Also called the Northeast Buttress. First climbed by Brian Greenwood and Jim Jones in the rainy summer of 1969. The safest route on Mt Temple's north face, in terms of objective hazards. This is a rock route with an icy finish onto the upper East Ridge. The rock quality is variable but the upper limestone pitches are on some of the finest quality alpine rock around. This route can be climbed in one day if simul-climbing the quartzite rib, or two days if belaying the entire route. The primary image here shows a general route line; many variations exist, with deviations along the rib and several possible exit pitches on the upper headwall.
Hike up Paradise Valley from the Moraine Lake road to Lake Annette (1.5 hours). Walk around the lake and follow moraines towards the runout from the Sphinx Face bowl (30 mins).
Start directly below the ridge and climb up the easiest looking break through the lower cliffband into the Sphinx Face bowl. One option is up a sometimes wet, wide right-facing corner that curves leftwards at 5.5
. Scramble up and right about 200 metres until it looks feasible to move up and left to gain the crest of the quartzite rib. Follow the rib for many pitches (about 12), following the line of least resistance to the left or right side of the ridge crest.
Difficulty ranges up to 5.7, with some excellent quartzite climbing.
Simulclimbing where possible through this section will greatly decrease the necessity of a bivi higher up.
Continue on the rib, passing several steep walls and getting closer to the upper limestone headwall.
Towards the end of the quartzite rib you will pass a 20 metre high free-standing quartzite tower and then a green shale ledge system, until finally reaching a black, shattered limestone ledge system with a steep loose wall above. Traverse left on the exposed ledge about 40 metres, passing an overhanging corner, until possible to move up to a single fixed piton belay. Climb the loose groove above (5.8), trending rightwards where choices arise, to reach another ledge system (~50m).
Traverse 50m right and then up to a crack belay (4th class).
Climb the left-facing corner crack towards a large roof,
then move up and right to a 10m high tower and piton belay (5.8).
Climb a crack above the tower into a loose alcove (5.6). From here several exits are possible, and the top of the ridge is about 3 pitches away. Routefinding from here is difficult in the dark. The 2 most common exits are: 1) climb out the left side of the alcove, following a crack into a left-trending corner system until about 20m below a roof, where a tension traverse right leads to an arete that can be followed to the top (5.9 or 5.8 A1). 2) lower out and right to a ledge, climb a short loose wall (5.6) and continue up a crack & chimney system until possible to move left on slabs to the top (5.7).
From here the ridge is composed of Black Towers limestone, and can be climbed directly or skirted on the right side and onto the glacier. Climb up towards the skyline to intersect the upper East Ridge. Follow the final section of the East Ridge Route and descent.
full set of cams from 00 tcu to 4 inches
set of nuts
medium LA, 2 thin KBs
slings with several double-length
crampons and iceaxe for summit ice
boots, rockshoes recommended to fully appreciate the limestone pitches
maybe bivy gear
1. Jones, American Alpine Journal 1970.
2. Boles et al, Rocky Mountains of Canada-South, 1979.
3. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies, 1996.