ACCVI Lake O’Hara Summer Camp 2022 Information Guide
July 31 — August 8, 2022
Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park is one of the most spectacular and accessible regions in the Canadian Rockies. Both hikers and climbers will find an enormous variety of exhilarating hiking, scrambling and climbing opportunities here, along with the comfort and convenience of staying in the ACC’s Elizabeth Parker Hut. These activities both develop skills and foster camaraderie among ACCVI Section members, within a social, supportive, team-oriented environment. An experience to cherish.
The first night’s accommodation (July 31) at Lake Louise Alpine Centre is a modern hostel with shared accommodation, kitchen facilities, and a café-restaurant (Bill Peyto’s Cafe – open 7:30 AM to 9:30 PM).
During the following week (nights of August 1-7), we have the exclusive use of the Elizabeth Parker Hut, which is a 700 m walk from the bus stop at Lake O’Hara. Please note that on the first day, we don’t get access to the hut until 3 PM, so bring a pre-packed lunch and plan on exploring the area and/or going for a hike until the hut check-in time of 3 PM (see COVID and Sanitation section below).
For sleeping, there are two long levels of foam mattresses in the hut itself, and bunk beds in the adjacent Wiwaxy cabin. We will need to decide who sleeps where, bearing in mind individuals’ physical needs and limitations. Snoring can also be a problem, and may require some flexibility on everyone’s part.
For cooking, there is a well-equipped kitchen with a propane gas stove with oven, additional countertop burners, pots, pans, dishes and cutlery. Gas lamps provide light in the evening. Two outhouses are a short distance from the hut. There is no running water – water is obtained from the nearby stream and must be boiled before consumption. This is a communal activity, and everyone is encouraged to pitch in to draw and boil the water as required. There is also no refrigeration in the hut, and it is not allowed to put food outside or in the creek to cool it. There are wood stoves for warmth and drying gear, and an ample supply of firewood.
You’ll need to arrange your own transportation to the Lake Louise Alpine Centre hostel but we’ll do our best to arrange for car-pooling well in advance. Most people will probably reserve and catch the 7 AM ferry on Sunday and drive up to Lake Louise in one go. Remember the time change, as we lose an hour going east.
On Monday morning you will need to make your way up to the Lake O’Hara parking lot (14 km west of Lake Louise). Bus transportation (cost included) has been arranged from the parking lot to the Le Relais day shelter at Lake O’Hara. We will plan to reserve some spaces on the 8:30 AM bus trip and some on the 10:30 AM trip.
Allow 45-60 minutes to drive the 15 km from Lake Louise to the Lake O’Hara parking lot, find a parking space and get your bags to the bus; you will need to be there 20-30 minutes before it leaves. The gear limit is one backpack and one duffel bag per person; this will include all your gear and food. No coolers or chairs are permitted on the bus. The bus takes about 20 minutes to get from the parking lot to Le Relais station at Lake O’Hara.
On the following Monday morning, we’ll take the bus back to the parking lot and return home. No reservations are necessary for the trip down.
You will need to purchase a National Parks vehicle pass for your car while in Yoho Park. They are not cheap: $145.25 for a family group annual Discovery Pass (up to seven people arriving in a single vehicle). It can work to share the cost among the travellers and then share the pass on trips during the next year. You can buy the pass at a National Parks entry booth or on-line.
You will need to take care of your own breakfasts, lunches, snacks and beverages.
For dinners, participants will be organized into seven cooking teams, each providing one evening meal for the entire group. The meal should include appetizers, main course and dessert, and be designed to accommodate our vegetarian participants. It works well to have a pasta/rice dish, a substantial vegetarian sauce, and a separate meat side sauce/dish. The cooking group cleans up after the meal and disposes of garbage/refuse/compost the next morning.
Cooking for the group provides flexibility for all members to make the most of every day, with the exception of a single cooking evening, and provides the opportunity for all members to creatively consider and contribute to others’ pleasure and dietary needs. This is part of the social interaction and team effort of these camps.
People with extreme allergies or food sensitivities may bring supplemental food of their own while participating in the communal meals to the degree possible (most allergies and sensitivities will be addressed in the camp planning process).
There is no refrigeration at the hut, and all food must be stored indoors (cupboards are provided) so well-keeping and/or dried foodstuffs are a necessity. Please also note that there are no food/grocery outlets at Lake O’Hara, although the Le Relais day shelter by the bus station sells coffee, tea and snacks.
Of course, it is not required for cooking groups to provide wine with the meal, although some do! In general you are responsible for your own beverages, alcoholic or otherwise.
General Camp Procedures and Miscellaneous
- Daily routine. Each day, groups assemble for different trips based on recreational interest. Each group signs out in a log book and takes an FRS two-way radio. Each evening, people come together to share a meal, tell stories of the day and relax before retiring.
- You will need to sign an ACC waiver to come on the camp. A copy is available on our Section’s website here. Please read it carefully beforehand and be prepared to sign it at the Lake Louise Alpine Centre Hostel.
- Sign-out sheets. We’ll provide sign-out sheets so there is a record of where everyone is going for the day. When you return, be sure to note that on the sheet.
- We provide radios so each group has a way of communicating. Every two hours on the even hours we’ll have a radio check-in.
- First aid. A club-supplied first aid kit will be taken to the hut, but you should bring your own small first aid kit with the basic essentials.
- Excellent maps of Lake O’Hara are available from Gem Trek (or MEC). See here.
- Ear plugs. Inevitably some of your fellow campers will be snorers, so it is highly advisable to bring ear plugs to help you get a sound night’s sleep.
