Mount Daly
On 27 August 2005, I got off to what I thought was a good early start at 7:39 AM to scramble up Mount Daly (3152 metres) in Yoho National Park.  Having been up Mount Niles the previous year, I knew what was in store for the approach to Niles Meadow.  Or did I?  Much to my embarrassment, I still ended up briefly losing the overgrown trail at the north end of Sherbrooke Lake and had to bushwhack a little to get back on track.  When I finally reached Niles Meadow, I was half hoping to see the tent of Brigitte Greve and Martin Siddles whom I had the pleasure to meet the last time I was here.  Niles Meadow was deserted on this day, so without further ado, I climbed up the good trail leading to the crest of the ridge adjoining the south end of Mount Niles.

Higher up, I was surprised to see four people coming over the ridge crest.  At first, I thought they were scramblers returning from Mount Daly, but upon closer scrutiny, I surmised (I didn't really get a chance to talk to them) that they were hiking out from Scott Duncan Hut.  When I reached the ridge crest, I saw another group of four--also likely hiking out from the hut--heading down the next valley over.  From the ridge crest, I also got my first good look at Mount Daly and the "small pyramid" as described by Alan Kane.  Kane advocates descending into the basin to avoid crossing Niles Glacier, but the thought of having to lose and regain that elevation was unsavoury for me.  Judging by tracks in the snow, I could tell that the people from Scott Duncan Hut had crossed the glacier safely, and it didn't look like there were any crevasses.  I took a calculated risk and decided to cross Niles Glacier.  The crossing was remarkably easy, and I was soon contouring around the "small pyramid" to reach the base of Kane's "cone of tedious rubble".  This slope was steep and horribly loose, and it's a miracle that I even managed to get up it.  In contrast, Kane's so-called crux was laughably easy to ascend, and I was soon climbing up easy rubble and snow on the upper mountain.

After an eternity of plodding, I finally reached the first of two summits described by Kane.  This first summit was buried under a huge snowcap, but I had little trouble getting over it.  I then continued along the somewhat exposed connecting ridge to the second summit which has a cairn and register.  The entire ascent had taken me a whopping 7.5 hours!  However, the summit views were exceptional on this day and more than worthy of the major effort invested.

I left the summit at 4:00 PM and basically retraced my steps all the way back out.  Some cairns and flagging tape made it easy to find and descend the crux.  The "cone of tedious rubble" worked to my advantage on the descent, and a second crossing of Niles Glacier was just as easy as the first time.  I lost a bit of time when I had to backtrack and relocate my sunglasses which I inadvertently dropped somewhere along Sherbrooke Creek.  Otherwise, a long but uneventful hike had me back at the trail head by 9:20 PM--far later than I had anticipated.
Calm before the storm? An unnamed peak and Cathedral Crags are reflected in Sherbrooke Lake.
I didn't find any bras lying around this time! A good trail starts from a big cairn at the right edge of Niles Meadow and eventually heads up to the ridge adjoining Mount Niles.
I wonder if that knife-edge is climbable... This unnamed peak southwest of Mount Niles looks as if its south ridge has been torn out.
It took me well over 3 hours just to get to this spot. The views start to open up high above Niles Meadow.
Decision time... Sonny gets a good look at the "small pyramid" and Mount Daly.
It took me about 20 minutes to cross the glacier. Sonny cautiously crosses Niles Glacier.  He would eventually contour around the right side of the "small pyramid".
Hmm...the Kiwetinok Peak to Mount McArthur traverse looks quite doable now! This is looking west across Niles Glacier to numerous peaks in Little Yoho Valley.
Not fun at all. This is the "cone of tedious rubble" and by far the worst part of the entire ascent.
That glacier probably won't be around for long. This is a more complete view of Mount Niles and Niles Glacier from the slopes of Mount Daly.
Easy stuff, but it's still time-consuming. Sonny climbs up more rubble.
Scott Duncan Hut is somewhere down there at lower left. The summit (S) is still awfully far away.
Wow. The east face of Mount Daly looks even more magnificent from up close.
I wonder if the snow ever disappears from this summit. A huge cornice overhangs the first summit.  The second summit is visible in the distance.
Watch where you step! Sonny makes his way along the connecting ridge between the two summits.
Not a lot of entries in this register since Alan Kane placed it in 1996.  Sonny holds up the register at the north summit.  Click here to see a 360-degree panorama.
What a fabulous view! Mount Balfour and Waputik Icefield dominate the view to the northwest.
Yeah, I could use a bath right about now!  Whew!! The view southeast includes Bath Glacier and all the big peaks in the Lake Louise area.
How the heck am I ever gonna get home?! Sherbrooke Lake is a definite eye-catcher (so are the Goodsir Towers at right on the horizon), but Sonny is more preoccupied with the next rock he will step on during his descent.
Still another hour from the trail head.  Sigh. In this view looking south from the north end of Sherbrooke Lake, the last light of day hits the tops of distant peaks (Mount Victoria and Mount Huber at left).