After summiting Mount Daly the day before, we were up at 07:00 and ready for an easier day on Mount Niles. We got what we wanted. Mount Niles is a much shorter and simpler scramble than Daly is. There's no glacier, no cliff bands and really no route finding if you stick to the trail / cairns. We ascended the same drainage as the day before and got to the upper meadow. From there we descended slightly to climber's left and made for the pinnacle, following cairns through the boulder field.
[Nice sunrise reflecting in a small creek in the Niles Meadows.]
[A much 'moodier' day than yesterday, but still nice as we gain the col above Niles Meadows.]
[Looking back at our approach from the upper meadow.]
[Back on rock near the col.]
[Getting up to the col, the impressive unnamed ridge catching a nice angle of morning sunshine.]
Once at the col we admired the much different views than we had the previous day - today it was cool and cloudy compared to sunny and warm the day before. The views were still very good - even more dramatic with the different lighting. I took Kane too literally and thought by 'back side' he meant the glacier side of the pinnacle. He doesn't. Just follow the ridge up and around the pinnacle on climber's right, you should be on a marked trail almost the entire time. We went around to the left on the way up, which worked but was very steep and loose. The scrambling up from the col was fun and fast and within an hour we were on the summit. 2 hours from the bivy - not bad considering Daly took over 4!
[Above the col and ascending the south face of Niles. Takkakkaw Tarn below.]
[The Presidents with Kiwetinok Peak in the distance at right.]
[Great early morning views over Sherbrooke Lake towards Yoho and Lake Louise.]
[God rays hit Sherbrooke Lake with Victoria, Huber, Biddle and Cathedral (L to R) rising in the background.]
[My legs get tired looking at the long summit ridge of Mount Daly that we were on the day before! ;)]
[Great views over Takkakkaw Tarn include (L to R) Carnarvon, Presidents, Kiwetinok, Pollinger, McArthur, Isolated, Whaleback, Arete, Des Poilus, Yoho Peak.]
[Looking over the shoulder of Paget towards Temple, Haddo, Aberdeen, Narao, Lefroy, Victoria, Huber and Biddle (L to R).]
[Nice summit panorama with Balfour at center and Daly at far right. ++]
[Carnarvon, Presidents, Kiwetinok and McArthur.]
[Dramatic evidence of the melting Wapta Glaciers with Balfour in the bg.]
[Emerald Lake shows up with Wapta and Field to the left and Carnarvon on the right.]
[Rod and Vern on the summit of Mount Niles.]
[Dramatic lighting on the Presidents.]
The descent was even quicker. We went exploring a bit on the descent from the upper meadow. Instead of going down on skier's left we went around to skier's right and then found a way through the cliffs on the west side of Niles Meadow. It was a good little deviation from the route. I would even suggest going up this way - it's fun and the terrain is only moderate.
[Rod descends the loose, blocky terrain to the col.]
[A view north from the col. ++]
[A marmot skull we found on descent.]
[Interesting views from our alternate descent route - on ascent we went up the valley here from right to left.]
[Looking back from the exit out of Niles Meadows at Mount Niles.]
The walk back out to the parking lot with full packs was long but uneventful. We felt really good about getting Niles and Daly in such beautiful fall weather with great conditions and good companionship. Both these peaks are highly recommended, but I would suggest doing them together with a bivy if possible.
[The hike out.]
[Sherbrooke Lake with Cathedral Mountain looming off in the distance.]
[Cathedral Mountain with fall meadows in the fg.]
[Back in the forest to the parking lot.]