On the morning of 17 September 2017, Marta Wojnarowska, Zosia Zgolak and I rendezvoused with Asieh Ghodratabhati and Ali Shariat at Laggan's in the Lake Louise strip mall. Together, we drove to the unsigned trailhead at a large gravel pullout along Moraine Lake Road about 5.8 kilometres south of the intersection with Lake Louise Drive. Because it was larch-viewing season, Parks Canada was restricting vehicular access to Moraine Lake on this day, and we had some difficulty trying to convince the lackey at the controlled intersection to let us through. From the gravel pullout, we crossed the road and found a partially hidden trail heading into the forest. Thanks go out to Marko Stavric for tipping me off about this secret trail which provides the shortest and most direct access to Temple Lake.
Other than some deadfall near the start, the trail was in good shape as we climbed up along the south side of the outlet stream of Temple Lake. We soon intersected the Moraine Lake Highline trail at a footbridge which we crossed to continue up the north side of the outlet stream. Although we could have left the trail much earlier to hike up MAASZ Ridge, we decided to go the short extra distance to visit Temple Lake for jaw-dropping views of Mount Temple. Once we had our fill of gorgeous scenery, we backtracked a bit along the trail until we found a suitable place to hop over the outlet stream and gain the east end of MAASZ Ridge. There is some easy scrambling required along a rocky part of the ridge near the top, but otherwise, we enjoyed a very pleasant ascent with no difficulties whatsoever.
After taking an extended break at the top, we hiked further west for a glimpse of seldom-seen Ice Lake which turned out to be nothing more than two big puddles beside a lingering snow patch. Eager to catch a late afternoon movie back in Calgary, Asieh and Ali left the rest of us here to rush back to the trailhead. Meanwhile, Marta wanted to "touch" Mount Temple and actually scrambled a significant distance up the east side of the mountain while Zosia and I waited below. Marta eventually came to her senses and returned to join Zosia and me, and we retraced our steps over the top of MAASZ ridge and down the east end. The remainder of our hike back to the trailhead was quick and uneventful.
Just as I had done after hiking Little
Temple last year, we subsequently stopped at Barpa Bill's in Banff
town site for a Barpa Burger to cap off a very enjoyable and highly
recommended outing. Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
The group tags a false summit near the top of MAASZ Ridge. On the true high point of MAASZ Ridge (2452 metres) are (L
to R) Sonny, Zosia, Ali, Asieh and Marta. Zosia descends the east end of MAASZ Ridge.
Marta and Zosia enjoy a warm breakfast at Laggan's.
The group crosses Moraine Lake Road to the start of the trail which is hidden in the trees just right of centre.
Sonny crawls through some deadfall
along the trail.
After intersecting Moraine Lake
Highline trail, the group continues hiking up the north side of
Temple Lake's outlet stream.
The great hulk of Mount Temple comes into view in this meadow.
Marta crosses the remnants of a huge avalanche which likely came off the
slopes of Little Temple earlier in the year.
Mount Temple towers high above its
On the far shore is a research team
which is studying brook trout in Temple Lake.
Asieh and the other ladies traverse a
rubble slope near the east end of MAASZ Ridge. In the
background is Little Temple.
The group climbs past
some larches to gain the east end of MAASZ Ridge.
Despite the absence of a trail, the
east end of MAASZ Ridge is easy to hike up.
Marta hikes through the last of the
larch trees on MAASZ Ridge.
The group approaches the top of MAASZ
Ridge with Mount Temple looming behind.
Asieh, Ali and Zosia continue west
along the ridge towards Mount Temple.
Zosia watches Marta scrambling up the
east side of Mount Temple.
Here is a view of MAASZ Ridge from the
base of Mount Temple.
Clouds are reflected in beautiful Temple Lake.
Visible across the saddle between Mount Temple and Little Temple are
(L to R)
and Sheol Mountain.
A long and hot summer has nearly dried up Ice Lake.
Marta works her way through the last larches before regaining the
Zosia bites into a Barpa Burger at Barpa Bill's.
Distance: 8.6 kilometres (~4.5 kilometres round-trip via
Round-Trip Time: 6 hours 17 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 571 metres
Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak
The group tags a false summit near the top of MAASZ Ridge.
On the true high point of MAASZ Ridge (2452 metres) are (L to R) Sonny, Zosia, Ali, Asieh and Marta.
Zosia descends the east end of MAASZ Ridge.