Chris messaged me a couple of days ago about trying to ski the south west aspect of Temple. I haven’t been skiing all month and figured I’d give it a shot due to what looked to be good weather for such a line. We decided to bike into Moraine Lake in the evening, bivy in Larch Valley and hit up Temple at first light. After hearing the road was completely plowed and a bivy permit in hand we set off around 5:30pm yesterday (May 19th).
We passed a lot of bikers and hikers coming from Moraine Lake as we headed in. The road was dry and completely uncovered, great condition for those looking to get in before they open it to traffic on the 21st. At the lake we switched from bike gear to ski gear and started up the trail.
The summer trail had plenty of snow lower down but once at the switchbacks the snow became patchy. The snow didn’t stop one person from walking all the way to Larch Valley (although it didn’t look all that pleasant) and we found him with a camp setup directly on the trail.
Once at Larch Valley we found ourselves directly below the south aspect of Temple. There was almost no snow, in fact I think there was more snow on it last September. We had 3 options we figured, stay the night and see what we get, head further up the valley to see if there was any skiing left doing or go home. It was 8:30pm already but we figured we could get out in the dark on the road. We had a bite to eat and started back down the trail.
We got to the parking area fairly fast, repacked for biking and we were off down the empty road. Thankfully it is mostly downhill on the way out and we were at the parking lot just as it got dark.
While in the Moraine Lake area we heard several avalanches. Many slopes have or were sliding on the new snow that dropped in the last few days. The winds were high and I heard reports of high winds during the last week. It doesn’t look like snow depth in the area is very good, even 3/4 Couloir looks questionable to me. The Fay lines are mostly bare ice or thin. The snow in the area seemed to be mainly depth hoar/facets that had gone iso, good refreezes are tough with that garbage.
The good new is people should be able to climb Temple early this year, the trail to Larch Valley can be walked now for those extra keen but once at treeline you will probably want skis or snowshoes and be early to catch a crust.
Pretty sure this is my last day skiing for this season, pretty happy with 123 days on skis and it seems like we won’t have the snow depth for the skiing that we usually get away with during summer. Below are some zoomed in pictures of 3/4 Couloir.