North America, Canada, A New Route Past the Bugaboo

Publication Year: 1947.

A New Route Past the Bugaboo. The following note has been received from R. C. Hind :

“Climbing with the guidebook in my pocket is not a practice I indulge in. This omission, together with some misunderstanding during a discussion that Rex Gibson and Polly Prescott had on the subject, led to Rex and me making (on 18 July 1946) a new route around the big gendarme on Bugaboo Spire.

“Rex understood that this obstacle was to be passed on the right. Two pitons in a crack well up on the right side of the pinnacle seemed to add weight to this theory. I tried three times to cross to the right on very small cracks on the face of the gendarme, but had to give up. We were so sure that the route was to the right that we did not even consider what we have since discovered to be the usual route.

“More to see where my efforts would have led me than for any other reason, I climbed around the base of the gendarme to the right, as shown in the sketch. The dictum of no less a climber than Conrad Kain was that this would not go, but we were still sure that we must go to the right. The corner behind looked hopeful, and I climbed up onto a flake and from there to two small ledges on a vertical face. The gendarme now towered on my left, forming a square corner with the face on which I stood. In this corner, about 7 or 8 ft. up, several rocks projected. These appeared quite loose but tested firm. About 10 ft. above was a broad ledge.

“Using the projecting rocks as handholds, and with my feet against the gendarme in a sort of modified layback, I worked my way up until I could reach the platform and haul myself over. A 10-ft. pitch above this brought us out on the ridge, where we discovered a piton and several rope slings. We had climbed up where more sensible people rope down !

“This is the most difficult pitch I have seen in the Canadian mountains and compares with the best of the British rock climbs. I did not get a chance to return and compare this route with the line usually followed, but from descriptions it sounds as if the latter is more delicate and possibly hardly justifiable in view of the exposure and lack of support from the rope.”