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Yoho-Waputik Icefield

Yoho-Waputik Icefield. The Guidebook describes inadequately the southern portion of the Yoho-Waputik group containing the approaches to and routes on Mts. Niles and Daly.

Trail to Sherbrooke Lake starts from the highway immediately W. of the Wapta bungalow camp, the lake being reached easily in one hour. Mts. Niles and Daly are then in view to the N., while Cathedral Crags and Mt. Stephen rise to the S.W. across the valley of the Kicking Horse. The lake is skirted on the E. The trail enters forest and rises abruptly along the edge of Sherbrooke Creek to the open plateau in which the main stream is joined by its E. branch, Niles Creek. Near this point Christian Hasler was attacked by a grizzly in 1939, and elk are often seen here. Niles Creek is crossed by a small log bridge, and the trail continues across willow-flats to the N.W. corner, where a green glade marks the site of the A.C.C. camp of 1911.

An excellent new graded trail (1938) continues beyond, following the E. side of Sherbrooke Creek and rising steeply for 1000 ft. to campsite at timberline, one mile S. of the col between Mt. Niles and an unnamed summit immediately W. This unnamed point (8700 ft.) is just E. of Yoho E. station (8368 ft.) and forms part of the S. retaining wall of Daly Glacier. S. of the unnamed peak there is a gap in the ridge extending S. to Mt. Ogden, through which the trail may later be extended to drop down to Yoho River opposite the bungalow camp. This gap is the route by which big game coming from the Blaeberry and Little Yoho reach Sherbrooke Creek.

S. of this gap, the rock summit (8850 ft.) two miles N. of Mt. Ogden is the point ascended by Fraser and E. Feuz, Jr., in 1934. The tremendous eastern slabs of this escarpment are noteworthy.

About 100 yards S. of the campsite is a platform cut out of the timber at the edge of a cliff. From here one can look down Sherbrooke Creek and through the valley of Cataract Brook to the Lake Louise peaks, the Victoria N. Peak and Mt. Huber being particularly impressive.

The col (8300 ft.), which should be called Sherbrooke Pass, W. of Mt. Niles and leading over to Daly Glacier, is reached in one hour from the Sherbrooke campsite, and Mt. Niles ascended in two hours more. The same route is attained, but less readily, from Yoho Valley, by crossing the river at Takakkaw Falls and ascending the buttress immediately S. to gain the Daly Glacier. This col is also a direct route to Mt. Balfour, Daly Glacier being crossed to the Waputik field and the S.E. snow ridge.

The Niles-Daly col (Niles Pass: 8700 ft.), E. of Mt. Niles, connects Niles Glacier with Daly Glacier and offers the most direct route to Mt. Daly (four hrs.), also attainable at this point by the longer Yoho approach. From the Sherbrooke campsite, graded trail rises for several hundred ft. to open scree on which one contours around the S. base of Mt. Niles to Niles Glacier and the pass. This is also the most direct route to Mt. Lilliput, although it was not followed in the original ascent (1940). There is nothing exciting in the Daly “grind” except the cornices, which grandly overhang Bath Glacier, and the view down Bow Valley to Banff. The traverse of Mt. Daly from the highest point over its N. ridge, however, is of considerable length and difficulty; it does not appear to have been repeated since it was made (1904?) by Miss Benham and G. Feuz.

Mts. Niles and Daly are nevertheless magnificent viewpoints, particularly of the Purcells N. of the Bugaboo summits and of the Purcells from the Battle group to Mt. Sir Sandford. We have not seen elsewhere recorded that Emerald Lake is visible from Mt. Niles, being seen through Yoho Pass.

J. M. Thorington