Little Temple
a subpeak of Mount Temple that's well worth a scramble of its own.


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Distance - Elevation gain - m
4 hours, 45 minutes ascent / 2 hours, 45 minutes descent

A beautiful weather forecast from the day before turned into pouring rain as we reached Lake Louise, so we opted for an extended Laggan's trip in the hopes of the squall passing.
We lucked out, and the rain finished up as we reached the trailhead.
From the Paradise Valley trailhead, we hike in for a half kilometre, then turn off the normal route and onto the Moraine Lake Trail - apparently a really great bike trip.
We hiked ony a few kilometres before reaching the pretty, moss-covered Temple Creek (I'm unofficially naming for the lake it drains - it's not even shown on the GemTrek maps).

Starting out in drearyish weather.

Paradise Creek.

On the previous-generation GemTrek that I have, a black dashed line (unofficial trail) follows the drainage up to Temple Lake.
That route has been removed from the most recent map, and rightly so.
There is a fragment of trail that leads up the south (left) bank, but dissolves into deadfall and windfall, and skipping back and forth across the creek as you ascend.
There is a wee bit of bushwhacking, but it's easy enough progress as long as you follow the creek, and there are pieces of decent trail cattered through the forest.
We reached Temple Lake in decent weather, and even had a few patches of sunshine as we ate lunch.

Temple Creek.

Light bushwhacking upstream.

The trail opens up below the lake.

Easy walking through summer marshes.

The valley just before Temple Lake.

The group hikes up the creek amid larches.

Mount Temple looms above the valley.

Easier off-trail travel higher up.

Hiking in pretty fall colour.

Pano of Mount Temple and Little Temple above Temple Lake.

From Temple Lake, there are two or three ascent options.
You can head around the north (right) shore of the lake, and angle up the obvious grassy slope shown at the right side of photo five.
Marko took this route on a gorgeous day back in June, and it presents no problems - basically just a steep hike, on largely grassy slopes.
If ascending this way, you will reach the Temple col (between Temple and Little Temple), then turn upslope NNE to reach the summit of Little Temple on easy rock.
This route could be considered an easy scramble due to the rockwalking up top, and lack of trail -
very similar in quality and difficulty to Mount Saint Piran (except for the difference in numbers of people who go to Lake Agnes vs. Temple Lake ).

The second option is to hike up a steep grassy and rocky gully to the Little Temple col (between the two summits of Little Temple).
While possibly a little steeper, this route is also just an easy scramble (there is some minor scrambling near the col), *to the Little Temple Col*.
We took this route.
I think there might be a third possible route, that would scramble directly to the true summit. It would ascend the prominent gully in photo 14, then presumably progress to difficult scrambling.
We did not try this one, but looked at it, and determined it might exist. There is definitely a lot of loose rock, and I would probably not be comfortable on anything too committing here,
but I will grant that the rock we wound up ascending was not near so chossy as it had appeared from below.

Temple Lake and the easy route.

The direct and difficult possible route.

So we headed up the slope towards the Little Temple col.
There's a mix of terrain, and for about half of it, you can choose whehter to rock-hop talus, or hike steep grassy and low shrubby hillside.
Near the col, you have a bit of easy scrambling, as the hill turns into a rocky jumble.
The broad gully continues, but so do a couple of smaller ones, and there are many possible routes. We went slightly left, and came out just above the low point of the col.

Temple Lake in the day's only sun.

The group starts up the slope.

Hiking steeply uphill.

A look back to Temple Lake and the ridge on its other side.

The cliffband directly above which may be navigable.

Our route up the gully right of cliffband.

Group members in another gully choice.

The final ascent to the ridge.

Part of what's neat about this route is the option to also reach the lower summit.
It's an easy scramble from the col - pretty much just walking across cool rock, with the odd big step up.
After a short break on the lower summit, we headed back across the col.

Looking back down the gully I ascended.

Hiking to the lower summit from the col.

A great view of Temple from the ridge.

Sketchy weather coming in around us.

The group begins to descend back to the col.

Hiking interesting terrain along the ridge.

West of the col, things are different. To approach the true summit from this side requires a short section of difficult scrambling.
Knowing that we could walk off the other side, we went ahead with the rock, and found it much more solid than anticipated.
There were a few different routes which all worked to get us through the rocks, but if you stay to the left edge for most of the way, you'll probably hit the easiest route.
You could certainly downclimb this as well, but the circle we took was an excellent way to get in some real scrambling, while taking an easy way down. I highly recommend it.
We took a short break on the summit, and checked out the north face of Temple. The clouds gave some dramatic lighting, but when it started to look pretty dark, we hurried to get low.

Honza starts off the serious scrambling.

The group making it up a more solid ridge.

Either edge is much more solid than the middle mess.

Scrambling up climber's left on solid rock.

Full pano from the summit of Little Temple, centred on the great view of Mount Temple.

Hiking over the other side, we descended cool typical Lake Louise -area tilted rocks, heading for the Temple col.
From the col, I got a look down at the easy ascent route, which does look in the barely-a-scramble range. As dark clouds continued to sink towards us, we took off down the slope.

Starting down the ridge to the col.

Typical Louise-area summit rock.

Near the col.

The group starts down the north side of the col.

A final look back to Temple Lake.

The easy ascent route from Temple Lake.

We first descend a grassy hillside, but it becomes less and less grassy as you descend.
The map shows this route pretty clearly - you just follow the curving rockband, and it takes you right to Lake Annette.
There are occasional routes in the rock, but it's largely just boulder-hopping. This would not be awesome to ascend, although you can do some steep grassier slopes on climber's left.
As we reached the col, the weather hit us, with small snow pellets, and a driving wind that flung them at our faces with painful speed.
As we descended, the snow became rain, and the wind calmed a bit, but the wet rock was a little less than awesome.

The descent to Lake Annette.

Looking back up the descent route.

The group picking through the rocks.

Finishing up on gentler slopes again.

A final look at the descent gully.

We made it to Lake Annette without incident, where we found both some reprieve from the rain, and a porcupine. Apparently they like this area.
We took photos of the little guy in a tree, then hiked out the paradise valley trail back to our same trailhead.

Lake Annette in the rain.

Hiking along Lake Annette.

Porcupine in a larch tree.

Mountains emerging from the mist near the end of the trail.

This was a fun trip, and nice to be off the beaten trail. For anyone interested in going, I'd strongly recommend taking the Temple to Annette route, rather than the opposite.
It gives you the option of the easy or difficult scrambling ascent, and either is a nicer way up than the great-for-descending rocky Annette side.
We didn't go at the best time of year though. I would recommend going earlier on, when the meadows are green, and the flowers blooming (late June to July),
or else waiting a little longer until the larch surrounding both lakes are in colour (mid to late September). Either would make this hike even more scenic.

Photos taken by Rachel

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