OverviewMount Carnarvon is located in Yoho National Park, one of four connecting national parks making up the central Canadian Rockies. It is part of the President Range positioned north of Emerald Lake. You do pass a much smaller but just as scenic lake on approach named Hamilton Lake. Mount Carnarvon was named after the 4th “Earl of Carnarvon” and was first ascended in 1904 by a topographical survey team.
Mount Carnarvon offers better quality rock on its ridge than most Yoho scrambles. Its pyramid shape dominates the skyline when viewed from the TransCanada. It still has remnants of a glacier on its northeast face and summit. It is 11kms northwest of Field, 4kms southwest of the President and Vice President and 4.75kms northwest of Emerald Lake (as the crow flies that is).
The only published route on Mount Carnarvon is the scramble mentioned in “Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies”. The final 400’+/- is considered difficult scrambling. The views are expansive including Mount Marpole (photo) just 3kms to the northeast, the President, Vice President and Emerald Glacier beyond Marpole, Mount Burgess across the lake and Mount Stephen across the TransCanada.
Getting ThereThe Trans-Canada Highway runs from Calgary through Banff and Yoho National Parks on its way to Vancouver. Pass through Lake Louise heading westbound and continue on the Trans-Canada on its way to Field, BC. After you pass Field, turn right onto the road leading to Emerald Lake. Park at the lake and access the Hamilton Lake Trailhead.
Field is a town of approximately 300 people located in the Kicking Horse River valley of southeastern British Columbia in the confines of Yoho National Park. Field was established during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway as a locomotive depot for pusher engines required to help trains over the nearby Field Hill and Big Hill. Field is 27 km west of Lake Louise along the Trans-Canada Highway, the only access to Field. The visitor centre for Yoho National Park is located in Field.
Red TapeYou will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter Banff National Park coming from the east on the Trans-Canada. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Yoho National Park, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry versus the town campsites. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. Yoho National Park headquarters are located in Field, BC and you will drive through the manned national park kiosks as you enter Banff National Park on the Trans-Canada.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. I advise checking with Parks Canada for any area and/or trail closures.
I highly recommend eating at Truffle Pigs in Field. It is quite the experience in dining and you will not be disappointed. We always make the effort to dine there when we are in the area. They also sell produce and groceries if you are camping.
When To ClimbAs with most scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. I climbed Mount Carnarvon in August and still had plenty of snow at the summit. This is a ridge you want to be snow free. Skiing to the summit is not plausible.
CampingThe closest camp site would be quite in the distance at Yoho Pass, Yoho Campsite #3. It is on Yoho Lake and I have hiked by this campsite. It is actually pretty nice, but not relative at all to climbing Mount Carnarvon specifically. You can go on line at Yoho National Park to pick a camp site and obtain your camping permit. You will also be required to obtain your backcountry permit which is separate, but can be obtained simultaneously if you plan on camping at a backcountry site like Yoho Pass. You cannot camp outside of the marked specific camping areas.
Emerald Lake Lodge offers premium lodging where you parked. Field has one inn and several B&B’s.