Niblock, Mount (Col)

elevation: 2,800 m. height gain: 1,200 m.
area: Lake Louise,AB map 82 N/8

Ref: Chic Scott's Summits and Icefields.
Approach note: Instead of starting at the Lake O-Hara parking lot, we parked east of the bridge nearest the BC-AB border on the Trans-Canada Highway. We followed the train track to a Continental Divide marker where we veered towards old highway 1A ski trail.

continental divide

At the Continental Divide marker on the old highway 1A.
Ski mountaineering: 5.0 hours up to Mount Niblock Col. With stable snow conditions and great weather, we decided to visit Niblock again. On a previous attempt, we were stormed out; by the time we had reached the glacier, the bitterly cold wind and reduced visibility made going further unsafe... However, not on this trip! Travelling was pleasant on an old uptrack and the temperature was mild. The route quickly reaches the alpine terrain, which is amazing; it reminded us of White Pyramid's ski route. The draw is sheltered and narrow and the upper bowl is glaciated. We were a bit nervous on the upper slopes as we neared the col, that is some big terrain! Once at the col, we attempted Mount Niblock and had to turn around 30 meters from the summit; the ridge was heavily corniced. We returned to the col, had lunch and prepared for a really good ski down. We felt nervous but soon focused on this awesome ski run with boot-top snow. The snow got deeper at treeline offering some excellent turns; we reached the uptrack all too soon!
an old up-track

Following a decent uptrack up the drainage.


At treeline.

upper bowl

The upper bowl and glacier. The col is hidden, climber's left.

further up

Further up into the bowl.

up and across to the col

A bit nervous going up and across to the col...

looking back

Looking back.

summit block

Mount Niblock's summit block.

starting up

We start up.

slight diversion

We went climber's right of this rock outcrop, the summer trail goes left but we couldn't see it.

different feel with snow

There's a different feel when snow plasters the mountain.

wrong way

Ascending steep snow on the wrong side of the rock outcrop.

cresting on the ridge

We crested on the ridge behind Fab, the summer trail goes around the rock outcrop (right bottom).

summit cairn is visible

The summit cairn is visible.



back at the col

Back at the col, looking north-west.

preparing for the ski down

Preparing for a good ski run.

good skiing

Really good skiing it was!

another fine day

Another fine day in the mountains.
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