Mount Temple

  • Mount Temple
  • 3540 m
  • Primary factor 1520 m
  • Canada
  • Location: North 51.35101, West 116.20641 (GPS on the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3
  • Climbed July 30. 2018


See this summary for a quick overview of the peaks climbed on this trip.

How to get there:
This peak is essentially located in/near the famous tourist resort called Lake Louise. Lake Louise is easily reached by car from Calgary. From Lake Louise, take the road that serves Moraine Lake. Drive to the end of the road, this is shortly before the lake. Park here, at location N51.32924, W116.18167, elevation about 1860 meter. Note that this road is quite popular and that the park rangers close it as soon as the parking area is full. After this time one may reach the trailhead by bus, however, one should aim for an early start and be parked at the trailhead before 0600.
Take the big trail that starts out having the lake on its left hand side. This trail will gradually leave the lake and head more uphill, after a while making switch-back turns in order to gain the hillside. Near the top of the hill, there is a fork where you should keep right. This location is at N51.32593, W116.20016, elevation about 2220 meter. Gaining more level ground, the trail breaks out of the forest and continues its ascent more gently, passing a few smaller lakes. Curving slightly right, the trail aims for the very distinct pass called Centinel pass. In order to get there, the route will curve back to the lower slope of Mount Temple, then zig-zag up the slope to the pass. This is the end of a very popular tourist trail.
From the pass, follow the ridge across to the slopes of Mount Temple. There are several variations, the trails are marked with cairns. Stay as far left nas possible, following the trailn uphill. After some initial easy scrambling, the route will turn more right and ascend a steeper slope having very natural steps/ledges. All in all, quite easy terrain despite a fairly steep slope. The trail traverses right as it more slowly gains elevation after this step. You will cross a gully and notice steeper terrain (ie. cliffs) above you. Locate a very distinct crack that seems to lead uphill. This is the key to an easy ascent. Climb up the crack (YDS class 3) and exit on the upper slope. A bit exposed since the crack ends very close to the cliff band, but really, no difficuties, YDS class 3.
Above this cliffband the trail zig-zags up a large slope and eventually enters a somewhat more distinct ridge that then can be followed all the way to the summit. Early in the season, the last part of this ridge may be covered by snow, in which case crampons and an ice axe should be carried. There is a pretty short (top) summit ridge. It continues on snow, while descending slightly. One should be careful with possible cornices if exploring this ridge in more detail.
Pål J&oslosh;rgen and I had just met in Calgary and then climbed Hector yesterday. we stayed in Lake Louise and Temple would be our goal before moving to a new base camp. We left early and that was certainly needed, arriving at Moraine Lake after a very short drive at 0530 and the parking lot was fast getting full. We had asked about the (possible) snow on top of Temple, but despite people being there every day, the (not so helpful!) ranger station in Lake Louise just said that they were not permitted to tell people about the conditions on the mountains! Pretty stupid, the ultimate sign that rangers are attending to car tourists only and that they are disconnected from the wilderness they were supposed to know. Anyway, we took crampons and ice axe along, to be on the safe side.
We left at 0545 and made good time along the big trail. We got to the trailfork a bit below treeline in 40 minutes and continued in the very nice morning to the well known saddle, arriving there at 0730. The weather was nice and there were already a few other parties around. Some had hiked to the pass during night in order to have the sunrise there. Heading uphill, it took us about one hour to reach the cliff band with the crux on this popular trail. We enjoyed the increasingly good views while completing the pretty long final ridge arriving at the summit 5 minutes before 1000. There was no snow, so crampons and axe carried needlessly thanks to the "helpful" rangers.
We stayed for 30 minutes. I explored the snow ridge that extended further from the summit, this provided a somewhat better view back down into the valley. We had the summit to ourselves, but another party arrived as we were about to descend. The return hike was equally nice, we made numerous brief stops to talk to ascending climbers as well as tourists lower down. Back at the barking lot at 1340, so an overall trip time of about 8 hours.