AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Mount Temple, North Face Direct

Mount Temple, North Face Direct. A climber driving the Banff-Jasper highway will not miss the huge north face of Mount Temple. To Jeff Lowe and me the center rib, attempted by Abrons, Eberl and Roberts in 1969 (A.A.J., 1970, 17:1, pp. 82-3), which leads almost directly to the summit, seemed especially attractive. Yet the thought of climbing under the 200-foot ice cliff at the top looked like attempted suicide. After a closer look, we became convinced that the rib would offer protection from ice avalanches for most of the length of the climb and where we would be exposed near the top, the cliff must “certainly be more stable.” Early on August 16 we hiked up the west side of the moraine of the tiny glacier at the base of the Dolphin. Knowing the size of the bowl above which gathers debris, we found the dash across the névé to the rib the most terrifying part of the climb. We simply could not make our legs move fast enough. Once on the rib, the climbing was relatively easy (F5 or F6) on excellent rock. Where the rib divides, we stayed on the left until we had crossed a short F7 steep section which allowed us to run along easy ledges back to the right rib with minimum exposure to icefall. The rock became easier and looser up the two double bands where finally the route is exposed to a relatively small section of the ice cliff above. The bands were fairly difficult on pretty good rock. Above, for several pitches, the rock was loose, almost gravel mixed with snow and ice, and exposed to the ice cliff. The final four or five leads under the cliff were excellent limestone on a sharp F6 to F7 arête, delightful climbing. The ice cliff offered 130 feet of overhanging aid with a very steep, insecure mixture of ice, snow and air in the remains of an old crevasse. We bivouacked just above the ice cliff and climbed easy ice directly to the summit the next morning. Objective hazard was relatively slight due to the dryness of the year. NCCS IV, F7. (The only aid was on the ice cliff.)

George H. Lowe, III