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specialforest

[TR] The Bugaboos - Pigeon Spire - W Ridge / South Howser Tower - Beckey-Chouinard / Bugaboo Spire - NE Ridge 08/02/2019

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Trip: The Bugaboos - Pigeon Spire - W Ridge / South Howser Tower - Beckey-Chouinard / Bugaboo Spire - NE Ridge

Trip Date: 08/02/2019

Trip Report:

Aug 2-8, 2019

Our initial plan was to head down to The Bugaboos a week earlier, but according to a weather forecast, a storm was coming, so we decided to wait it out. Luckily, several days later we saw another window of good weather. I’ve heard some people plan a trip months ahead only to sit in a wet tent with snow all around :tongue:. We used https://www.meteoblue.com/ for the weather forecast.

Itinerary:
Aug 2: Meet after work. Drive as far as we could. Spend a night at a campground along the way.
Aug 3: Drive the rest of the way. Hike to the Applebee campground and setup tents.
Aug 4: Leisure morning. Climb Pigeon Spire W ridge.
Aug 5: Alpine start. Climb South Howser Tower.
Aug 6: Rest day.
Aug 7: Alpine start. Climb NE ridge of Bugaboo Spire.
Aug 8: Hike down and drive home.

We did not bring chicken wire. There will be plenty. I’m not sure if it helps – I saw porcupines walking behind it, or make sure it's solid and there are no holes between the wire and ground. TH to the Applebee campground – 2.5h. The campground has tap water and plenty of toilet paper. The place is swarming with rodents. Don’t leave any food in a tent or a backpack – there are metal boxes and hangers for it.

IMG_20190803_190144.thumb.jpg.31c4e0f5a14747982ba4ec96ee584e6d.jpgIMG_20190804_172522.thumb.jpg.315f547e1e542997540e20df112cd829.jpg


Pigeon Spire - W Ridge

The route is longer than I anticipated. I’d call it three-summit traverse (the last is the true). We simul-climbed on the way up. On the way down, we did two rappels from the summit and down-climbed the rest unroped. I was wearing mountaineering boots.
Timeline:
9:25 – Start
10:25 – Top of Snowpatch col
11:20 – Base of the climb
About 13:15 - Summit
14:30 – Back to the base

IMG_20190804_122439.thumb.jpg.ee863d2bf0a153fc0300ae24a21f2c3b.jpg

Pigeon Spire on the right as seen from the summit of South Howser Tower:

IMG_20190805_194005.thumb.jpg.e0ec524c88da5bd1a31003004cfd849c.jpg


South Howser Tower – Beck-Chouinard route

I did wear boots until Pigeon col, then switched to approach shoes. For the rest of the approach we had one pair of crampons and an ice axe for both of us. There was stream water after descending the col.

We were lucky to have only three parties total on the mountain and we left the first at the base. We simul-climbed until the forth (5.10-) pitch. First few pitches after the bivy site seemed shorter, and watch for loose rock.

For rappels, we used 60m and followed instructions from Steph Abegg supplemented by @JeffreyW’s comments. Here are my additional comments:
#3 - stay on the ridge, at the end where will be a step down with a small ledge. When standing on the ledge bolt anchor is about climbers 1pm o’clock. Silly I were standing on the ledge, did not see bolts, swung left, and had to ascent a rope after.
#6 – after finishing #5 use nearby bolts. Rappel (walk) left (climbers) along the ledge, i.e. what Jeff describes as “rappel parallel to the handline down the scrambley ledge”, until find next bolts:

IMG_20190805_212739.thumb.jpg.420a95513171ccbe19ab052786d33a83.jpg

#last – the first person got lowered and extended rappel with a cordelette just in case.

