Route: Southwest Ridge (Class 3)

TR #: 97

Category: British Columbia/Alberta      Summit Elev: 11,630 ft / 3,543 m       Rock Type:  Shale, Quartzite, & Limestone

Partners: Scott Bingen, Demetri Galaxidas, Michelle Gangon, Lynn Martel, Steve Trent

A great way to spend a day in the mountains.

It's always fun to check out a new climbing area, so I jumped at the chance to join my friends Scott and Steve on a climbing trip to the Canadian Rockies. After 3 climbs in Yoho National Park (click for TR), we visited some friends in Canmore while a late-summer storm hovered over the Rockies. Before heading back to Seattle, we took advantage of a 1-day weather window to climb the nearby Mt. Temple in Banff National Park.

With the fresh snow cover, we opted for the straightforward and popular SW Ridge. This was in fact the route used in 1894 when Mt. Temple became the first peak in the Canadian Rockies over 11,000 feet to be climbed.

This page gives an overview and photo trip report from our climb up the gentle SW Ridge of Mt. Temple. Although I do not give a detailed verbal description of the route, each photo has a short description (there are several good guidebooks that have good descriptions, but the route is very straightforward anyway). I've also included a map and route overlay. 

Seven years later, In August 2017, I returned to the Canadian Rockies to do some more (and harder) climbing. During this trip, I again climbed Mt. Temple, this time via the Greenwood-Jones route (V, 5.10, 4500') ascending the towering mile-high walls on the north side of Mt. Temple.


Route Overlay and Map


Summit: Mt. Temple
Location: Banff National Park, Alberta
Route: SW Ridge
Difficulty: I, Class 3
Summit Elevation: 3,543 m / 11,630 ft
Elevation gain: ~1660 m / 5,500 ft from the parking lot
Trailhead: Start at Moraine Lake and take trail to Sentinel Pass
Approach Note: Must have a party size of at least 4 due to bear danger in the area.
Descent: descend route
Time: 6-9 hours round trip
Gear: often you need crampons and ice axe if there is snow on the route, but under dry conditions the climb is a walk-up

Labeled Panorama of Valley of the Ten Peaks

The approach and climb of Mt. Temple have a spectacular view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Here's a labeled panorama I made.

Photos from the climb of Mt. Temple

My first trip to Mt. Temple in 1983
It was fun for me to be able to climb Mt. Temple, as this was the location of my first hiking/overnight trip. I was only 3 months old! Attached to my mom's back, I made it all the way to Sentinel Pass on Mt. Temple. A climber in the making.....

My parents and me at Sentinel Pass, Aug 1983.
Napping in the tent. I could have carried a really light sleeping bag then! Aug 1983.
4 miles of hiking and I needed a diaper change, Mt. Fay in background, Aug 1983.