- Club-provided materials. Along with the first aid kit, we will provide toilet paper, hand sanitizer, matches, batteries for the smoke detector, and garbage bags. But please bring at least one roll of toilet paper yourself in case of an unexpected shortage!
- There is (or at least was) a guitar at the Elizabeth Parker Hut. No electronic musical devices, please!
- There is a pay phone at the Le Relais shelter. In case of emergency, call 911 or 403-762-4506 or 1-888-762-1422 (24/7 priority lines). In the case of a severe event (e.g., death) at home, the Dispatch Centre non-emergency line is 403-762-1470.
- You will need a sleeping bag for the EP Hut, but not for the Lake Louise Alpine Centre Hostel, where sheets are provided and sleeping bags are not allowed.
- For scrambles (Yukness, Shaeffer, Walter Feuz) you will need to wear a helmet.
- For climbs and glacier travel, ropes, helmets, crampons, ice axes, and a harness will be required. As for ropes, we will bring one or two to the hut but you are invited to provide your own if you have one.
- Some Section equipment (helmets, ice axes – see https://www.accvi.ca/index.php/gear-rental) is available for rental from Mike Hubbard (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please contact Mike to arrange rentals.
COVID and Sanitation
From our ACC contract for the EP hut: ACC is adhering to strict check-in and check-out times. Please do not enter the hut while there are other guests in it. Departing guests must clean and sanitize the facility, remove all personal belongings, and check-out before 11:00 AM. Arriving guests should plan to arrive no earlier than 3:00 PM and sanitize the facility upon arrival. These steps will help prevent the potential spread of the COVID virus and ensure there is minimal (or no) interaction between outgoing and incoming guests.
So participants should plan on bringing a packed lunch on Day 1 and exploring the surroundings or taking a hike until 3 PM, then helping with the sanitation.
Detailed sanitation procedures are in effect as detailed in the document Hut Cleaning and Sanitation Guidelines. Please read the procedures before leaving for the camp and be prepared to follow the steps outlined and assist in the work involved.
We will follow the COVID guidelines below:
- All participants must be vaccinated, with at least two doses, or have valid proof of exemption. This must be demonstrated before applicants can be fully registered. See the Registration and Cost section below on verifying vaccination.
- Masking is not currently mandatory, and is a personal choice. You are invited to wear a mask at any time if it would increase your comfort level.
Hand sanitizer will be provided at the outhouses.
We won’t know in advance what the public health situation will be when the camp is scheduled to begin. Earlier this spring, the number of occupants of the EP hut was restricted to 15, though that limit has recently been increased to its previous limit of 24 (as of March 28). Still, numbers could possibly be reduced at any time, particularly if there is another major wave. If this happens, reduction of the number of registrants may be necessary, and we would need to rearrange cooking groups, transport, and arrangements for the first night at Lake Louise Alpine Centre. There would also be some financial implications here, of course, depending on whether ACC changes the hut nightly rate, and members may be asked for additional payment reflecting the changes. We would aim to handle this as fairly as possible. Let’s hope that this situation doesn’t arise, but please be aware that it might.
Registration and Cost
Initial registration is limited to ACCVI members in good standing. The cost for the camp is $450. This fee is due, in full, at the time of registration, which is on a first-come, first-served basis.
To reserve your space:
- Contact Cedric Zala (email@example.com) to check whether there is space available.
- Fill out and save the registration form and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with proof of vaccination (your BC Vaccine Passport QR code). Alternatively, print the form, fill it out and either scan it, or mail as below with your payment.
- Pay the fee. Electronic transfer can be made to email@example.com or cheques may be made out to ‘Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Island Section’ and mailed to Cedric Zala, 7776 Trentelmann Place, Saanichton, BC V8M 1K9. Please include a brief message that the e-transfer is for the “EP Hut Camp”.
When your registration form, confirmation of vaccination, and payment are received, Cedric will contact you.
Once all the camp spaces have been filled, you’ll have the option of being put on a waitlist in case a space becomes available.
We will hold a planning meeting in early July, at which cooking groups and travel groups will be finalized, and you’ll have a chance to ask questions and meet your fellow campers.
If there are still spaces available a few weeks before the camp, registration will be opened to non-local ACC members. Non-local members are welcome to send their registration forms but NO FEE until registration can be confirmed.
In the event you have to withdraw, ACCVI will assist in advertising your place, however, a refund should be expected only when a replacement is confirmed.
Participants under 19 years of age will need an accompanying parent or guardian.
For inquiries or more information about the summer camp, please contact Cedric Zala.
Objectives from Elizabeth Parker Hut
Some hiking options are:
- Opabin Plateau
- Lake Oesa
- Lake MacArthur
- All Souls, Yukness and Huber Ledges
- Odaray Lookout
- Cathedral Lookout
- Yukness Mountain
- Walter Feuz Peak
- Mt Schaeffer
- Abbot Pass (note that the hut is, sadly, being removed due to erosion)
Climbing opportunities include:
- Grassi Ridge
- Mt Victoria
- Mt Huber
- Mt Lefroy
- Glacier Peak
- Ringrose Peak
- Mt Odaray
Pre- and Post-Camp Opportunities (Self-Arranged)
- Iceline Trail. Spectacular hike from Whiskey Jack Hostel with an option to visit the ACC’s Stanley Mitchell Hut.
- Burgess Shale ($120 pp guided hike only: see http://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/guided-hikes/walcott-quarry).
- Saddleback/Mt. Fairview. Five-hour 1050-m hike from Lake Louise, with great views of Mt. Temple and Paradise Valley.
- Mt. Temple. A long, demanding 1690-m scramble requiring a group minimum of four people (for grizzly bear protection).
Documents and Forms
Hut Cleaning and Sanitation Guidelines
ACCVI Lake O’Hara Registration Form