6 or so weeks ago, Adam Campbell and I decided to spend our Saturday morning summiting Mt Temple (3544m/11627") near Lake Louise. We would go fast and light, aiming to beat the weekend crowds; minimal fuss, minimal equipment. The forecast was great, and after a bit of digging around online to find details on the route (neither of us had been there before) we came across an FKT boards post by local runner and Banffite Tom Amaral. Tom had raced up & down the scramblers route in 3h 44m. As we scrolled down the page, we saw that a BC visitor, Michael Burke had bagged the summit, car to car, in 3h 21m a few days earlier. His comment was that 'some fast local guys could go under 3h.' Gauntlet thrown down! Adam and I decided that we'd go out quick, and if we hit Sentinel Pass in under 55mins (Michael's split) then we'd keep on hammering. If not, then it wasn't meant to be, but we'd continue on at a more leisurely pace. Michael had summitted in 2h 30m, so it's definitely a grunt from the pass to the top of Temple, with some tricky route finding and a couple of scrambling sections along the way.
Arriving in Lake Louise it was clear that the conditions were perfect. Very little wind, clear skies, and nice temps forecast. We decided to forego much in the way of extra gear other than a light jacket in the pack and a pair of gloves. I wore shorts, a long sleeve and a buff on my head. I took 2 17oz soft-flasks with Vitargo, Adam felt one was plenty. I packed a single gel and my InReach Explorer emergency beacon. Lots of coffee was consumed on the drive in.
Despite arriving well before 6am the parking lot at Moraine Lake was busy and we barely got in! If you're planning on bagging Mt Temple, be prepared for an Alpine start!
I hit the watch at the trailhead and we were off. It was pretty hectic running over the first few km, passing by all the tourists, but as we approached Sentinel Pass, it was clear running, and I couldn't see anyone else ahead. The steep zigzags to the pass passed by quickly and as we crested I had 44mins on the stop watch, so we knew we were going well. OK, I guess we're gonna keep hammering. From here it was hands on knees with not much talking. The route was fairly obvious and within minutes we had scrambled through the crux rock bands without much difficulty. A few hundred meters of loose talus and we moved on to the steep trail on the other side of the ridge, where temps plummeted and we donned jackets and gloves. Before long we spotted a slower moving party up ahead approaching the summit. They were no doubt surprised as we raced by, grunted out our 'good morning's and along the final snowy, corniced ridge to the summit proper. I hit the lap button on the summit. 1h 46m 45s. A quick snap to prove we were there, then we were racing back down.
Fortunately there was very little traffic on the way down as there is definite potential for some rock fall. A clear trail also meant for rapid descending. We moved quickly and efficiently, taking care not to be reckless, as a slip could be disastrous. In no time at all we were scrambling down the final rocks to Sentinel Pass and we set off down the switchbacks at a really fast pace. As the trail leveled off below the pass, Adam pushed the pace hard and I struggled to keep up, but the thought of a sub-3 hour round trip was enough of a carrot for me to dig deep. I'm sure we startled a few hikers on the way down at sub 4min/km pace. The final sprint to the trailhead was crazy. The last 0.5 km was done at a 3:20 pace so I think I was running as fast as I ever have! I slapped the big rock at the trailhead and stopped the watch at 2h 42m 08s.
I finished with a gel in my pocket and a single full 17oz soft flask in my pack ;-) Enjoy the photos below.
**Addendum - it' now January 6, 2017. Adam suffered a serious accident a few weeks after this, fracturing his ankle, pelvis and spine. This morning, Adam and I hiked up Lady Mac, an amazing recovery by all standards. I realized on the way back down that I forgot to post this! Cheers Adam!**