Mt. Niblock

Climbed: July 27, 1998.
Elevation: 2976m = 9,763'
Elev. gain: 1260m = 4,130'
Ascent time:4.5 hours
Descent time:3.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate scrambling.
Location: Banff NP
Trail head: Lake Louise
Topo map: 82 N/8 Lake Louise

Mt. Niblock
Follow the well graded trail to Lake Agnes and continue on along the rightshore until you reach the end of the lake where you get your first glimpse ofthe arduous ascent route. Expect to take one hour to here. Make your way tothe lower talus slope and ascend to the first rock band. A gully gives youaccess to the slopes above. Note the small trickle of water at this point ofthe day. Once above the gully, a brief stint of scrambling up a bare hard slopeprovides some tense moments.

This photo was taken from the summit of Mt. St. Piran (2649m/8,691')which I ascended on July 30, 1998.

above 1st rockbandTrudge over the boulder field to reach the first bench. From here, it's mostlyscrambling to get to the col. On a hot summer day, you might be tempted to takethe extra time to get over to some shade provided along the steep wall.

Upper slopesThese upper slopes look quite daunting from Lake Agnes but aren't too bad exceptfor the loose scree sitting on the deteriorating rock bands. There seems to beseveral lines to choose from; it would be wise to avoid taking the same line asanyone ahead of you due to all the loose debris. If you decide to ascend on theright side, you will reach a rock band which you must scramble over. However,any fun you may have had there is replaced by extremely loose scree just beforethe col. Keeping close to the west face may provide you a more stable ascent.About four hours from the trail head, I reached the Niblock/Whyte Col (the "flat"ridge on the left side of the picture).

summit cairnFinally, some fun to be had on the final section! I proceeded up the right sideof the buttress (the left side is also possible although there might be more snow).The route is fairly obvious but some moderate scrambling is involved, especiallyat one point where you may encounter some exposure. I considered thissection to be the most enjoyable part of the climb and you soon see the summit cairn.I reached the summit about 20 min after the col.

CK on summitThe views ofMt. Temple, Mt. Victoria and the entire Lake Louise chain are spectacular.

Lake LouiseAfter more than an hour at the summit, I descended to the col using the left side (fromthe col) of the buttress. The descent from the col to the slopes above thelowermost rock band never seemed to end, so much loose debris and one short slipof 5-6 feet. I reached the aforementioned slope about 1h40m from the col. Thedescent through the gully was complicated by the now increased flow of water --a slip here might be fatal. Another hour or so gets you back to the Lake Agnestrail. You can have a lemonade victory drink at the tea house. I would haveliked to have spent more time on the col, perhaps taking a look at the Mt. Whyteroute but I was running out of time by the time I got to the col (3 pm) on thedescent. I would classify this scramble as the most difficult I have done to date.

On the day I did this, two other people also did the ascent.

Back to my scrambles/hikes history.

©1998 All images by Craig Knelsen. All rights reserved.

Created: Nov 16, 2002.