Top Hat Peak GR:295018

elevation: 2,590 m. height gain: 1,285 m.
area: Field,BC map 82 N/7

From the south-west corner of Emerald Lake parking lot, locate the trailhead to Hamilton Lake. Follow this popular trail to the lake. From there, make your way to the Carnarvon-Top Hat Col; follow the north-west ridge to a short chimney that breaches the summit block.

Leaving the trailhead.
Snowshoe trip: RT 8.25; 4.25 up. We visited Hamilton Lake early season to see if I could snowshoe with my torn ACL and check out Top Hat Peak as a potential outing; it appeared to be a good candidate. With decent conditions in the region, I sent out a few invites to some friends; Raff decided to tag along last minute. Once again, he introduced to us some of his mountaineering friends, Alan & Elizabeth and Marta, which we had just met the week previous. With fresh snow in the alpine, they chose skis for this trip and I would have also! Fabrice accompanied me on snowshoes so we could split from the group on the way down. The lower part of trail was deteriorated with dirt patches but past the canyon, snow coverage increased drastically. At the lake, we had a quick break before continuing. A group ahead climbed towards the Top Hat-Emerald Col, I thought they might be skiing the "Slide Path" back down to Emerald Lake but they ended up traversing to the Carnarvon Col to ski the north side. Alan and Elizabeth proceeded to break trail towards the Carnarvon Col at a blazing pace, I couldn't keep up... Once reunited at the col, Fabrice started up the ridge right away towards the short snow-filled chimney; he kicked good footsteps for us to use. The summit plateau offers a great view in all directions; we sat for a pleasant lunch break enjoying the mountains and the great company. Back down at the col, Alan and Elizabeth went down the north side following the previous group's lead; Raff and Marta decided to come down the way we came and so did we. The first 100 meters seemed like good skiing but that's about it; still, I wish I was side slipping instead of walking!
dirt patches

Dirt patches on the lower trail.

some deadfall

Even some deadfall to negotiate.

crossing a slide path

Crossing a large avalanche path, the snowpack is bomber.

quick break

Quick break just ahead of Hamilton Lake.

sunscreen fab

Fabrice has a new look!

heading to the col

Heading to the Carnarvon-Top Hat Col.


Nice terrain and straightforward ascent.

can't keep up

Having a hard time to keep up...

straggling behind

Straggling behind...

at the col

At the col.

up the ridge

Fabrice doesn't want anybody to wait any longer and heads up the ridge right away.

short distance

Short distance to the summit.

marta at the chimney

Marta at the base of the snow-filled chimney.


And Elizabeth in hot pursuit!


Marta ascending the short chimney.

summit plateau

Alan on the summit plateau with Emerald Peak in the foreground.

summit picture

Summit picture.

heading back

Heading back.

what you sayin'

Raff trying to convince us that his choice of music is better!

down the chimney

Down the chimney; Alan contemplates doing a "canon ball" but settles for a short glissade.

unofficial sweep

We're the unofficial sweep of the trail.
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