American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Howser Spire: New Routes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1947

Howser Spire: New Routes. On 23 July 1946 F. D. Ayres, J. C. Oberlin, Edward Little and D. M. Woods climbed Howser Spire (10,950 ft.) by a new route. From a bivouac at the foot of the W. ridge of Pigeon Spire, they left at 5.30 a. m.; and they made good time across the snow slopes to the base of the very large bergschrund of the E. face. They easily crossed this bergschrund and climbed the rock of the N. E. ridge to its crest, a distance of 200 ft. The snow crest of this ridge was then followed for 600 ft., an extremely steep, narrow and corniced snow ridge. Woods led to the spot where the snow ridge ended in a dark rock tower that forms part of the main ridge. Ayres led from this point on. The face of this tower was ascended, with two difficult pitches requiring pitons for safety. The difficult rock climbing was for a distance of 150 ft. A series of snow-covered ledges and chimneys now led to the main ridge, which was followed without difficulty except at a very large gendarme, passed to the left (E.). The ridge from here to the summit, although spectacular, was quite easy. The summit was reached at 3.30. No record was visible. Descent was by the same route, with two long rappels—one at the gendarme on the main ridge, and the other down the rock tower to the top of the steep snow slope. Each rappel required the two 120-ft. nylon ropes tied together. The snow on the ridge was unconsolidated, and the descent was made slowly with belays. The party arrived at their bivouac at 10 p.m.

On 24 July 1946 Rex Gibson led Tom Johnston, Dave Wessel, Alan Styles, Ethne Gale and Margaret Finlay on another new route on Howser Spire. They camped on a bench several hundred feet above the “Boulder Camp,” left at 4.45 a.m. and went via Snowpatch-Bugaboo col directly to the N. ridge of Howser Spire. They ascended steep snow slopes, traversed around to the W. face of the N. Peak and reached the summit ridge by a 20-ft. wet chimney climb. They were four hours on the ridge, including passage of the big gendarme, and reached the summit at 2.05. Their descent was by the same route, with a rappel down the cliffs to the N. of the wet chimney. They reached camp at 8.30 p.m.

D.M. W.

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