Occasionally referred to as "The Eiger of North America", Mt Temple is perhaps the most prominent of the Canadian Rockies, pearched sentinel-like between Banff & Lake Louise, and towering over the picturesque Moraine Lake. Temple's fortuitous location, dramatic appearance, and massive bulk make the peak equally well-known to climbers and tourists. Its magnificent, sprawling North Face, over a mile wide and nearly 5000' high, is one of the few such North Faces visible from paved roads in the entire range. At 11,636', Temple is the highest peak in the Banff Region, but is also one of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies, though its real attraction is its near-European accessibility and excellent, engaging routes of all difficulties.
The peak is comprised of alternating bands of shale, quartzite, and limestone. None of these are particularly secure, though by Canadian Rockies standards, the classic routes tend to be relatively solid. Perhaps the greatest argument against the Eiger analogy would be Temple's stable weather. Located in the banana belt of the Canadian Rockies, the peak does not suffer the constant barrage of storms typical of Robson, Edith Cavel and other peaks of the Northern range.
Temple's enduring charms have ensured the peak would play a pivotal role in every significant era of North American mountaineering. Temple earned an early spot in the local annals as the first 11K'-er to be climbed in the range. The American's 1894 ascent of the Southwest Ridge was also notable in that it was completed without guides, which was rare at the time. This route has enjoyed unparalleled popularity to this day.
In 1931, as the Golden-Age of American Mountaineering was picking up steam, Temple was again a leading indicator of things to come. After establishing the Black Dike route on Wyoming's famed Mount Moran, the strong Guide/Client team of Hans Wittich & Otto Stegmaier headed North, ultimately pioneering the elegant East Ridge, among the proudest ascents in the range at the time. Although initially ignored, this classic route was ultimately immortalized in Steck & Roper's "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America" improving its profile considerably.
Temple's true significance to the region was ultimately realized in the mid-1960's. For years North American climbers had sought a climb to match the legendary North Face of the Eiger. Temple's North Face was a clear candidate, and by the early 1960's talents and experience in the Western Hemisphere were finally up to the task. Initial probing of the face began in 1962 with no success. After several attempts by many of the era's best climbers, ex-pat Brit Brian Greenwood and Charlie Locke forged their line to the top of the wall. Although in retrospect the route is perhaps not quite as mythical or challenging as the iconic Nordwand, it was an impressive step forward that paved the way for an unparalleled decade of daring ascents on north walls throughout the range. Since this ascent many of the continent's best alpinists have left their mark on this great face.
Mt Temple sits prominently a few miles south of Lake Louise, on the west side of the Icefields Parkway. To approach, follow the popular Moraine Lake road south from Lake Louise Drive towards Moraine Lake. Trails depart from various points along the road depending on the route.
Weather station 5.7 miles from here
3 Total Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Mt. Temple
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Temple:
East Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mod. Snow PG13 Snow, Alpine, 10 pitches, 5000'
Featured Route For Mt. Temple
East Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Mod. Snow PG13 North America
: ... : Mt. Temple
Of the somewhat debatable selection of Canadian Rockies routes immortalized in Steck & Roper's "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America", the East Ridge of Temple is likely the best. Achieving the ideal mix between difficulty and safety, the route offers a mellow approach, consistently excellent & sustained climbing, magnificent views, relatively bomber rock and a carefree descent. While the length and intricacy of the ridge and ensuing traverse of the peak ensure a long day, thankfully most of ...[more] Browse More Classics in International
Latest Regional Forum Messages
By J. Albers
Feb 10, 2011
Outstanding job with the descriptions for the Mt. Temple area and the two routes you posted. Between the history you included, the copious amounts of great photos, and useful route descriptions, these pages are a great addition. I occasionally ask contributors in my area to up the ante with what they include when posting routes and surely this page serves as a prime example of what a page on MP can look like.
From: Morrison, CO
Feb 10, 2011
Thanks a lot John!