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abbot pass hut

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Pompton Plains, New...
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abbot pass hut

I'm going to be camping in Lake O'hara. Is a day trip to Abbot Pass hut & back doable or biting off more than can be chewed? I'm fit, but not an experienced hiker.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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17,727 posts
107 reviews
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1. Re: abbot pass hut

Will you be alone, or hiking with a companion?

I think your question was probably as best answered as it can be here on TripAdvisor in your other thread about Abbott Pass - some of us are avid hikers, but Abbot Pass is considered closer to a scramble than a hike. I have been hiking in the Rockies for 32 years and consider myself an experienced hiker, but have never gone to Abbot Pass, so I can't give you a first-hand account.

Have a look at the topo map link I provided to get a sense of the steepness of the route up to the pass. A helmet is recommended, due to the danger of rockfall. (A hiker was killed by falling rocks on the approach to the pass a couple of years ago.)

I would suggest googling up some photos or trip reports of the route, and you might also try www.clubtread.com , which is a hiking, scrambling and climbing forum. Here are some threads about the approach to Abbot Pass from there (you can read without registering):

www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp…

www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp… ... and this one may be the most useful of all, with a trip report and lots of photos:

www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp…

Here is the ACC page for the hut: www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/abbot.html

This page has detailed information on the approach:

alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/info/AbbotPas…

and suggests the route is for "advanced hikers only", and says it's 4 to 5 hours from Lake O'Hara (one way) but "prepare to allow for more time if need be". Further on, they say the approach can take 3 to 7 hours. There is a photo as well that will give you an idea of the steepness of the scree slopes on the way up to the pass. I generally find downhill times for hikes to be about 1/2 to 2/3 of uphill times, but a long, steep scree slope would be a different situation, since you have to be very careful about footing. (Less steep, fine scree can be a lot of fun, since you can "boot ski" down.)

Finally, here is a you-tube video -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbPwhwj-Ijo The part where the woman is on her way down and tentatively walking in the scree with it slipping beneath her will give you some idea of what to expect. Scree is not fun hiking!

How are you with exposure? On your way up to the pass in the gully, you will be facing the mountain (plus you'll be working really hard) so you won't get much of a sense of exposure but coming down will be a whole different experience, facing out with the steep slope falling away in front of you. Although the views may be glorious, it can be really unnerving, even when you footing is secure, and more so if it isn't, and when you are already quite tired.

I hope this helps, and that you'll come back here to the forums after your trip and let us know how it went!

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: abbot pass hut

Hi Doug,

We have done the hike up to Abbott Pass but only one way. We spent the night up at the hut, which I highly recommend. The trip up is not so long for a very fit person, but it's a real scramble and the way down demands the same, if not more, concentration and fitness to avoid sliding down the scree field and injuring yourself so much that you cannot make the rest of the hike out.

We did not have rock climbing helmets with us and we were regretting that the whole time. A rewarding climb, but very unstable footing at the end.

Bug Light

Edmonton, Canada
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5,850 posts
74 reviews
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3. Re: abbot pass hut

If "not an experienced hiker", forget it. You need second-nature stability on scree.

4. Re: abbot pass hut

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