Peak Climbed: Mount Temple

Peak Height: 11,627'

Route: East Ridge

Difficulty: 5.7

Location: Banff National Park, Canada

Trailhead: Moraine Lake Road

Mileage & Gain: 8 mi & 5,500 ft

Date Climbed: August 18, 2017

Mount Temple is in the heart of one the most visited areas of the park, perched in a premier position above the swarming tourist center of Moraine Lake. Not coincidentally, Temple is the most-climbed peak on Canada's lofty 11er list. The standard southwest ridge scrambling route is extremely popular, and rightly so. The views are amazing, and the outing a rewarding challenge for the casual mountain hiker. Dozens make the ascent on nice summer days, some using a rope for the short 4th class crux. This route also serves as a very convenient, straightforward and quick descent after climbing a more technical one.

Mount Temple's East Ridge is as classic as they come. The route offers thousands of feet of sustained and highly enjoyable 3rd to low 5th class scrambling on a wide variety of steep rock. It never seems to end and you don't want it to. The crux, known as the "Big Step", requires four interesting pitches of 5.7 climbing. Throw in a stint of sketchy loose scree traversing, cap it off with a glaciated finish and you've got a major winner. The ridge is a ton of awesomeness packed into a modest day trip.

Different parties climb this route in a variety of styles depending on skill and risk tolerance, some going for the speedy daytrip and others pulling it off in a near epic overnight adventure. Dom and I felt comfortable soloing all of the ridge except for the Big Step and the Little Step (the Little Step is a few steep, exposed moves protected by a single bolt), completing the loop in about 13 hours despite my angry knee that significantly slowed the descent.

This was my favorite outing of our two week trip to Canada, and that's saying a lot given that the Bugaboo classics were some of the contendors! Disclaimer: I may have a soft spot in my heart for choss.

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