Late on Saturday night as I was moping about only bagging one new peak on a three day trip, Sonny suggested that those of us who hadn't climbed Mount Field yet should try to get this summit on the way off the Iceline. Once the suggestion came up the group spent the next hour or so trying to decide which option would be best for summiting Mount Field.
Option A was to hike all the out on the Laughing Falls trail and then drive to the Burgess Pass trailhead and hike Mount Field from there. Option B was to hike all the way out to Burgess Pass via the Iceline trail, drop our heavy packs, bag the peak and then walk out on the Burgess Pass trail where Sonny would pick us up. Option C was to hike to Yoho campground, drop the heavy packs, bag Mount Field via the Wapta Highline trail and then come back, pick up the heavy packs and continue down the Iceline. We decided to sleep on it and decide in the morning.
Sunday morning was a beautiful morning so we packed up and quickly headed out over the Iceline Trail to try option 'C' from the night before. It became apparent early on that Dave and I would be the only ones to try for Mount Field so we forged ahead. We almost kept going down the Iceline once the rain started again but since neither of us wanted to be the one to wimp out we trudged on down to the Yoho Lake campground. Once at the campground Dave and I dropped our packs and began the long walk down the Wapta Highline trail to Mount Field.
[The Presidents from the Iceline. I would finally climb both the Vice President (L) and President (R) in 2008.]
[The group hikes out over the Iceline Trail.]
[Hiking out on the Iceline - a spectacular highline traverse above tree line for a lot of the way.]
[Mount Gordon from the Iceline - my first Wapta ski mountaineering objective that I did with Dave in 2006 and repeated again in 2012.]
[Mount Rhondda and Habel from the Iceline.]
[Mount Niles from the Iceline Trail.]
We almost thought the trail from Yoho Lake was closed when we encountered a huge Closure sign, but thankfully it was only referring to a section off the trail further ahead where ancient fossil beds are protected. The funniest thing happened when we caught up to a large group of guided tourists on a very narrow section of the trail. Since we were behind them I guess they didn't really realize how fast we were walking and assumed we would just 'fall in line'. After about 2 minutes I started clearing my throat and sighing really loudly. Then I starting making as many rude noises as I could think of. Finally I asked very politely if we could please pass on the right. Two people kindly let us pass. The next 7 just ignored us. I was getting really impatient now and I think Dave was getting worried about what I would try next so he spoke very loudly and asked if we could please pass the group. Finally we were allowed to pass!
[Dave walks beneath imposing cliffs on the Wapta Highline trail.
After first thinking that Mount Burgess was our destination and then very briefly considering Mount Stephen (!!) we realized that Mount Field was going to be quite a bit easier than the previous two options looked from our vantage! We headed up obvious scree slopes on the west slopes, till we finally reached the skyline ridge and headed toward a line of cliffs up above. As we got closer to the cliffs we spotted a way through and after a brief bit of scrambling we were on the final summit slopes. We summitted in the sun for the first time that weekend and after taking in the view and snapping some photos we headed back down.
[Dave ascends the crux.]
[Dave ascends the final slopes under the summit of Mount Field.]
[Dave on the summit of Mount Field with the impressive summit of Mount Stephen in the background.]
[Panorama from the summit of Mount Field including (L to R), Narao, Cathedral, Stephen, Dennis, Vaux and Hurd. ++]
[Panorama from the summit of Mount Field towards Emerald Lake and Wapta Mountain, including (L to R), Carnarvon, Emerald, President, Vice President, Wapta, Rhondda, Gordon, Balfour, Niles, Daly and Hector among many others. ++]
[Mount Burgess and Walcott from the summit of Field.]
[Mount Stephen's impressive north face from the summit of Mount Field.]
I don't remember much of the long walk back to the Iceline except that it was very long and my feet were getting very sore. Eventually we did make it out to a very patient Sonny. All in all it was a fantastic trip with 3 peaks, 2 nubs, good times and good friends.
[Views off the Wapta Highline Trail towards Carnarvon (C).]