Mount Niles

August 9, 2013

2972m

Yoho National Park, BC

Mount Niles is one of the scenic, but straightforward scrambles in Kane’s list. Rod and I did it as a side trip from our major objective, Mount Daly’s ascent. On our way up Mount Daly, we discovered a “new route” that can shave off extra elevation loss if we’d want to combine Daly and Niles in one day. Instead of contouring around the mountain to its southwest side, we’d attack it directly from its southeast base. This is a critical point on the way to Daly and if we could ascend Niles from this point then we’d minimize the elevation loss and regain.

Mt. Daly and Mt. Niles scramble route

Mt. Daly and Mt. Niles scramble route

That was the plan if we’d have enough energy and weather could hold. We were both very tired after coming back from Daly but considering the long approach to get here we decided to push it on. This route isn’t obvious from the Niles Meadows below so few people had gone up it, however, it’s relatively straightforward and mostly an easy scramble. We planned to return the same way so we ditched our backpacks so speed things up. From it’s southeastern corner we ascended a gully to gain its SE ridge. The ridge couldn’t be followed so we dropped a bit down the other side and then side-hilled towards its broad SW ridge resisting losing too much elevation. And once we were on the SW ridge, we’d joined the Kane’s route and followed a beaten path steeply to its summit. The elevation gain was more than expected, but the views were also better than expected. This is a better viewpoint of Waputik Icefield than the higher Mount Daly.

Mount Niles seen from its SE corner.

Mount Niles seen from its SE corner.

The initial part goes up this gully. Easy to moderate scrambling

The initial part goes up this gully. Easy to moderate scrambling

We ditched our backpacks

We ditched our backpacks

Looking down at Rod coming up this gully

Looking down at Rod coming up this gully

After the gully, it's straightforward

After the gully, it’s straightforward

Looking back at interesting pinnacles on the SE Ridge

Looking back at interesting pinnacles on the SE Ridge

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

Summit Panorama. Click to view large size.

The familiar Lake Louise giants

The familiar Lake Louise giants

Looking deeply into BC over Wapta Mountain

Looking deeply into BC over Wapta Mountain

Carnarvon and Presidents

Carnarvon and Presidents

Goodsirs rise behind Mount Stephen

Goodsirs rise behind Mount Stephen

Mount Balfour

Mount Balfour

Waputik Icefield

Waputik Icefield

There's a big cornice on the summit, obscuring the views

There’s a big cornice on the summit, obscuring the views

This unnamed tarn drains Takakkaw Falls

This unnamed tarn drains Takakkaw Falls

The icefield

The icefield

The scramble route up Daly goes up this obvious scree cone.

The scramble route up Daly goes up this obvious scree cone.

The distant giants, Douglas and St. Bride

The distant giants, Douglas and St. Bride

Another panorama. Click to view large size.

Another panorama. Click to view large size.

One more panorama.

One more panorama.

Sherbrook Lake with some familiar 11,000ers behind

Sherbrook Lake with some familiar 11,000ers behind

Cathedral Mountain

Cathedral Mountain

I waited for maybe 15-20 minutes on the summit before the cold wind forced me descending. I passed Rod on his way up shortly after starting the descent. We regrouped together somewhere on the SW ridge before retracing back to our backpacks. The return was bloody long given our tiredness.. What I could remember was the trail keeping going on forever, and once around Sherbrook Lake, we still had a ton of elevation to lose. That was hard on my knees. It was tired, but not exhausting. Our round trip time was 15.5 hours.

Panorama from the descent

Panorama from the descent

There were some snow patches offering easy travelling

There were some snow patches offering easy travelling

Rod coming back through the notch

Rod coming back through the notch

Beautiful afternoon!

Beautiful afternoon!

A long shot of Mount Daly

A long shot of Mount Daly

Looking back at Mount Niles

Looking back at Mount Niles

This little "peak" is called the Pyramid in Kane's book

This little “peak” is called the Pyramid in Kane’s book

A beautiful alpine tarn, with an unnamed peak behind

A beautiful alpine tarn, with an unnamed peak behind

One of the many beautiful shots

One of the many beautiful shots

Looking back at the slope we just descended

Looking back at the slope we just descended

Rod, with Mount Niles behind

Rod, with Mount Niles behind

Victoria and Huber

Victoria and Huber

Mount Niles

Mount Niles

Another photo from above treeline

Another photo from above treeline

Back to Niles Meadows

Back to Niles Meadows

Niles Meadows

Niles Meadows

Looking back towards Mount Niles again

Looking back towards Mount Niles again

Sherbrook Lake

Sherbrook Lake

Victoria and Huber and their reflections in Sherbrook Lake

Victoria and Huber and their reflections in Sherbrook Lake

One last shot of Sherbrook Lake

One last shot of Sherbrook Lake

Overall, I’d recommend doing Daly and Niles as a 2-day trip. There’s a lovely bivy spot at just above treeline and I wished I’d spent a night up there. For Mount Niles itself, it should be on every scrambler’s “list”, given how easy and yet how scenic it is.

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