Little Temple
Banff National Park, Alberta
September 17, 2016

Little Temple bears no resemblance to lofty Mount Temple, but for much less effort one can probably get good views from its summit. I say “probably” as I can only speculate. Low cloud and bellowing mist prevented us from seeing much from Little Temple. But the thrust of our trip, aside from summiting, was not to see the surrounding mountains but to appreciate the splendor of larches in the fall. And in that we weren’t disappointed. Hundreds of golden trees lit up the slopes and brightened an otherwise gloomy day.

Sonny, Zora, Dinah and I used a route accredited to Marko Stavric, a loop that begins and ends on good trails while passing two alluring lakes on either side of Little Temple.

Under light rain, we started up Paradise Valley Trail. A kilometre later, we hit Moraine Lake Trail and turned left. We kept to the main trail for a couple of klicks until we came to a flowing brook. A narrow side trail runs up the right side, sometimes scrunching right against the creek, sometimes veering well off, before reaching Temple Lake. We lost the trail a couple of times, but it was there; we just had to look for it.

Mount Temple rises majestically at the far end of the lake, while Little Temple stretches above the right shore. Some scramblers have ascended the col between the two summits of Little Temple, but it entails a difficult scramble. However, the highest summit can be reached by an easy scramble from the col between Mount Temple and Little Temple, and that’s what we did.

We started up the gully that bisects the lower west slope of Little Temple and headed to the corner of the huge cliffs below the summit. I angled toward the end of the cliffs although I was hampered by soft scree. To avoid the big scree field, Dinah and Zora ascended well up the slope before traversing below the base of the cliffs. Meanwhile, Sonny quickly outdistanced us and we often lost sight of him. He would climb the two summits of Little Temple to our one.

After getting around the cliffs, we faced a long, steep hike followed by some easy scrambling up a rocky slope. The final stretch along the ridge was mostly a hike along a trail. Zora, Dinah and I reached the south summit in time to watch Sonny climb the lower north summit. After our usual summit activities, we dropped back down the ridge where the four of us regrouped. Then we headed to the Mount Temple-Little Temple col.

After passing through the brilliant larches that blanketed the col, we followed a broad drainage leading to Lake Annette. We turned our backs to the last of the yellow larches, and under persistent rain, we followed the long, dreary trail back to our car.

Sonny's Trip Report
KML and GPX Tracks


Starting up Paradise Valley Trail


One klick after starting out, we turned left onto Moraine Lake Trail


Paradise Creek from a footbridge


A narrow trail starts up the right side of Temple Creek


Following the trail to Temple Lake


Well along the trail we see our first larches


More larches appear


Our first look at Little Temple


Little Temple from the lake: we started up the gully in the middle


Starting our climb


We made our way to the corner of the cliff on the right


Looking back


Mist rolled in when we reached the base of the cliffs


Around the corner, a steep climb awaits


Looking back


Panorama Ridge lies southeast


Higher up, the slope comprises loose rock


The col comes into view


Finally on the ridge


On the summit


Meanwhile, Sonny reached the lower summit (mouse over)


Heading down from the summit


We'll pass through a forest of larches


Sonny leans forward to get in the photo


Hiking through the larches


Looking back at Little Temple


The larches held our fascination


We reached the edge of the larches


We dropped into the broad drainage leading to Lake Annette


We followed a vague trail on the right side until it petered out


Looking back


Lake Annette


We skirted the left shore to get back on the trail


Back on the trail


From the lake, it rained all the way back to our car, dimming what few views we had of Little Temple


82 N/8 Lake Louise

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