Trailhead: Park in the Moraine Lake parking lot located at Moraine Lake 12kms west of the Lake Louise town site. Banff National Park. Moraine Lake Road is not plowed during the winter months.
Description: Summiting Mount Temple is not a hike it’s considered a difficult scramble. The SW scramble route leading up to Mount Temple’s summit is often referred to as the Tourist Route. Don’t let this name fool you into a safe sense of security. More mountaineering accidents have occurred on Mount Temple than any other mountain located in Banff National Park.
This scramble requires good route finding skills and basic mountaineering knowledge. The second grey rock band called the crux requires some exposed climbing. Depending on the conditions and time of year sections of the route can vary from safe to extremely hazardous. You’ll need mountaineering skills to determine the routes condition and necessary gear.
Another option is to hire a local guide. Main concerns are summit ice, falling rock from hikers above, bad weather or whiteout conditions on the descent. It’s a long way down with several cliff bands along the way. If you’re not confident in the weather you should plan your ascent for another day. It’s interesting to note the Alpine Club of Canada suggests not descending in case of a whiteout and to carry overnight clothing.
A helmet is an absolute must. Rock fall from the crowds of people that may be moving above you has become a serious hazard. I estimated around 100 people we’re on this route when I went up on a clear day in early September. I counted over 20 people on the summit at any given time. On the way up near the crux I passed individuals that were wearing runners and t-shirts and carrying nothing not even water. They obviously didn’t make the summit.
Walk past the Moraine Lake lodge towards the Larch Valley trail head sign marker. This is the start to Sentinel Pass, Larch Valley, Eiffel Lake, Wenkchemna Pass and Mount Temple. Work your way up what seems like an endless amount of switch backs towards Sentinel Pass. Once you arrive at the meadows poke your way around hoards of tourists as you pass a beautiful tarn lake located at the base of Pinnacle Mountain.
Keep going up the last few switchbacks to the saddle of Sentinel Pass. At this point the scramble up the southwest ridge to the summit of Mount Temple begins. Check out the Banff National Park Mount Temple Route Description below for more information. This is the best description I have found. Print it and take it with you if you’re planning to summit. Remember to stay left on the summit ridge avoiding the urge to look over the snow cornices.
Once you summit you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and the lush valleys way below you. WOW…You’ll see Mount Lefroy, Mount Aberdeen Mount Victoria, Mount Assiniboine, Pinnacle Mountain, Mount Hungabee, Deltaform, Mount Fay, Wenkchemma Glacier, Mount Hector and on and on. Photo’s below were taken early September. This Is Bear Country.