American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Bugaboos, Pigeon Spire, North Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1962

Pigeon Spire, North Face. While we were camped at Pigeon Col, the nearby unclimbed north face of Pigeon Spire presented an obvious challenge. On August 5, the day after our arrival at the col, I cut steps across the north bergschrund and then Yvon Chouinard began nailing up an 80-foot direct-aid crack that we had selected as a direct route line. An hour later, I started up, recovering the pitons, and led up a section of slabs and cracks to a wide solitary crack that afforded the only route upward. After placing five pitons on a slightly overhanging wall, we retreated in an icy downpour, leaving two ropes in. When we prusiked back the next day, it was still so cold that the ropes were verglased in places. Yvon continued up the long aid pitch, using giant and regular angle pitons. The rock was glazed most of the way and the wind whistled. The route worked up a bulge and finally ended in an enjoyable layback which led to the first spacious belay ledge we had on the wall. The next lead was leftish up a vertical inside corner on jutting holds that appeared loose but were not; piton protection was excellent. The next two leads were easier, and we soon found ourselves adjacent to the prominent ice patch just beneath the summit notch. It was still early afternoon when we reached the top.

Fred Beckey

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