American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Bugaboos, North Howser Spire, The Shooting Gallery

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

North Howser Spire, The Shooting Gallery. In September, Christian George and I did a new route on the 3000-foot west face of North Howser Spire in the Bugaboos, British Columbia. The Shooting Gallery (VI 5.10 A2+), climbs the southwest buttress, starting 200 meters right of Seventh Rifle. The approach was far more serious than we had anticipated, requiring two carries and five days of effort. We believe that our route may intersect with the Southwest Face route at our 11th pitch, where we found an old piton. We placed a belay bolt and one rivet in 23 pitches, using a 60-meter rope. We fixed two pitches on the 23rd and then spent five days and four nights on the wall. We did find small ledges for our bivouacs, but were glad that we had brought a double portaledge. Our climb was predominantly free with many classic pitches in the 5.10 range. The only incident during our ascent was a major rockfall on the second night. The upper section of the cliff between the routes Mescalito and Seventh Rifle released some car-sized blocks, creating a massive rock avalanche which shrouded the cliff in dust for more than half an hour. Our portaledge was hit by many rocks, but luckily none were large enough to cause injury or damage. Climbers beware: This section of the cliff is very loose and definitely unsafe.

Mark Synnott, unaffiliated

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