Trip: Mt. Temple North Face, Banff NP, Alberta - Greenwood/Locke Trip Date: 08/06/2022 Trip Report:
I have really only written up one TR before and there doesn't seem to be whole lot of TR's on this route so I figured it would be fun/useful to write up some info on Evan's and my ascent of the Greenwood/Locke on the north face of Mt. Temple. Plus it is currently smokey in the mountains in Washington so there isn't a whole lot else to do.
On July 16th, Evan and I embarked from Bellingham on a 3+ week climbing trip aiming to climb mountains in Canada. And that we did. After warming up on wet rock in Squamish, we moved to the Bugaboos and spent a week in the East Creek Basin, getting to climb the Beckey/Chouinard and All Along the Watchtower. We then drove to Banff in search of progressively more chossy rock.
After spending some time in the Banff area getting used to the Canadian Rockies limestone and glacier ice, and climbing Mt. Fay, Yamnuska, limestone routes in Banff, and getting turned around on Mt. Athabasca from rock fall, we felt ready to try the Greenwood/Locke with impending colder conditions in the forecast.
The day before we climbed the route, Evan and I hiked half of the approach to the north face of Mt. Temple from the Lake Annette TH to get a look at the face. We brought binoculars, and scoping the route was incredibly useful for our ascent the next day.
A view of the face from our scouting mission.
The approximate route we took from Lake Annette.
On August 6, we left the trail head early in the morning to make sure we got through the "Dolphin" snow/ice gully's before the sun hit any aspect of the upper wall since there is significant rockfall hazard throughout these gully's low on the route. We climbed much of the Dolphin and several hundred feet of loose 4th and low 5th class rock steps before it got light out.
Evan low on the Dolphin
Lots of chossy low 4th-5th class steps.
Evan climbing the final bit of AI2 up to the base of the "wet chimney pitch". The upper headwall looming above receiving the only bit of sun all day. There was a decent amount of rock fall as soon as the sun hit the upper headwall. Get here early!
The "wet chimney" pitch directly above the snow/ice field in the center went at about M5.
At the base of the chimney at the top of the final snow/ice field, we broke out the rope and began the "real" climbing. It was necessary to climb this pitch with crampons and tools.
We then simuled a long pitch still in our mountain boots up to the big traverse left. The traverse was incredibly loose, and there were a couple fixed pins. We traversed the ledge for just under 200ft until the ledge went around a sharp corner and the wall above undercut right above the ledge. From here, we switched to rock shoes and climbed around 8 more long pitches to the top of the headwall.
Evan on one of the early pitches off the long leftward ledge traverse. Many of these pitches were severely runout around 5.8, with several 5.10 pitches. Gear was tricky but usually there were ok cams, pins, and stoppers where it mattered.
Nearing the "trickey slab" pitch
One of the pitches that is supposedly the crux says to step right into a 10c crack. We found this pitch to be significantly easier and better protected than many of the other pitches on the route.
The "ice hose" pitch was thankfully dry, and involved engaging climbing.
Enjoying the exposure.
A final long pitch of steep rock brought us up to the last ledge traverse and the top of the upper headwall.
A chossy but easy traverse right brought us to the top of the wall. Great position!
Psyched to be done with the scary climbing.
Classic summit selfie.
Some sort of fossil I found on the final ledge traverse.
The route from the base of the first gully to the top of the upper headwall took us 14 hours. The route is very serious and engaging with significant loose rock. The harder pitches in general had better rock and enjoyable climbing.
We brought a single rack from #000 to #3 with doubles in .4 and .5, a small set of nuts, 1 LA, 2 KB's, 1 Bugaboo, an angle, and two screws. We didn't use the angle and only used 1 screw. We also could have ditched the doubles in .4 and .5 as there are only so many placements per pitch. We each took two technical tools, boots and crampons, rock shoes, and a piton hammer for the leader. Approach Notes:
The approach is straightforward and mostly on a trail. Scoping the face the day before made finding our way up the scree and into the correct gully easy in the dark. The descent is also very straightforward. Once topped out, traverse a long scree field maintaining elevation, and then descend a trail on the SW ridge. We hiked to Moraine Lake and then hitchhiked back to our car at the Lake Annette TH.