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[TR] Bugaboos - July Long Weekend- Various 7/3/2006

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Climb: Bugaboos - July Long Weekend-Various


Date of Climb: 7/3/2006


Trip Report:


I`ve wanted to go into the Bugaboos for several summers now and after being denied by snowstorms two years ago I decided this would be the year. Unfortunately, with my work schedule being what it is I would have to fit it in over the long weekend. One of my friend`s, Krystil, would be going into the Bugs the week before so I would have at least one partner if I wanted to do the drive by myself. This however, would not be a safe or pleasant idea so luckily Adrian and Bram gladly came along to make us a threesome. We left Hope at 5pm. The first part of the drive went fast but after Golden the coffee started to wear off and we were struggling to keep going. All of us were tired, especially Adrian who almost hit a dear between Golden and Brisco. The incident may have helped wake us up but left us a little rattled. After that experience, Adrian decided to have a redbull and kept his eyes peeled to avoid roadkill. Did you know that in Oregon you have to carry out the carcass if you hit an animal on the highway? Well, at least we`re not in Oregon. I was imagining that scene from the John Candy movie where the dear wakes up inside of his car and they both start screaming.


By 2:30am we were in our sleeping bags with chickenwire around the car to help keep out the Bugaboo “beasties.” I think we each got about 2hours sleep that night. The sun comes up damn early this time of year and the mosquitos were going crazy by 4am. I ended up wearing my long underwear over my head but it provided little relief. We packed up and headed for the Kain Hut to go find Krystil. By the time we left the parking lot we had decided the Bugaboos were a hostile place. Not only did they have gasket eating porcupines, but they also had bird sized mosquito swarms. At least the approach was easy. In two hours we were at the Kain Hut and we got to surprise Krystil and wake her up. We had some breakfast and socialized with a group of climbers from Utah before heading up to Applebee Dome to pitch the tent.


Adrian and Bram were feeling pretty spent from the driving marathon so I decicided to join Krystil to climb Mctech Arete. This climb is amazing. The second and fourth pitches were among the best climbing I`ve ever done and we topped out in the afternoon sunshine. The Northeast Ridge of Bugaboo was stunning and we were impressed by the view of the peaks to the north (the Vowells maybe?). The descent felt a bit weird because all of the rappel anchors are bolted but once you get down on the glacier you`re reminded that you`re still in the alpine. We were back in camp for a tortellini feast and some tea. We were still pretty sleep deprived so we decided tomorrow would be a sleep in day.


On day two we did a great job of sleeping and we didn`t leave camp until 11am. Hardly an alpine start but considering our objective was the West Ridge of Pigeon we weren`t too stressed about starting late. Little did we know that we were making a big mistake leaving at such a casual hour. As we started up the West Ridge at 1pm the beautiful blue sky began to fill with big dark clouds and a notorious Bugaboo thunderstorm was upon us. The rock started buzzing and I felt a shock hit the back of my head. It was a truly terrifying experience. We quickly scrambled down the side of the ridge to the lowest point we could find and tried to get rid of as much metal as possible. Bram was kind enough to tell us some stories of climbing in the Dolomites where climbers die not from the lightning strike itself but from the shockwave blowing them off the mountain. Bram chose to build an anchor which he connected himself to with a sling. The rest of us just huddled there and shivered trying to remain calm. I remembered laughing as someone said that they forgot to bring their pampers. I think we were all pretty close to filling our pants.


That evening in camp we made plans for the next day. The original plan was to climb the Northeast Ridge of Bugaboo Spire but we decided that it was just too risky. Even if we left at 4am we figured we wouldn`t make the summit until 12pm leaving us very little time to get off the summit before “thunderstorm time.” We figured tomorrow would be a carbon copy of today and if the storm hit at 1pm as it had today we would be in big trouble.


