American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Purcell Mountains, Bugaboos, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Bugaboos, various ascents. On East post Spire in August, Aleksey Shuruyev, Elizabeth Whitcher (age 17), Sam Adelman (age 17), and Andrew Freeman put up two new routes that, combined, would make a logical seven-pitch outing up the center of the south face. The lower route, Gabriel’s Face, climbs two pitches (5.8 and 5.10) on the lower wall (where some other two pitch routes exist on the left side) and ends at a big walk-down ledge. Their second route, Afternoon Delight, begins on the ledge, slightly down from the end of Gabriel’s Face and 15' left of a prominent left-facing dihedral. Afternoon Delight’s five pitches go at 5.7, 5.8, 5.8, 5.9, and 5.7.

After the above climbs Shuruyev and Whitcher tried a new line on the east face of Snow- patch Spire, between the regular and Beckey-Mather routes, but retreated after eight pitches (up to 5.10). They were two or three easy pitches from the summit when Shuruyev broke a hold and fell 30', resulting in a broken ankle, a forced bivy, and a helicopter rescue.

To rehab his dislocated hip, Janez Ales underwent an impressive physical therapy regiment, soloing eight routes, including Sunshine (Snowpatch Spire), the Beckey-Chouinard (South Howser Tower), and All Along the Watchtower (North Howser Tower). In accordance with the preventive mindset of rehab, Ales self-belayed all non-scrambling sections.

North Howser Tower continues to receive considerable attention, and from September 7-8 on the 1,000m west face Ulysse Richard and Manuel Quiroga freed Seventh Rifle, at 5.11b. The pair reportedly encountered much loose rock and wet/icy chimneys. This was initially thought to be the FFA, but it appears that Mike Tschipper and Ward Robinson freed it in ca 1986, thinking it to be around 5.10c.

Dave Russel and Chris Harkness climbed North Howser’s west face over eight days in July, enduring a blizzard, rockfall, being hit by lightning, and running out of food, while thinking they were on a new route. However, Harkness reports, “after further study [including talking with Hugh Burton], I feel like we may have mostly repeated The Warrior (34 pitches, VI 5.9 A3, Burton-Sutton, 1973). After gaining the large snowy bivy ledge, we followed a crack system to the right of the main dihedral. We climbed up, then right across a ramp, and then straight up 500' of 5.9/A3 crack systems and flakes, before connecting with the dihedral.”

Of note to future parties, the pair established a rap route down their ascent line, with the first rappel being two bolts on the far left side of the ridge, just before it cliffs out. Some raps, especially the eighth, are over 60m.

Also on the west face of North Howser, Bean Bowers and the indefatigable Dave Nettle not only blitzed All Along the Watchtower (34 pitches, VI 5.10 A2 or 5.12-) in 11 hours, but Bowers freed all of the climb (on lead, follow, or solo on easy sections). This is likely the first time the route has been freed in a day.

On South Howser and the Minaret a couple of days later, Bowers, Nettle, and Chris Swetland did a new free linkup that they called Bad Italian Hair. Beginning with Bad Hair Day (V 5.12-) via a new 5.10 start, they then joined the Italian Pillar (V 5.11+) and continued to near the top of South Howser from where, on easy terrain, they descended in high winds.

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