Mount Temple Trip Report (#7330)
- Signed By: David & Karen
- Date submitted: August 05, 2003
- Number of People Encountered:
We go to the Rockies every year and without fail the week we plan to go has lousy weather. This year we decided to wait for a sunny forecast and try to cram as much hiking as we could into a long weekend.
The #1 hike on our wish list was to the top of 11,624ft Mt. Temple. So we drove through the night (and witnessed the Northern Lights for the first time) and arrived at the trailhead, Moraine Lake at 4:30 in the morning. The hike up through Larch Valley is fairly easy and very scenic. At 3 miles the columbia ground squirrels give way to hoary marmots as you reach Sentinel Pass. It was here in 2001, after fail summit attempt #2 that we were married.
As lovely as this spot may be the scenery only gets better as climb higher toward the namesake sentinel. A popular semi-defined "trail", called the "tourist route" leads through the scree for the remaining 3000ft to the summit. However since this was still June the snow level was around 9000ft and we had to kick step our way up. The snow a little too hard (verglass) and often too shallow for good steps however if was way too soft for crampons. The exposure increases the higher you get and we needed to exercise extreme caution. It was slow going - 7 hours from the trailhead to the summit. However the views were grand although a huge cornice prevented us from getting a bird eye view of Moraine Lake. Most tourists wait until August - with good reason.
So after skipping a night's sleep and going on a long and difficult scramble we were ready for a rest. Unfortunately making a last minute trip on a nation holiday isn't a good idea if you want to find a campsite, or even a hotel for that matter. After being turned away by every manger in Western BC we finally settled down at a free forest service site - 29 miles down a bumpy logging road - at 2am