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North America, Canada, Purcell Mountains, South Howser Tower, Serge Overkill

South Howser Tower, Serge Overkill. In mid-August, Steve Su and I tried to make the most of a week off of work and a 10-day spell of perfect weather. After ticking off a couple of Bugaboo classics, we hiked over from the Apple- bee Campground to scope out a new line near The Seventh Rifle on North Howser Tower. Nothing caught our eye, so we backtracked to the South Tower and found a line near the Catalonian Route. (Note: if approaching the west side of North Howser from Applebee Campground, one can shave 2-3 hours by going through East Creek and rapping down from the south.) By the time we got started, it was 2:00 p.m. We were equipped to spend the night on the wall, so we plodded upward undeterred by the prospect of sharing a sleeping bag on a pizza-box-sized ledge, which is what happened.

The route followed a 5th-class ramp system, which we soloed, into a gully where Soul Cinders continues up. Before getting committed to the gully, we cut left onto a wall with incipient thin cracks (5.11a) and continued up, probably sharing some of the Catalonian Route (we weren’t certain of its exact location in this section). We then followed a continuous crack system that led to a large ledge shared by the Catalonian Route. From the ledges we followed the leftmost crack system, which was 50' left of the Catalonian Route. Most of the climb follows hand-and-finger cracks (5.9-5.10+). The upper portion has good rock, but the rock on the lower portion is mediocre. Along the way we found very old rap slings. Marc Piché (author of Bugaboo Rock) seemed to think that these were from someone retreating off Lost in the Towers. Although we bivied once on Serge Overkill (V 5.11-), it would not have been necessary had we started at a reasonable hour. A competent party could climb this route in one day.

Ari Menitove