Summit Elevation (m): 2972
Elevation Gain (m): 1350
Trip Time (hr): 10
Total Trip Distance (km): 23
Quick ‘n Dirty Rating: Class 2/3 – you fall, you sprain or break something
Difficulty Notes: There are no major difficulties with this moderate scramble. Loose rock and some exposure as usual in the Rockies along with a fairly lengthy approach.
Technical Rating: SC6; YDS (3rd)
GPS Track: Download
Map: Google Maps
After ascending 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.
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!
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.
The walk back out to the parking lot with over night 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.