We decided that a less risky option would be to climb the Buckingham Route: The Enjoyable Way, a 5.8 romp up Snowpatch Spire. We left at a proper alpine time of 4am and were climbing the route by 6am. It was a little cold considering it was in the shade but we had a great time. The climbing is quite easy. Most of it felt like low fifth class with a few 5.7 pitches to the summit. My 7mm static line worked really well as a rap line. On the sixth rappel Adrian and Bram got their rope stuck. Luckily, Krystil and I were still above them so we were able to free it. We made the same mistake and Krystil led back up to free up our ropes from the rope eating crack. Later that night I went out and soloed the Lion`s Way on the Central Crescent Tower. I was impressed with the quality of the climbing and thought that if it was harder than 5.6 it would deserve three stars instead of two. I was a bit pissed we hadn`t done the Northeast Ridge on Bugaboo as the weather was excellent all day but this route helped make up for it. The route tops out on an excellent summit and the view was amazing.


On day four we awoke to rain. To our amazement Applebee Dome was nearly deserted by 8am. The hike down was nearly uneventful except for the startling discovery of a lone hiker with his pants down along the trail. I guess someone had a little too much coffee in the morning and needed to relieve himself (I guess he also forgot his pampers?). Whatever his excuse it was not a pleasant sight to wake up to. By the time we arrived at the cars the clouds had cleared and we were giving each other high fives and we decided the trip was a great success despite the thunderstorm. We made a stop at Taps Pub in Golden and for a quick dip in the pool at Rogers Pass. There were several accidents along the way so I hope everyone made it home safely from their weekend trips. Thanks for the wicked time Bram, Krystil and Adrian





Adrian fortifying the beast proof Honda



Hound`s Tooth and the Bugaboo Glacier



Krystil with Crescent Towers behind



Krystil on P.1 of Mctech with the Utah climbers on P.2



me on P.4



Krystil scrambling to the top of Crescent Spire with Bugaboo Spire behind



Pigeon Spire and Snowpatch Spire



Adrian roping up



crossing the Upper Vowell Glacier with Bugaboo Spire behind



Scrambling up Pigeon Spire



Retreating from Pigeon Spire after the storm



Applebee Dome



sunrise on Snowpatch Spire



Sunrise on Eastpost Spire



Krystil and Adrian on Buckingham Route: The Enjoyable Way



rapping off Buckingham Route



last few pitches of Lion`s Way



bouldering in camp


Gear Notes:

nuts, tcus, cams 1" to 4", extra #2 and #3 camalots for Mctech Arete


Approach Notes:

Kain Hut Trail

Edited by tlinn

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WOOHOO! thanks for the stoke, heading there later this month!


what route at the McTech Arete area did you do?

did you have to use two ropes for the rapels or would one work?

did you ever figure out a way to rapel the Buckingham route without getting ropes stuck?


thanks for the great pics and trip report.

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The route we did was the actual "McTech Arete", up Crescent Spire: we raped with one 60m rope; just barely, we were definately at the end of the rope between stations, but it worked.


The rope didn't get stuck in too bad a place while rapping off of Buckingham route; I just had to lead back up about 10m of easy 5th class and then down climb, it wasn't too bad of an inconvienience at all.


Have fun!

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I think what she meant to say was rapped... shocked.gif


At least as far as I know. hahaha.gif

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RocNoggin, there are many excellent routes there besides McTech Arete 5.10 but I would definetely recommend Mctech because I don`t think the climbing can get much better. Paddle Flake Direct 5.10 is also supposed to be excellent as well as Energy Crisis 5.11+. Bring lots of big gear.


The rappel route is all bolts and is marked by a small cairn. Some of the stations are a tad difficult to find. You could do it with doubles if you wanted to save time but I would save the weight and just bring a single rope.


With regards to buckingham we had our ropes get stuck on the second last rappel. I believe there is another station you could use to break up this rappel into 2 but I would bring some webbing to back up the sketchy old slings.



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Don't forget your big gear when you head to the bugs. At the last second I ditched everything bigger then a number three and regreted it big time of the B-C.

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Don't forget your big gear when you head to the bugs. At the last second I ditched everything bigger then a number three and regreted it big time of the B-C.

While staying at the Kain hut a few years ago, I watched two guys prep for a one day hut-to-hut ascent of the B-C. They debated for half an hour over whether or not to take a #4 Camalot. Eventually, the guy who didn't want to take it comitted to leading any pitches where they expected it would be useful. He must have been a follower of the Talk-Action=0 philosophy. laugh.gif

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