One of the most accessible 11,000 foot peak summits in the Canadian Rockies would be to Scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge. Amazing views from of the top of this Banff National Park mountain are it’s reward.
I often get asked how I manage to do all the things I do and I must be crazy busy. The truth is I just do my best to fully appreciate the time I have, to get the best return on investment for my efforts. This means getting out to explore and meet new people and places in fun outdoor adventures.
Scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge
This past weekend I had the chance to visit a mountain that truly solidified my passion for the Alpine. Good friends Wyatt, Cody and Andrew would compromise my crew for the trip. If you read my earlier climbing trip report on Scrambling Phantom Crag Mountain you would know that Wyatt and Andrew have been out with me before. Surrounding yourself with positive people is probably 50% of the benefit of getting outdoors and these guys bring it by the bucket full. We would scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge route.
Trailhead for Mount Temple
Temple demands a full day’s efforts so we left Calgary Saturday morning at 345am (yes we are loco) and headed west to Lake Louise. We arrived at Moraine Lake parking lot , geared up and were on the trail by 645am.
The trail starts out along the west side of Moraine Lake and then heads up to the Larch Valley trail. The clouds were dark and threatening but were no matter as the outdoors are to be experienced in all its flavours.
Larch Valley Hike to Sentinel Pass
A long steady hike and many switchbacks up the Larch Valley trail and it finally opens up into the trailhead for Sentinel Pass that takes us to the foot of Mt Temple. This section of open Alpine Meadow is a must for all to experience . Surrounded by majestic peaks that are what have made the Rockies famous , humility is served up fresh at our size in the scheme of things.
Once up the zig zag of the last push of Sentinel Pass and to the saddle, we stopped for a quick snack and raincoats at 840am. The light rain was threatening with snow but we remained optimistic as the sun kissed the nearby peaks and glistened the occasional rainbow .
Starting the Scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge
This is the point that the Christmas in July started, the winds picked up and the snow started falling heavily upon us. We kept our pace steady to reach the summit as fast as possible.
At 11:30am we were standing on the summit, zero views in whiteout conditions but satisfied in our accomplishment. This was my first 11000 foot mountain and was stoked on the climb knocking off 1690m of elevation gain.
Wyatt and Cody had decided to carry spare field notes journals to replace summit registers and luckily they did this time. I quickly filled out our first entry and left the new register in place. It was now time to get the heck outta here as the wind continued to howl. I will have to scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge again so I can actually enjoy the views.
We very carefully made our way back down to the saddle with deep snow covering slick rock and loose stone underfoot. Navigation was tricky but we managed without any incident although nerves were a bit rattled. This was a perfect example of always being ready for anything in the Alpine.
Enjoying Sentinel Pass
At 230pm we were back at the saddle of Sentinel Pass and as a cruel joke the skies completely opened and the views we wanted from the top were available. That’s the thing with climbing, nothing is certain and you enjoy each moment as it is given. What we lacked for summit views was made up for by the show the clouds and mountains were giving us from the pass. Clouds danced through the pinnacles and the peaks flashed in and out of the sun. We even watched a major series of avalanches in Paradise Valley from the fresh snow we had just received.
We quickly finished lunch as we were entertained by the chipmunks begging us for treats and then set on our way back to the trailhead. The way back was very enjoyable and pleasant as the weather warmed with the sun high in the sky. The flowers opened to treat us with colors and beautiful views as we headed to the forest.
Successfully Scramble Mount Temple via the SW Ridge
We arrived back at the car at 5pm clocking in at 10hrs round trip and 17.1km logged . Not many people were on the trails and we were the only summit party of the day but were shocked that Moraine Lake was swarming like an ant hill. The views are nice from a lookout but the experience begins when you go beyond the parking lot and tourist viewpoints. Into the car and off to Lake Louise market for hot coffee and treats made for a perfect end to the day.I was beyond happy with the day and feel fortunate to get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Canada and share my Alberta Rockies with you.
Remember to get out yourself and #ExploreBeyondTheUsual. For more detailed route info I always recommend visiting Vern Dewit’s scrambling resource and trip report website at Explor8ion