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Mount Temple as seen from the Lake Louise townsite...
Although probably the easiest and safest route on the north side of Mount Temple, this is still a long and demanding must-do route that requires a swift party to avoid a bivy. Retreat from high on the route would be difficult.
The Greenwood-Jones roughly follows a vague buttress that delineates the north and Sphinx faces, with variable rock quality. Primarily a rock climb, the route is best climbed in dry conditions, typically in late July and early August. The first ascensionists graded it 5.8 A1, the aid portion being a tension traverse on the penultimate pitch.
Hike to Lake Annette through the Paradise Valley. Contour around the right side of the lake and up towards the toe of the buttress.
A short cliff band guards the face. Locate a break in the cliffband and climb a short pitch of low fifth class which leads to easy terrain. Scramble up and right on generally good quartzite, which gets steeper as you go higher. Many pitches, mostly low to mid fifth class, lead to a horizontal ledge system at about three quarters of the height of the face. Parties should simulclimb as much of this as possible in order to avoid a bivy.
Traverse left here for about a rope length, then follow a loose gully up and back to the buttress. A long pitch leads to a belay at the base of an alcove. From here climb up and left around a roof to a hand crack. Follow the crack to a belay about 20m short of large overhangs that block the way. The next pitch is the crux and traverses right to avoid the overhangs, then climbs up past three old pitons. The first ascensionists used aid at the beginning of this pitch for the initial traverse. A final pitch on solid limestone gains the top of the buttress.
From here, slog up on loose scree to the left of the glacier towards the crest of the ridge. This is where the East Ridge route comes up above the Black Towers. Follow the corniced summit ridge to the top, and descend via the easy south west slopes to Moraine Lake. Assuming you parked at the Lake Annette trailhead, a long walk on the Moraine Lake road brings you back to your car.
We roped up for the inital short pitch at the beginning of the route, then soloed until it got uncomfortably steep. From here we simulclimbed a long way, until we got scared and began pitching it out. In the end we climbed ten long pitches from this point.
Most of the route is mid fifth class but there was a bit of 5.9+ or 5.10 on the upper pitches. The rock quality varied from good to awful, and finding solid belay anchors was at times problematic. As is typical in the Canadian Rockies, protection was at times marginal and/or sparce. I took a huge whipper on the crux pitch when a hold broke and a piton pulled.
At the leftward traverse, I'm pretty sure we didn't go far enough. I think we went about 30m then climbed up and right on solid rock back to the crest. The pitch we climbed after this was horrible. There was a marginal piton about 6m up, but then no gear that would hold a fall until 30m. And the climbing was fairly difficult on steep and loose rock. In hindsight I believe we should have gone much farther left before climbing back up to rejoin the buttress higher up. In the route description above I tried to describe what I believe to be the correct route
In terms of time, we left the car at about 4:30AM and reached the top of the buttress at around 6:30PM. I imagine this is reasonably quick as we did a lot of simulclimbing, although I'm sure fast parties could do much better. We made the mistake of not bringing crampons, thinking for some reason that the summit glacier would be snow covered, and as such we though that ice axes would be sufficient. They weren't.
We ended up downclimbing the east ridge, with an unplanned bivy above the Big Step, and made it out the next morning. It was a bit of an epic day, but an awesome one.
I highly recommend the route, but don't forget the crampons.
Expect to find a few pitons here and there, but otherwise there is little fixed gear. I would recommend double ropes and a standard rack of nuts and cams to 3 inches, as well as a few pitons. An ice axe and crampons are needed for the summit ridge. I imagine most people would want rock shoes.
The north side of Mount Temple
The alcove belay. From here we climbed four pitche...
The handcrack pitch. The crux pitch is next.
Looking back at Glenn as I began the leftward trav...
Looking down from the traverse pitch.
Typical rock near the beginning of the route.
We simulclimbed to here, then pitched out the rest...
Lake Annette as seen from low on the route.
Looking down from low on the route.
The easy scrambling at the base of the Greenwood-J...
BETA PHOTO: The approximate line of ascent.
The north side of Mount Temple. The Greenwood-Jone...