Mount Temple dominates the skyline from the village and ski hill at Lake Louise. It is the most accessible peak greater than 11,000 ft in the Canadian Rockies and unfortunately, probably one of the most frequently climbed peaks of the Rockies in the summer! We knew that there would be hordes of people on the mountain, even more so due to the fact that we chose to make our attempt on the August 5th long weekend, but still we went ahead.
Starting out from Moraine Lake at 7:30, we were at the top of Sentinel Pass by 9:30. There were already a couple of dozen people ahead of us and by coincidence, we ran into with a large number of acquaintances that we knew from various places, which demonstrates how popular a scramble this is - and how many people there can be on the mountain at any given time.
The route up from the pass was pretty straightforward initially, with a well defined path cut into the side of the mountain by the large number of hikers that tackle this peak every year. This is referred to by Alan Kane ('Scrambles in the Candian Rockies' author) as the tourist route. We ascended the first cliff band without too much trouble but at the second set of cliffs (at about the 9,900 ft level) some members of my party were uncomfortable with the difficulty of the scrambling and the loose rock.
I scrambled up the cliffs first and tried to help up the others - while doing so, I released a few baseball sized rocks below, which did not do much to restore confidence in the route. Climbing helmets are highly recommended, even though for most of the route they are not needed, there is loose rock on the cliffs. Plus, there are so many other people on the mountain on any given day! You just never know if others will kick rocks down on you.
For the sake of logistics, the other members reluctantly turned around at this point and I decided to continue on and was eventually able to join up with another group at the summit for the descent.
This second set of cliffs was the most difficult scrambling (crux of the day). From that point, it was a bit of a slog to the summit and there was a layer of fresh snow over the last 1,500 ft.
Views from the top were awesome and I lingered for a few minutes and chatted with others on the summit before beating a retreat down to the car at 1:45. The descent took a bit less than 4 hours and I was back at the parking lot by 6:00 PM. During the descent, I almost had my head taken off by a bowling ball sized rock that someone released as I made my way down the cliffs... I was assiting a fellow as he descended a rock band. As the chap bent down to pass me his backpack, someone above us kicked loose a nugget that just missed nailing him in the back of the head (and me in the face), literally by a matter of inches. We let fly a few angry swear words as he did not seem to understand the hazard that had been narrowly missed. See warning about helmets above!
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Posted By: Lancam13
- Thu Apr 26 14:45:03 UTC 2018
QuestionWe are planning a trip to Alberta to do some hiking. Mount Temple is on our list of to do's. We are just wondering if there is a better time to do this and other hikes. We can go the last week of June and the first week of July or we can wait and go the first and second week of August. For anyone that has done this hike if you could offer some guidance that would be greatly appreciated. ThanksANSWERS are in this forum: Mount Temple in Alberta
Posted By: Baby Thor
- Wed Sep 20 17:17:16 UTC 2017
UpsideGreat views and fun climb (up and down) DownsideLong boring busy beginning (larch valley/Sentinal) CommentIf you're fast you can get up and down in 5 hours. I went up just after it snowed, unbeknownst to me, so I climbed in normal hikers, shorts, and a hoodie (no equipment). No problem for me but I would recommend being more prepared than I. It was pretty slick (snow, ice, melt water). Unfortunately I left my group way behind (they weren't really mountain climbers) and then they left me behind to get back to the bus so I ran down the mountain/pass/valley to catch up. That was fun and a great workout but meant I didn't hit the summit :( Next time!
Posted By: reesa888
- Wed Sep 06 01:39:03 UTC 2017
UpsideAmazing CommentExcellent value for mileage. Great all around trek. NO additional equipment required (I easily completed in running shoes 4 months pregnant) Essentially, individuals with good baseline aerobic endurance should be successful given some pre-existing experience with hiking and minimal scrambling. We did carry a phone with GPS tracking of the route. It came in handy a couple of times but generally route finding is straightforward. Nevertheless, some tracking device could prove handy. Also, no need to start at 7am like a maniac. We had been babysitting a toddler in the valley whilst partners ascended separately which is factoring in an additional 4+ hours comfortably given August daylight. Realistically, the biggest issue could be parking. Even on a weekday the lot seem to fill up by shortly after 7 a.m.!
