Scramble Mount Temple
Canada › Moraine Lake Parking Lot and Trailhead
Added by Chris Istace
Breathtaking Scenery that is the textbook beauty of the Canadian Rockies, most notably Moraine Lake, Valley of the Ten Peaks and Paradise Valley. This is the easiest 11,000 summit to attain without technical climbing gear and ropes.
Mount Temple is a stunning iconic mountain in Banff National Park located in the Canadian Rockies. It overlooks the Lake Louise area and stands at a massive 3542m (11,624ft) , making it one of the many sought after 11,000ers.
To reach the mountain you will be headed down highway #1 and take the turn-off for Lake Louise and then follow the road signs up to Moraine Lake. Once at the lake you will find a very nice parking lot and washroom facilities, as this is a long day trip and also as this parking lot fills up extremely fast in summer, I recommend getting here by at least 7am at the latest. Don't forget to get your park pass if you don't already have one, Parks Canada requires a day pass or seasonal pass for any stops in the national park.
The hike starts out at probably the most photographed body of water in the Rockies, Moraine Lake. Take the path that follows along the right side of the lake where you will come to the sign and turn-off for the switchbacks up to the Larch Valley. Watch at this point as there will be notification if the 4 person group size restriction is in place for Grizzlies, many people will wait and join with others if they have less than 4. Carry on up the trail and through the Larch Valley and stay on well booted trail keeping to the right as the forest thins and you find two benches, this is the start onto Sentinel Pass.
Sentinel Pass sets out into a wide open expanse heading towards the saddle between Mount Temple and Pinnacle Mountain. Wildflowers, lakes and the incredible views occupy you as you march steadily to the daunting switchbacks that can be seen on the saddle with very fast elevation in a short distance.
Once on top of the saddle this is a good place to take a break for food and water, this is the start of the hard part of your day. Follow the ridge up to the right and watch for flagging and cairns that meander through the scree, rock and cliffs. This is also a good place to put on your helmet, Temple can be very busy and the likely hood of rock kicked down from above is great.
You will have made your way up the ridge and through the first obvious cliff band towards the summit when you eventually come to the second cliff band. This is considered the crux of the scramble, we found three options. To the left you can work up a gully and scramble over - to the center right you will find a small hidden chimney you can stem up - to climbers right you can traverse and scramble the class 3/4 terrain. I would recommend you be comfortable with mild to medium exposure and previous scrambling experience.
Now past this cliff band continue the ridge , depending on the conditions and season this would be the point you may encounter snow. The rest of the route sticks along the ridge line to the summit. Temple forms large cornices to climbers right so care must be taken to not put yourself at risk. Typical summit times range from 4.5 to 6 hrs to achieve.
Enjoy the awe inspiring views from the summit with the Canadian Rockies putting on a true show of their magnificence. Once you've taken your photos, signed the register and had a snack its time to head back down. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead and reach the car with a fresh connection to the outdoors that will have you smiling all the way home.
I would recommend two websites to check trail conditions and weather prior to this scramble.
Weather Forecast: mountain-forecast.com
Trail Conditions: pc.gc.ca
- Quality hiking gear - from boots to pack
- 10 Essentials - never leave home without them
- Adequate clothing layers - 11,000 ft mountains have radical weather
- Ice Axe and Crampons - may be required due to snow conditions at summit
- Climbing Helmet - lots of loose rock often kicked down from above
- Food and Water - plan for 12hr day, water tabs (filtration) for lake water
- Camera and GoPro - share the beauty with friends and family
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