Elevation: 11,636 ft
GPS: 51.3512, -116.2058
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Shared By: Monomaniac on Dec 28, 2010
Admins: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra, Richard Rose
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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.

Getting There

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.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mt. Temple

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13
East Ridge
Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad, Alpine
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A2 Steep Snow R
Aid, Snow, Alpine 20 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
East Ridge
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13 Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A2 Steep Snow R Aid, Snow, Alpine 20 pitches
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