Timeline:
3:40? – Start
7:10 – Base of the climb
11:15 – Big ledge
18:10 – Short rappel
19:40 – Summit
Shortly after pitch-dark – Finished rappels
1:20 – Back to the campground

Not as big, huh:

IMG_20190805_064811.thumb.jpg.b432c38c8894a67c4a3f52c5217eae6e.jpg

Standing on the summit:

IMG_20190805_192506.thumb.jpg.fccac701c3a1b3561775a02996718afa.jpg

North and South Hoswer towers:

PANO_20190805_192603_vr.thumb.jpg.202a7641445d3c8b910acb6da3d59199.jpg


Bugaboo Spire – NE Ridge

Scrambling up Bugaboo-Crescent col was fine, but there was one insecure move, that made my back chill. I tried to link first two pitches with 60m, but end up short 3-5m. Make sure to well extend the third pitch, because of its nature. Left variations and 5.10 to gain South summit were great. Scrambling down Kain route was endless. There are multiple paths, generally marked with cairns, do not drop down too fast and keep traversing skiers right. I can see why parties descending in the dark often get in trouble on this route.
Timeline:
5:00? – Start
5:50 – Base of Bugaboo-Crescent col
6:20 – Top of Bugaboo-Crescent col
7:00 – Base of the climb
11:00 – North summit
12:30 – South summit
15:40 – Top of Snowpatch col
17:00 – Back to the campground

IMG_20190807_062440.thumb.jpg.a634075a8bf367f027ec249d9fcbb5f7.jpgIMG_20190807_111537.thumb.jpg.ff93360e834dd97569d7737c00ccafe2.jpg

Traverse from N to S summit (looking forward):

IMG_20190807_115439.thumb.jpg.c4fd1b837e9b2eb42f5c742f86ef6f2c.jpg

Traverse from N to S summit (looking backwards):IMG_20190807_120306.thumb.jpg.a5a92ba8ddb496cb0f1d477c7645be63.jpg

 

Bonus

1. On the way home, we stopped by Kinsmen Beach at Windermere Lake to wash off all sweat and dust. It was delightful.
2. Below is my food plan. All food was portioned into zip-lock bags. What worked well: none left with no starving. Instant potatoes with tuna was the best meal. Egg noodles and cheese was the worst.

Fri Dinner    Grocery/Restaurant take out    

Sat Breakfast Buy a sandwich    
    Lunch     Buy a sandwich/etc    
    Dinner    Couscous                    363 cal
              Turkey Jerky                105 cal
              Pita bread                  140 cal
              Chocolate                   150 cal

Sun Breakfast Instant oat + powdered milk 300 cal
              + dried blueberries (oatmeal)
              Granola bar                 130 cal
    Lunch     Gummy bears                 180 cal
              Pita bread                  140 cal
              Trail mix                   250 cal
              Snickers                    250 cal
              Tailwind                    400 cal
    Dinner    Instant potatoes            392 cal
              Tuna                        160 cal
              Pita bread                  140 cal
              Garlic oil

Mon Breakfast Oatmeal                     300 cal
              Granola bar                 130 cal
    Lunch     Couscous                    320 cal
              Salami                      200 cal
              Pita bread                  140 cal
              Trail mix                   250 cal
    Dinner    Egg Noodles                 381 cal
              Cheese                      170 cal
              Chocolate                   150 cal

Tue Breakfast Oatmeal                     130 cal
              Granola bar                 300 cal
    Lunch     Gummy bears                 180 cal
              Pita bread                  140 cal
              Trail mix                   250 cal
              Snickers                    250 cal
	Dinner    Mountain house?

Wed Breakfast Oatmeal/Bars/leftovers      300 cal
              Granola bar                 130 cal
    Lunch     Stash some food at the car

 

Gear Notes:
A tent, two 8 oz fuels (we ended up using only one), jetboil, water filter. 8 singles, 6 doubles, 2x cordelette, BD cams .1-.3, doubles in .4-4”, 60m rope, grigri, set of BD nuts.

Approach Notes:
Some comments in TR
  • Like 2
  • Rawk on! 2

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Cool, nice work! Pigeon Spire is really a great route!

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Sweet!

Thanks for the details and pics.

A single 60 meter rope was enough?

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Thanks.  On the list before I get too creaky.  Looks fun.

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Posted (edited)

@Rad yes, but note that the last rappel on South Howser Tower may require an extension depending on snow level, so you don't end up in a moat.

Edited by specialforest
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