Mt. Temple, it dominates the landscape as you approach Lake Louise and stands at an elevation of 3544 meters making it the highest mountain in the area. This also makes it one heck of an appealing mountain to summit, and that's just what our group set out to do on what turned out to be a beautiful day in the Rockies.
Let's go back to the start of this adventure unfolding. At about 8pm the night before our group met up at my place to go over the plans for the day, double checking what to bring and of course what to expect. This was Danielle and Elliot's first hike in the mountains ( which is quite the way to kick things off!) and we wanted to make sure things went safely and as best as possible. Following a short meetup, they took off for their campsite and I finished up my prep before hunkering off to bed. Queue 4 hours later and a few snooze button bashes, it's 3am and time to grab some coffee before hitting the road to Lake Louise. We arrived at the Moraine Lake parking lot sometime shorty after 4am, threw on our packs and so begins an epic day in the mountains!
An Unforgettable Start
We started early with a few goals in mind; beat the heat of the day, be hiking down before any threat of thunderstorms, and in my opinion the most important - to catch a sunrise at Minnestimma Lake. The sight was unbelievably beautiful and absolutely worth an early wake up call.
We couldn't have asked for more perfect conditions for sunrise. The water on the lake was mirror-like, clouds slowly drifted over the peaks and the sun cast the most gorgeous light onto the already impressive mountains of the Valley of 10 Peaks. We were captivated to say the least.
After enjoying the sunrise by the lake, it was time to get a move on and continue the trek up towards Temple. The scenery as we got higher was so beautiful and it only got better as we gained elevation. The next stop was Sentinel Pass, this pass connects Larch Valley with Paradise Valley and lo and behold it has some incredible views.
Pushing on Up
After reaching Sentinel Pass the real work began as the terrain became a little bit more technical, lots of boulders, loose rock and scree to navigate as we pushed on. A little bit of time on this and I think Danielle and Elliot were beginning to realize what exactly we had gotten ourselves into. Our pace slowed but the spirits were still high! This also meant I had lots of opportunities to run ahead and set up compositions to document our day. Lots of encouraging words, rest stops to enjoy the views and we slowly but surely made progress towards the summit.
The Final Push
Tired but determined with the summit just in reach, we pushed for the top. I raced ahead to capture our groups last hurrah to Temple's Summit. The feeling, the views - the moment was incredible! All around us were peaks and lakes, most notably the magnificent blue of Moraine Lake (you can imagine how many people are down there looking up at these peaks). We celebrated our successful summit, noted it in the log and just soaked in the beautiful views.
Back Down We Go
After enjoying the summit for awhile we started the trek back down. Our group was tired and the way down was slow as we navigated the mountains many obstacles. The best part about going back down was getting to stare endlessly at the Valley of 10 Peaks. I had to fight the urge to stop and take photos each time a composition came up, but of course I did stop and set up more than a few shots on the way down.
After navigating the scree and boulders of Temple, we continued on through what seemed like never ending switchbacks until we finally reached Moraine Lake. It was busy but it was a welcome sight! A good foot soak in the lake was the perfect ending to a great day in the mountains.