American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Purcell Mountains, Bugaboos, Snafflehound Spire, Snaffleophagus

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Snafflehound Spire, Snaffleophagus. The northern part of the Bugaboos has a collection of less-impressive spires called the Vowells. The rock tends to have less-perfect lines and less- climbable features than the Bugaboos proper. Overall we were a bit disappointed in the many lines that turned out to be unclimbable seams, but in late August Vera Schulte-Pelkum and I did find an eight-pitch new line up the previously unclimbed east face of Snafflehound Spire. We climbed it after two attempts, following a corner system up the middle of the face. It was mostly good crack climbing in the 5.10-5.12 range, with one heinously thin 5.13- pitch that is probably the first 5.13 in the Bugaboos. It follows a nearly blank, overhanging corner that is unfortunately positioned above a teetering pillar the size of a truck, which would make a painful landing if too many of the thin pieces pulled out. I redpointed the dicey pitch with preplaced gear, which included thin pins and a beak. The beak did hold a fall when a handhold broke, but I have no ethical insecurities if someone wants to add bolts to the pitch to make it more fun. Vera skipped the crux redpoint but had her own thrilling moments on other pitches. We rapped from the top of the face rather than join the East Ridge route, which follows a broken but beautiful ridge to the summit. Snaffleophagus (IV 5.13- R).

Topher Donahue, AAC

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