|At the top of Mount Fairview. It will do. Most definitely.|
Yesterday when I went to bed, I set my alarm for 4:45 am. I was excited knowing that Mount Temple would be crossed off the list by the end of the day! Why did we need to wake up so early? Well, Mount Temple is the highest peak in the Lake Louise area. It’s also the most accessible peak greater than 11,000 ft. At a height of 3543 metres, this ultimate scramble to the summit is a task with an elevation gain of 1690 metres from the trailhead. In general, it takes close to 12 hours to complete. Wow.
Dan and I got ready quickly and headed down for breakfast. Upon meeting our guide Jason (the same Yamnuska guide from Cascade), we learned that we would not be attempting Mount Temple. Nooooooo!, I thought. The weather was forecasted to be great, and we were so prepared. But alas, in order to hike in the valley where the trailhead for Temple is located, it is required by law to hike in a group of four. Or as the signs read, “Group Access is Mandatory!” Due to some scheduling conflicts, we were only going to be a group of three: Jason, Dan, and myself. Alas, this meant we could not do Temple. *Sigh*. But by now, I’m an expert at combating bears, right? I’ve been preparing for the Big Mountain Challenge for months now. Can’t we should just sing show tunes! I’ll show them…
Jason’s backup plan? Instead of Mount Temple, we would ascend Mount Fairview, which towers above Lake Louise, followed by a traverse to Saddleback Mountain. Okay, so it may not have been as epic as Mount Temple, but this new plan would prove to be incredible. You win this round, Mount Temple. I’ll be back to conquer you!
We left the trailhead at 6:45 am as the sun was rising. It was quite serene to be the only hikers on Saddleback Pass. Very quickly we gained elevation and there it was. Mount Temple in the backdrop. Taunting us. Its glacier and snow gleaming at the summit. I began to shake my fist at it. “I’m coming for you!”.
For Mount Fairview, we veered to the right of the Saddleback. The ascent was not as challenging as Cascade, but it made for a great hike. The views around were gorgeous, which is expected when hiking in the Lake Louise and Paradise Valley areas. We reached the summit of Mount Fairview (2744 metres) after about 2.5 hours. Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier were in the distance, Mount Temple stood tall with the valley below, and Lake Louise appeared as just a tiny pond. If ever in the Lake Louise area, I highly recommend this relatively short hike!
It was then time to head back to the Saddleback and up to Saddleback Mountain. The elevation isn’t nearly as high as Fairview, but the rock scramble and ridge walk are quite fun! After many stops for photos, we headed back to the main trail and back to the Lake Louise parking lot for 2:45 pm, a full 8 hours after beginning the hike. It was quite an early return time, but that just meant we had a nice evening to relax :).
|Me and Jason, our Yamnuska guide, and Mount Fairview behind us|
|Mount Fairview: We conquered you!|
So, throughout the day, Dan and I assumed the role of Banff Lake Louise Tourism correspondents, and filmed a few videos explaining what we were doing throughout the day. We’ve had requests to sing show tunes while hiking, which makes sense since that IS how I prepared for the Big Mountain Challenge, right? By singing show tunes to keep the bears away? Since we were in bear country, we did just that. The first one may not be a show tune from a musical, but it seemed to fit, especially after reading the sign that enforced the Group Access requirement. The second… well that’s just fun! Either way, these are a bit painful to watch, ha!