, but events intervened.
At Wiwaxy Gap, the panorama stretches from Lake Oesa to McArthur Pass. Note the low clouds ...

At Wiwaxy Peak the clouds are rolling up the mountainside. It's not windy, which is highly unusual for the pass, but chilly, and the low ceiling gives it an eerie feeling.

Shortly before reaching the gap we caught up to and met Vlad, who was at Lake O'Hara for the first time. He's been in Vancouver for eight years, but is originally Russian from Riga, Latvia. Vlad loves the mountains but his family doesn't, so he was here by himself, having arrived for the day on the park bus. He was stopping frequently and taking many, many photos.

This panorama is taken from halfway along the Huber Ledges,
stretching from Lake Oesa at left, past the Yukness Ledges, Opabin Prospect, Lake O'Hara, McArthur Pass, and Wiwaxy Peak on the right. The small figure in front of Wiwaxy Peak is Vlad; he fell behind and then caught up to us several times along the way.

The weather continued cold and misty. Even up here the spring blooms were enjoying the damp week.
Joan and I lunched on the shores of Lake Oesa again, while Vlad continued on, calculating with some assistance from us that he could walk the Yukness Ledges and still be in time for the bus back down. He wasn't truly worried, as he said, "It's downhill all the way." We anticipated walking the Ledges tomorrow, and decided to return to our cabin via the Oesa trail.

At one of the smaller lakes below Oesa we saw an American Dipper and a couple of her babies. By the time I pulled my camera out they had paddled on.

Here, Joan poses for me on the Grassi Steps,
built by Lawrence Grassi.
In truth we were headed down the steps, but I thought up would look best for the photo.

I love this next image, which I took along the Oesa trail with zoom. Hikers on the Yukness Ledges stand in front of Mount Yukness. Note the light coating of snow at the higher altitude. Joan and I were caught in a shower down at Lake O'Hara before reaching our cabin, but not as wet as the day before.
After dinner the weather and lighting were begging us to take another stroll.
Mists lingered above.
Our traveling pigs, Knuckles and Pierre, were waiting for us at the cabin.
Tomorrow, tomorrow. Would we make it to Sleeping Poet's Pool?