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North America, Canada, Bugaboos, Snowpatch Spire, West Face

Snowpatch Spire, West Face. John Hudson and I arrived in the Bugaboos especially to try a new route on the west face of Snowpatch Spire, a long chimney breaking the face between the Buckingham and Beckey routes. On August 7 we started climbing at 7 a.m. at a point 200 feet right and below the chimney. I worked up to the right, passing a flake, then traversed left and up to a ledge (2 pitons, 120 feet). We then scrambled and climbed two leads up to the left to the base of the chimney. The next problem was to ascend a chimney to the right of the main chimney to its top and then to traverse left into the main chimney (2 leads of 100 feet, 3 pitons). The main chimney was ascended to the base of a large, capping chalkstone (1 piton, 100 feet), which was bypassed on the right (4 pitons, 80 feet). The next pitch was straight-forward to a notch on crest of the summit ridge (1 piton, 120 feet). After lunch, from this notch in the ridge with blank walls on either side of us, I rappelled 60 feet down an ice-filled chimney. I looked around the corner on the south wall and spotted a crack in an inside comer, which I nailed straight up. After seven pitons for aid, I was able to jam up a crack in this corner to a large platform (8 pitons, 90 feet). From here we traversed to a large ledge on the east face. John then led up a tricky ramp to the crest of the ridge (1 piton, 140 feet). We scrambled to the north summit at 3 p.m. Thirty pitons were used for protection, aid and belays. The cracks were abundant and generally good. It is a Yosemite grade three with a technical difficulty of 5.7 and 6.4.

Art Gran, Club de Montagne Canadien