Posted By: pantonysr
- Wed Jul 02 21:41:13 UTC 2014
Downside20140630 Addendum. Pictures full and cannot load more. At 2962 metres, on the bands, between steps 4 and 5 of excellent Publication guide, there is a new bolt and ring (partly up step 4). Looks solid. But on above date, there was extensive ice and snow and I lost one of my cleats. SpireTrail area, 2902 metres (+/- 6 metres on HelloGPS satellite reader) there is a tiny wind or rain shelter for 1, which might come in handy due to lots of cloud, fog and or rain on this mountain. Sentinel pass was about 2610 metres and switchback covered with ice and snow. Lots of fun. Sentinel base lake essentially frozen over, 2419 metres, but filled up water container. Moraine Lake 1870 metres. Great route finding but too early in season for me to summit.
Posted By: pantonysr
- Tue Jul 01 12:53:08 UTC 2014
Downside20140630 At about 10,000 feet, 2962 metres, between steps 4 and 5 of The Publication Guide, the slope was 45 ~ 60 degrees with extensive ice covered with snow. Picture added. Definite need for crampons etc. I could not tell if anyone summited earlier. Also there is a wind/rain break at needle/sphire landmark, a few metres from trail.
Posted By: pantonysr
- Wed Jun 25 02:31:54 UTC 2014
QuestionMy preferred device, BlackBerry z30, is a pain to upload or download GPX and I have preprinted and laminated the publication guide. I only need a few critical GPS intersections...
Where is the paint markings? Where do you cross over from one side to the other side of the ridge? My strategy is to keep going back until I summit, then do it again.
Also, sadly BlackBerry and Google services are not amicable and I come from "regulated" background. ANSWERS are in this forum: Mount Temple route finding
Posted By: rheber
- Sun Dec 22 21:07:19 UTC 2013
UpsideStunningly beautiful DownsideTrail not well marked in technical areas (may have been due to snow cover) CommentOne of the best hikes i've been on. We hiked it during Canadian Thanksgiving, snow cover made more stunning scenery but a more tiring hike as we had to plough through knee deep snow for much of the hike. I would highly recommend this one.
Posted By: pantonysr
- Fri Dec 06 17:41:06 UTC 2013
QuestionThanks to Kurt Turchan for this site. I am a new member. I am new to GPS and such mountains as Mount Temple.
I safely scouted but failed to reach this peak last summer, 2013, and I would like route finding with GPS co-ordinates for landmarks above the pass for next summer's attempt. Up to the pass is straightforward. I would also like a topo maps, paper and digital, which support the GPS co-ordinates. The only "GPS" device I want to use, has both USA GPS and Russian GLONASS.
My intended GPS technique, which I am currently testing in the Rockies, is a Blackberry z10 with the GPS apps: GPSInfo (which does not drain battery since it takes manual readings) and HelloGPS (related to SAR?); a GemTrek paper GPS map; info from ParksCanada, and this website. Even if I team up with an experienced guide, I would like the same technique, using the z10 as a GPS device for safe route finding in the Canadian Rockies, because it is useful as I always carry it whilst I am awake (, and the guide could injure his knees anyway)
QUERY: GPS CO-ORDINATES, LANDMARKS, ROUTE FINDING, MOUNT TEMPLEANSWERS are in this forum: 20131205 Mount Temple route finding
Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Tue Aug 13 12:23:52 UTC 2013
Upside360 degrees view, glaciers, so much beautiful and different colours of lakes all around, wow! Exposure, but path still easy to find most of the time. Not too long at 8.1 km up. DownsideLots of people, so there are effectively loose rocks everywhere. If other hikers take wrong paths, it can get really tricky. CommentThat was a dream hike for me, I was really scared of not being able to do it. Therefore, I went there with 4 friends, 3 of them experimented scramblers-hikers. I did lots of hikes before Temple, Grotto Mountain-Lady Macdonald, Cascade Mountain, Yamnuska, EEOR, Ha Ling, etc. before I did that one. So I had some practice before and that was a good thing! I would definitely suggest that you read Parks Canada PDF guide, easy to find on the Web.<BR><BR>There are 2 small walls to climb. I am not comfortable with climbing yet but it was ok, took me 1 minute or 2 overall. But it can take 15-20 min. if you get people that are scared in front of you. Well deserved break anyway, as it gets steeper for the last 2.5 km.
