Mount Temple is a giant that dominates the view south of Lake Louise.
Temple was the first peak in the Canadian Rockies over 11,000 feet to be climbed. It was in 1894 a group of three trekked up the SW ridge. In the present day that route sees a lot of traffic each year. It's a great way to spend a day in the mountains with a pleasant approach to Sentinel Pass and then some good sweating up the ridge to the summit.
For the mountaineer searching for more of a challenge, the East Ridge is considered to be one of the 50 classic climbs in North America. It's an aesthetic line that drops right down towards the Trans-Canada Highway.
Elevation gain from the trailhead 1,690 metres
You will have to get yourself to Lake Louise. From Calgary take the Trans Canada (1) west through Canmore, Banff, then Drive to Lake Louise along the #1. After driving by the Samson Mall area continue along the road up towards the Chateau. Take the signed left turn towards Moraine Lake.
For the SW ridge, take the road to Moraine Lake. Note you should get there early as the parking lot is not very large and tends to fill up early. The trail head is found 100 yards along the lake to the right. Follow the obvious trail up the switchbacks up to Larch Valley. Then once you have passed the trees at the point where you will find two benches, from here follow the obvious trail that winds its way gently to Sentinal pass then continues up, to the right winding its way through the scree to the summit. Depending on the weather there can be a couple of slippery sections but nothing in the way of great difficulty. This is an excellent day of hiking/scrambling.
For climbers attempting the East Ridge start at either the Paradise Valley Parking Lot for the Ammer Couloir start or for the more direct 'Big Steps' start park at a pullout on the south side of the road about 2 km from Moraine Lake. Both starts join the East Ridge just below the Black Towers.
Summit view from Mount Temple
You will need a Parks pass. This can be picked up as you enter the Park on the highway near Banff.
Rates for Parks Canada as of July 1, 2009:
Wilderness Backcountry: $9.80/night
Wilderness Pass: $68.70/year
Reservation Fee: $11.70
One other item of note. Due to bear activity, to go up from the parking lot to Larch valley. You now have to travel in groupes of 4 or more. Wait at the trail head for the correct amount of people and then proceed as a group. You have to do the same at the benches upon your return. This may seen like a hassle but there are so many people that groups are formed easily and everyone is aware of the rule. One thing is try and ensure that everone is of the approximate level of speed and fitness as the groups will break up on the way up or down and you could be hassled or even fined by the park personal.
Call the Banff Information Center for current news (403) 762-4256.
This is a very sensitive area. It sees a lot of traffic. Please obey all of the signs. Stay on the trails and of course pack out all of your garbage, including apple cores and banana peels (they can attract animals).
When To Climb
The summer months are the most popular. This route and many others are well described in the guidebook Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies
by Alan Kane.
Temple has seen winter ascents. And most of the SW Ridge has been skied as well.
There is no camping allowed in this area. But there are many campsites in the Lake Louise area. One place that is recommended is the ACC/Hostel in Lake Louise. This place has a small cosy restaurent with good food as well as kitchen facilities and lots of room for approx 36$ Canadian a night. While this is twice as much as the ACC lodge in Canmore it is still a bargin when compaired to the cost of hotels in the area.
There is no camping allowed on the mountain or in the Larch Valley area.
For Lake Louise Area camping spots call (403) 762-3600.
Check with the Rangers in Lake Louise. You can sign in and out (probably wise to do so.. but remember to sign out!) Beware of the the weather conditions and dress accordingly. If the weather turns trails can ice up and people can get into trouble because they went up in nice weather then the slabs and scree iced up in the snow or rain and made the route very dicy for the decent. Excellent scramble.
www.weatheroffice.com or (403) 762-2088 for weather conditions.
Banff Warden Office 403 762 1470 for route info.
Lake Louise Warden Office 403 762 1470
The Alpine Club of Canada
Try this for activities in the area
Banff Lake Louise Tourist Bureau
Joining a club such as The Alpine Club of Canada is recommended when climbing in Canada. While it is not obligatory, useful information can be had at any of their main Clubhouse in Canmore, or at their website which is open to everyone.
Staying at the club in Canmore is 15$ Canadian for members and 19$ for non-members. It can get quite crowded in the summer so a reservation is recommended. Staying at the hostel in Lake Louise is more at 36$ Canadian but is good value for the money.