The climb is straightforward, as the trail begins by rolling gradually up toward Saddleback Pass. Saddleback Pass is a col between Saddle Mountain and Fairview Mountain that gains 595 m in altitude within 3.7 km. The trail starts in a forest of lodgepole pine and spruce, and within 30–40 minutes emerges from the forest to a more severe grade of switchbacks. The openness of the switchbacks has the benefit of revealing superb views of both mountains. At the approach of the pass and its meadows, Mount Temple looms magnificently to the south (left) and Sheol Mountain directly ahead with a summit elevation of 2780 m.
At the apex of Saddleback Pass the trail splits in three directions, going left up Saddle Mountain, straight descending into Paradise Valley and right (northwest) resuming the way to Fairview’s summit. There is a sign here marking the correct route. Stop at this pass and enjoy the sights and the international tourists before climbing the remaining 411 m.
The trail cuts back into a small growth of trees, quickly giving way to a steep, rocky slope that begins to wind back and forth up the side of Fairview Mountain. This section is the most laborious part of the outing, as it climbs relentlessly on exposed switchbacks for the last stretch. There is no shame in stopping to catch one’s breath, as well as the spectacular scenery, while plodding up this slope of rubble. Too often we feel the urge to accomplish these scrambles in record time or to keep ahead of the group behind us. It is surprising to see how many people turn their wrist to look at their watch while climbing up such mountains. Although awareness of the time of day is necessary to avoid being caught in the dark, try hiking with your watch in your pack instead of on your wrist. It is not a race; go at your own pace.
Soon enough the summit is reached and the reason for the mountain’s name becomes clear. Mount Victoria is clearly visible 6.3 km to the southwest and Sheol Mountain 1.8 km directly south. Across the opposite side of Lake Louise are the peaks of Mounts St. Piran and Niblock. The prize on this hike, however, is the outstanding sight of Mount Temple. Avoid the temptation to descend the north face of Fairview Mountain summit, as it becomes steep with narrow ledges and many cliffs. Many day hikers have become trapped here over the years, and sadly one climber was killed in 1992 while going down this shortcut to Lake Louise.