Posted By: bfcoffey
- Tue Aug 21 18:53:18 UTC 2012
UpsideEasiest (doesn't mean 'easy' by any means) accesible 11,000'+ peak in the Rockies, fantastic views. DownsideCrowded because of easy access, especially summer weekends. We went on the weekend after the Aug long weekend and counted close to 70 others on the mountain (including those we saw who turned around). CommentI was part of "Trevbo"s group that turned back in 2006 because one of our group didn't like the looks of the 2nd rock band (crux of the trip). I had suggested that everyone get some mild exposure before the trip but she didn't. If we had explored a little more, instead of going up the crease where everyone was going (and one guy froze up), we would have seen the easiest way up (and down). Look at photo #5 (just added). The arrow indicates a seam in the rock which is narrow but will easily accomodate anyone up to 180lbs (my guess). Once on top there are a few narrow, rubbly ledges to cross, then you're home free.
The summit ridge is the steepest part of the climb, but stick with it, it's well worth it. Keep right, that's where the best footing is, the trail you see on your left is for coming down, more loose scree.
As for crowds, we left the parking lot at 8:30, late by most people's standards. Only 1 group of 4 caught up to us and we were the last to leave the summit at 3:30, back at 7:30. Because everyone was ahead of us, we didn't feel that it was crowded. However, that also means that there were at least 50 climbers above us, with potential rock fall. Thankfully, it was a good group of climbers that day and there was none.
Posted By: pattun
- Mon Sep 06 15:52:17 UTC 2010
UpsideLooking for a climbing group to Mt Temple for Sep 18. You can contact me at email@example.com. Pls note Mt Temple is not a hike so if you are new to the rockies you should get Kane's scrambles book and start with easy scrambles before attempting Mt Temple.
Posted By: slickster
- Sun Aug 15 13:38:46 UTC 2010
UpsideGreat views of many lakes and mountains. It was a long haul (something that I enjoy). There is some trail, some scrambling, a tiny bit of rock-climbing, and some snow. DownsideOn the weekends there are a lot of people, and that unfortunately meant that there was rocks coming down. CommentI would recommend a weekday ascend, as it will be a lot quieter and safer. I went on the weekend in August, and would have preferred quieter stops at key locations (20 people on the top).
Go in a group of 4 or slightly more.
Posted By: Mahone
- Wed Feb 11 20:53:01 UTC 2009
CommentI've been up Temple on a Wednesday and there were still hordes of scamblers of all type and skill levels! Even the bit of rain/snow we had only culled off a few and the rest continued slogging their way up, while sending down copious amounts of rock and debris down on those that followed! Wear a helmet, watch your footing and to really beat the crowds, start out really early in the morning, under darkness if need be. That way you're not dodging rocks from above and you're climbing on your time without the push from behind. (Or pick one of a thousand other great climbs that don't draw people like Fat kids to a Smartie)
Posted By: Trevbo
- Wed Jan 28 14:40:58 UTC 2009
CommentTBobDole, The group had lots of scrambling experience, but everyone has different limits. These folks knew they how they felt and didn't feel any silly pressure to push anyone. It's not so much a matter of heights as it is a bit of hands-on scrambling that's required for a couple of minutes. You might be fine but I can't tell based solely on the stuff you've described to me. Even if you turn around at that point, it's a pretty full day and the views are pretty awesome.
More dangerous point is about the dozens of other people on the mountain at any given time kicking rocks down.
Because of the sheer volume of people we encountered on the mountain I would never go back and I would in fact, enourage you to stay away during the weekend. Maybe less people during the week. They were just soooooo many other hikers - it made it far less enjoyable than a typical day in the mountains. Regards, Trevbo
Posted By: TBobDole
- Mon Jan 26 21:08:15 UTC 2009
QuestionA few friends and I are planning on scrambling Mt. Temple this year, and had a question. In your review you say you went up with a group but the stopped at the first scramble, our question is; How much scrambling experience did they have, that they were scared off? We have scrambled Mt. Cascade and mt. Rundle, I had no problem with the hights but one of our group was a little uneasy crossing the Dragon's Back going up Rundle. It's a section that is about 10 feet wide and drops a few hundred feet on either side. After that he was fine and had no problems, even at the top. Should he be worried about Mt. Temple?
TerryANSWERS are in this forum: Mount Temple