American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Purcell Mountains, The Bugaboos, Bugaboo-Pigeon-South Howser-Snowpatch Enchainment

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

Bugaboo-Pigeon-South Howser-Snowpatch enchainment. I realized I was super-anxious to climb in the Bugaboos when I arrived at the Applebee Campground five days before my partner was scheduled to arrive. I figured I would keep myself busy hiking around and scoping out routes, but soon discovered solo potential. A lot of the classics were within my comfort level, from 5.4 to 5.9. After climbing the northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire and the west ridge of Pigeon Spire, I saw potential for an amazing day involving numerous classic alpine granite pitches and four of the best summits in the Bugs. On August 8 I awoke at 5:30 a.m. and was out of camp by 6:00. After repeating the northeast ridge of Bugaboo and west ridge of Pigeon, I journeyed to the South Howser. Soon I found myself on the ultraclassic Beckey-Chouinard, doing hand jam after hand jam. A few hours later I was sitting on an amazing summit in a spectacular granite arena. The next goal, Snowpatch Spire, was staring at me from across the glacier, but I had to get off the Howser Tower first. I had brought one 60m, 7.5-mm line for rappelling, but after asking around camp, I wasn’t sure one 60-meter rope would cut it. Turns out one rope worked until the last rap. My rope went from the last rock anchor to the top of the 40-foot bergschrund. Luckily, I had collected enough bail slings and ‘biners that whenall were tied together they extended the last anchor enough to put me into the ‘schrund. I showed up at the base of the Kraus-McCarthy on Snowpatch, gulped the last of my water, and began climbing again. At around 6:00 p.m., 12 hours after I had set out, I stumbled back into camp and slept like a baby.

Aaron Martin

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