Mt. Temple: The Ultimate Scramble

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Photos and Story by
Leonard Maglalang

A true experience, dream come true and pushing self-limit are some of the descriptions of K8 climbers on this day.

Mt. Temple, the third-highest in the Southern Rockies and the highest in the Lake Louise area, is an intimidating giant. A challenge to serious scramblers and a dream to many outdoor enthusiasts.

It is included on the list of Canadian Rockies 11,000’er to be climbed. The Mountain is rated at Southwest Ridge as Alpine I, 5.3 with 3,544 m (11,627 ft) altitude. This route is the most common way up to the peak and is around 12 hours return. The route when dry is no more than a scramble.

On September 25, 2021, K8 Team scaled Mt. Temple and made it to the summit again this year. We arrived at midnight in the Moraine Lake parking lot. The team started the hike at 4:30 am. The hike from Moraine Lake to Larch Valley has an obvious trail. A famous route for many hikers during the fall season. Going above the treeline approaching Minnestima Lakes you will get a glimpse of the scrambling sections ahead. The famous moderately steep and long zigzag trail, “Zorro Trail” as K8 call it, will burn your thighs even more.

The team stayed at Sentinel Pass for 30 minutes break, preparing for the scrambling push and had some photo op.

K8 started the scrambling route to the right of the ridge below the yellow band. The trail diagonally going to the first rock band is still visible here, but route-finding skill is a must in this terrain. After this section, the team angled up to the right towards the gray rock band and aimed to the right side of the second gully. This is the crux section with class 4 to class 5 rock climbing moves. A steep ascent with an exposure. A wrong move could lead to a fatal accident. Passing the crux, there are gravels and a slabby part that require caution. Approaching the light brown band, the team chose the right side of the ridge and stayed at the gully. K8 calls this “the second crux”, as caution in scrambling moves should be taken. The rest of the ascent after this part was straightforward. However, it was steep, long and mixed with snow and gravel.

The ascent to the summit was long and a true mental battle during the final push. Finally, K8 made it to the very corniced summit ridge. The wind was crazy with minimal visibility as the approaching clouds were as high as the summit. There was a big icy cornice hanging on the east side. Seeing it from the front of the pack was spectacular with the K8 members pushing and giving their last bit of strength. The team arrived at the summit by noon. The climbers shared thoughts about the ascent and experience while sharing their meals. The view at the top is a complete 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges.

“It has been a long-time dream and on my bucket list for a few years now. I tried a couple of attempts but never materialized due to severe weather conditions.” Sir Angelito de Jesus standing at the summit.
Going up to the mountains can be very difficult. As much as you would like to stay at the summit, you must understand that another hard part of your task is still ahead of you. You cannot stay there for an extended period. You must keep moving. But, going down will also remind you how far you have come. The descent was tough on the knees like every other descent in the past but longer. The team discovered a new descent from the crux section following the ladder trail going down to the scree section. This new route shortens the team’s typical descent from the past. Moreover, it saves energy. K8 made it down to Moraine Lake by 7:00 pm.

Looking at the photos of this activity, the ascent and descent may look straightforward. However, K8 considered Mt. Temple as a major climb and should be treated with respect. The team is prepared with climbing equipment such as rope, harness, helmets, belay device, probes, poles, and ice axe. Proper clothes layering with gaiters and mountaineering boots worn by the members. Climbing in a group is different from climbing alone. There may be some sections that few climbers on your team cannot execute. With the help of the equipment, you will accomplish the goal safely.

A massive day for K8 Mountaineers. We could not have asked for better weather conditions. You will feel being humbled to be given this kind of beautiful, rare opportunity to see the beauty of the mountains.

Today, K8 is the home of Pinoy Mountaineers here in Alberta whether freshly from the Philippines or long-time residence, setting up a goal of sharing the beauty of the mountains thru responsible mountaineering and producing more Alpinist.

Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?

You can add or send a request on our Facebook Page at K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta