Friday, July 23, 2010

Mt. Temple - East Ridge (IV 5.7)

Mt. Temple - the East Ridge climbs the right hand skyline.

On Wednesday Shaun, one of my most skilled & fit guests, joined me for an awesome day of climbing on the mega-classic East Ridge of Mt. Temple. This is one of the best routes in the Rockies and is a huge day out with lots of good climbing!

Sunrise over the Valley of the 10 Peaks & Moraine Lake. Hard to beat the views in the Rockies!
Shaun near the base of the Big Step.
We left the car in the dark at 3am and were soon scrambling up nice blocky quartzite for pitch after pitch after pitch. We made excellent time and were quite a ways up the mountain by the time the sun rose. A couple more hours of easy rock climbing brought us to the "Big Step", a 200m cliff band of steep and excellent quartzite. It's not very often that you find rock this good on an alpine climb! The climbing was strenuous in spots but went smoothly and was lots of fun.

Shaun climbing solid quartzite on the first pitch of the Big Step.
Above the Big Step we continued up snow and rock to the infamous Black Towers of crumbling limestone. Although not as steep or difficult as the Big Step, the Black Towers are without a doubt the psychological crux of the route. According to National Parks rescuers, the record is 3 parties needing a helicopter evacuation in a single day, certainly not a place for the inexperienced! Despite the loose rock, the towers are fun in their own way and after a few pitches and some exciting moments we reached the upper glacier. From there, an hour of snow & ice climbing along the ridge led to the summit. It was nice weather on top and we were both psyched to have climbed such a fantastic route! The descent was hard on the legs but otherwise straightforward down the hikers route.
Nearing the top of the Black Towers.

On top of the Black Towers, with the void of the North Face dropping off on the Left.
J. Mills

No comments:

Post a Comment