FKT: Michael Burke - Mt Temple (AB, Canada) - 2019-09-07

Route variation
E Ridge ascent
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
2h 59m 8s

Yesterday I went for the FKT on the Mt Temple's East Ridge. I started very late (around 12:45pm), with the hope that the crux of the route, the Big Step, would be clear of other parties. The downsides of a late start were that it was very hot lower down on the route, and there was a risk of getting caught up high in an afternoon thunderstorm. The weather forecast was very good and if my time estimates were accurate, I'd be at the summit around the same time as most other parties so I figured a late start was a reasonable decision.

The guidebook descriptions I had memorized were very good and I didn't have too much problem route finding on the lower part of the route. The gullies to the right of the ridge were a bit harder than I was expecting. To me they felt harder than the Black Towers section. I made it to the Little Step in one hour and found it to be straightforward to climb in running shoes. I was at the Big Step in 1:15 and switched to rock shoes. I had studied a lot of photos of the Big Step so I didn't have much of a problem finding the easy way up, which felt about right for the grade. As I topped out the Big Step and switched back to trail runners, it began to hail and rain. Route finding up to the Black Towers was difficult for me and I became increasingly concerned about the weather. Hail was starting to accumulate on the ground and everything was getting wet and slippery. I followed cairns and traversed way further left than I had expected. Eventually I started working my way upward and reached the final ledge that traverses out along the base of the towers. I found the Black Towers to be very straightforward both in terms of difficulty and route finding. Even wet from the hail and rain (which thankfully had stopped by this point) it felt like mostly fourth class scrambling. Nevertheless, it was a great relief to top out onto the final ridge. The last part of the route is snow so I knew it would go even if it started to rain again.

My goal had been to climb the route in under three hours. After a quick transition to crampons, I checked my watch and saw I had 25 minutes to make it to the top. There was a team of 2 ahead of me putting in a nice track across the snow so I put my head down and moved as quickly as I could out across the ridge, following their footprints. The position on this part of the route is spectacular. I would have loved to just stroll across it at a leisurely pace and really savour the moment. I'll have to do the route again for that! The guys ahead of me were moving pretty quick too and I only caught up to them just before the summit. I reached the summit at 2:59:08, feeling pretty worked. Even though the FKT ends at the summit, the weather was still threatening and I was out of food and water so I began my descent immediately, making it down to the Moraine Lake trailhead in 4:05 total time.

1:00 Top of Little Step
1:15 Base of Big Step
2:35 Top of Black Towers
2:59:08 Summit (end of FKT)

4:05:14 Moraine Lake Trailhead