Let us start off by saying that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to do this hike. We had just finished our sunrise canoe ride on Lake Louise when we asked one of the workers if there was anything we HAD TO do before leaving the area. He knew we could handle a challenge and so he suggested the most epic hike that just about every Canadian has on their mountaineering bucket list, TEMPLE MOUNTAIN.
It was about 1.5 hours before we reached Larch Valley and the switchbacks that would take us up to the breathtaking view atop Sentinel Pass.
Most people tend to turn around at this point, and for good reason. The next 3.5 hours were spent scrambling up loose rocks and climbing over steep cliffs, all while wearing our helmets, praying that no hikers above would send rocks tumbling down our direction, which we were told happens extremely often.
The trail was hard to follow. We were basically looking for the path with the most crushed rock and markers of any sort anywhere we could find them:
There were points where we didn’t know if we could keep moving forward: 1. because we had started so late (11:45am) and didn’t want to risk trying to find our way down the loose rocks in the dark, and 2. because every time we looked back we couldn’t imagine trying to climb down the thing without going over the edge!
It was nearing 5 o’clock, the deadline we gave ourselves for turning back, when all of a sudden we ran into the first pair of hikers we had seen for quite sometime. They told us we had just 15 minutes to go before reaching the summit! This was just the motivation we needed:
A few short moments later and we were standing at 11,627 feet on top of Temple Mountain… we actually made it to the summit… ALIVE!
I truly couldn’t have been happier with the fact that we were done climbing up… through all the dirt, sweat and tears, Drew was a trooper who somehow managed to keep me motivated through it all.
We both agreed, the views and feelings of accomplishment and relief were beyond words:
We relaxed, Gator chomped, threw snow balls, and left a little something in the log for the next brave souls to conquer this beast of a mountain.
We gave ourselves 30 minutes to enjoy our victory and then down with the sun we went.
… always making time for yoga:
Luckily finding our way back down wasn’t as hard as everyone made it seem, it was actually quite a bit easier. The best part was that we weren’t losing traction with every forward step, sinking back 2 feet into the rolling rocks and rubble.
A little over three hours later, we were soaking our tired feet in the crystal-blue, icy-cold waters of sparkling Lake Moraine. That is the look of pure and utter satisfaction on Drew’s face right here:
As we stared at the mighty mountain we had just somehow managed to climb, we were so grateful to be exactly where we were. At the end of a day like this, it felt just as good to be at the bottom as it did to be on top.
- Bring a helmet.
- Bring bear spray (luckily we didn’t need to use ours, but it mostly just gives us a sense of security).
- Snacks, it took us about 8.5 hours round trip and having easy-to-eat fuel was crucial.
- Check the weather. You DO NOT want to do this hike if there is ANY chance of rain.
- This hike is best in the summer, otherwise you need to look into icepicks and crampons.
- Bring something fun to leave in the box at the summit – a sticker, a plastic figurine, a granola bar – get creative!
- Bring a bathing suit if you’re brave enough to go for a refreshing dip in Lake Moraine after! We were just as happy soaking our toes 😉