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[TR] Bugaboos - Pigeon Spire-West Ridge, Crescent Tower-Lion's Way 7/11/2014

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Trip: Bugaboos - Pigeon Spire West Ridge (5.4, 500m), Central Crescent Tower - Lion's Way (5.6, 6p)


Date: 7/12/2014 - 7/18/2014


Trip Report:

The Bugaboos are a collection of peaks in the Purcell Mountains of eastern British Columbia consisting of granite spires that tower dramatically over heavily glaciated terrain. MikeP and I spent 5 amazing days in this alpine climbing mecca.


We left right after work Friday and after spending the night at a friend’s cabin in Sandpoint, ID and 30 miles of dirt roads, we arrived at the trailhead Saturday afternoon with Flight of the Valkyries blaring over the speakers as Hounds Tooth, Snowpatch Spire, and the Bugaboo Glacier came into view.




Packing, wrapping the car in chicken wire, and mosquito killing then began in earnest. Now, we had reservations for 6 nights in the Kain Hut where things like a bunk, running water, kitchenware, propane stoves, toilet paper, and power outlets are provided. Despite these luxuries it turns out that a 6 day pack with climbing gear weighs a metric a**-load. Combine this with the unbearable heat and it took between forever and an eternity to get to the hut. Alastair, the hut custodian, greeted us and explained the ins and outs. Shortly thereafter we both agreed that due to our off-the-couchness and struggle lugging the pigs we deserved a rest day which we spent scoping out the Bugaboo Glacier alternate approach for the west ridge of Pigeon Spire, and then traversed over to the trail between Applebee Camp and the Kain Hut for a nice loop.


Pigeon Spire’s west ridge was our plan for Monday. The previous evening we met two women who had the same plan so we teamed up for the glacier travel approach. We all found the Bugaboo Glacier approach that follows along the south side of Snowpatch Spire and Pigeon Spire to be very pleasant and asthetic, esp compared to going up Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col.







MikeP and I simul-climbed most of the ridge with the exception of the two short sections of 5.4. The route was simply spectacular with endless fun easy climbing on incredible rock with views and exposure that didn’t stop.












By the time we got back down to the base of the ridge weather was clearly on its way in so we boogied back down the glacier, getting drizzled on just a bit. Later that evening it dumped while we enjoyed some quality reading time in the hut. We were pretty spent so we took another rest day, planning to climb the Kain route on Bugaboo Spire the following day.


We were up at 3 AM and made our way to Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and the base of the Kain route. Cracks were opening but it was passable without any shenanigans.




I had spent half of the previous day in the outhouse and by the time we got to the Col I was nauseous and generally feeling like crap so we bailed.




I was feeling better by evening and wanting to get on something else for our last day, we chose Lion’s Way (5.6, 6p) on Central Crescent Tower. The approach is mellow and short, and we were at the base of the route in just over an hour.







The route starts out with some 4th class climbing and then is mostly low 5th class with the exception of the 5.6 corner which was shorter than I expected (maybe 20’) and really fun.









The summit was comfy and provided great views, esp. of the NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire. Maybe next time!






Gear Notes:

60m rope. Standard alpine rack for Lion’s Way, err on the side of more cams and less nuts. Lighter rack for Pigeon (we used light protection, 30m simul climbing). Lightweight boots, aluminum crampons and ax. Glacier travel gear recommended for the alternate approach to Pigeon depending on time of year. Things were melting FAST.

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damn sweet. I miss me some bugaboo action. one of the most beautiful places around without a multi day hike in or a heli/plane ride.

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