American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Bugaboo Group, North Howser Spire, West Face, First Free Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

North Howser Tower, West Face, First Free Ascent. On the evening of August 14, Kennan Harvey and I hiked to the Bugaboo Snowpatch Col on the way to the remote west face of the North Howser Tower. The next morning we descended to the base of the face. Prior to our attempt, a two-week dry spell left the rock relatively dry and perfect for free climbing. At the base of the face, a family of goats stood at the bottom of All Along the Watchtower. We climbed the first 10 pitches (up to 5.10) through nice cracks. We traversed off the Watchtower route to bivy at a snowpatch that provided water. The next morning, instead of downclimbing to the route, we did a long pitch of exposed 5.10 face climbing to reach the Watchtower dihedral. The corner that had not previously been entirely freed is 800 feet long and turned out to be sustained 5.11 with one 30-foot 5.12 section. From the top of the face, a long ridge leads to the summit. We spent a second night in the middle of the summit ridge. Six rappels down the east face finished the climb. The day we summitted, our friends Mike Pennings and Cameron Tague climbed the route in one day from the Applebee Campground. They climbed everything except the crux section free. We all found the route to be one of the finest free climbs we’d ever done.

Topher Donahue, uninhibited

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