Grizzlies – Smarter Than Your Average Bear

Who knew Grizzlies could count?

So today Rick and I were supposed to summit Mount Temple – an 11624 foot behemoth a stones throw from Lake Louise. To say we were stoked would have been an understatement. In fact, we spent a significant amount of time last night organizing our gear and laying everything out for the trek, including setting up a 4:45 am wake-up call.

I won’t lie, 4:45 am was painful. Really painful. But it wasn’t so bad considering what we knew we were about to do. We showered, packed, and made our way down to the main floor so that we could grab breakfast and our boxed lunches.

Shortly after 6:00 am we met up with Jason – the same fearless guide who led us up Cascade Mountain. Sadly, that’s when he had to inform us that Temple wasn’t going to happen. Not for weather, and not for dangerous conditions, and most definitely not because we weren’t up to the challenge. Temple couldn’t happen because of a law. A law about bears.


Grizzlies are clearly refined – dining only on meals of three or fewer hikers. Four would just be gluttony.

Specifically, the area that Mount Temple calls home is also home to Grizzly Bearsan important part of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem1. And because Grizzlies live in the shadow of Mount Temple, a law has been enacted to protect both bear and hiker. That law states that hikers may only enter the land of the Grizzly if they do so in groups of 4 or more2. Further, all members must maintain a maximum distance of 3 metres between each other. In other words – hikers need to stay close together – and not wander off from the group.

Unfortunately, despite our big smiles and bigger personalities, Rick, Jason, and myself were still only three people. Three is clearly less than four.

But not to fear, dear readers, all was not lost. Not by a long shot. Because Jason – our most excellent guide – had a fallback plan. That plan was to climb not one, but two mountains in place of Mount Temple – Mount Fairview (9003 feet, 2744 metres), and Saddleback Mountain (which isn’t as tall as Fairview – but I couldn’t find exact numbers on it). While neither mountain is as tall as Temple, both offered a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

Mount Fairview – conquered!

The day was fantastic – the weather was perfect, the views were amazing, and it was rather awesome to be able to climb two mountains when we had only thought we’d be climbing one. On top of all of that, Rick and I were able to cross off a few other of our to do items that had been given to us by several friends. Those items included: yoga on a mountain, singing for my friend Mel – a.k.a. @consuming_copy, and a jump shot or two (all provided below for your entertainment).

Anyway, now we’re just relaxing and enjoying the beauty that is the Fairmont Banff Lake Louise Hotel.

And don’t worry folks, we haven’t forgotten about Mount Temple. Rick and I will return – perhaps next year – to knock that off of our list.

Rick has conquered Mount Fairview.
Taking a moment to reflect on the climb.
Getting my jump on.
Enjoying the scenery.
Because it needed to happen.
Not my best bridge pose – but the rock was a little bit awkward.
So much epic scenery.
A tasty brew to celebrate our climb

Be warned – I can’t sing.

1 As posted on the signage we saw as we climbed Mount Fairview.

2 Who knew that Grizzlies could count? Clearly they are smarter than your average bear.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    Love the yoga photos, love the jump shot, hate that bears and their counting abilities screwed you out of Mount Temple! Let me know when you make plans to go back to attack that hike – I might want to come along. You know, to make sure you have a fourth!

    1. dangillis says:

      We should perhaps work towards improving bear numeracy. It should start with the cubs, because people always forget the cubs. Why don’t we think about the cubs?

      1. Beth says:

        I believe the cubs are our future
        Teach them numbers and let them lead the way

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