American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Interior Ranges of British Columbia, South Howser Spire, Northeast Butress, Bugaboos

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

South Howser Spire, Northeast Buttress, Bugaboos. In the summer of 1990, Jon Turk and I climbed an excellent route on the left side of the east face of South Howser Spire. On the approach, we could see other inviting lines. In August of 1991, we returned to one of these and found it at least as good as the 1990 route. We ascended the edge between the east and north faces and finished on the north face. Two pitches of ice and seven of rock led directly to the summit. We climbed two intricate pitches of ice to a small cave at the bottom of the Ice Hose route. The Ice Hose had degenerated into a dirty, loose gully mostly devoid of ice. We stemmed out of the cave to gain the wall above and moved right for an easy pitch to a crack leading through a roof at 5.9. The crack led upward for two pitches to a rubble-strewn ledge on the northeast edge of the spire. We scrambled westward across the ledge for 75 feet to two soaring dihedrals, the second of which rose from the end of the ledge. Each of the left-facing comers was split by many cracks. We chose the first and followed it for two pitches of 5.10 to a tiny but level stance. From there a short, unprotectable pitch of 5.9 led to easier ground and the summit. We rappelled the Beckey-Chouinard gully directly back to our ice gear in the cave. The upper part of our route may or may not coincide with the north-face route done at 5.6, A2 as a part of the 1965 Chouinard-Lang-Rayson- Tompkins traverse of all three Howser Spires. In any case, it goes free on some of the best rock in the Bugaboos. (9 pitches, IV, 5.10.)

Gray Thompson

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