Bugaboos, various ascents. In August we started up an aid route called Doubting the Millennium (600m, 11 pitches, 5.10 A3) on the Minaret. After four pitches we gained the main dihedral, but after half a pitch we got lured by a big hollow stalactite followed by big hollow flakes on an overhanging wall to the right. We ventured on new ground for 4-5 pitches until we joined the Southwest Pillar route, which we followed to the top of the Minaret. We onsighted every pitch except one, which we redpointed, alternating leads and naming our variation Millennium Escape (600m, 11 pitches, 5.12-).
We later returned to free the original Doubting the Millennium at about 5.12c, the crux pitch being a technical thin crack protected by a rivet and three copperheads. We also climbed a new three-pitch direct finish to the original line and continued to the summit of South Howser Tower (200m of scrambling), only to see a thunderstorm coming at us. We hurried down as lighting came closer but lost hope when our ropes got stuck on the rappels. We sat on a small ledge like ducks waiting to be fried, but miraculously the storm passed right next to us, and we saw lightning starting forest fires in a valley below.
Next we opted for the smaller faces of the Pigeon Feathers. We thought we were climbing a new line on Lost Feather Pinnacle but ran into bolted belays on the first four pitches. After the crux pitch (5.12+ in thin cracks) we found no further sign of passage, so we’re not sure what the deal is. However, the climbing was superb with an incredible dihedral and a big-fist roof crack for the seventh (last) pitch.
With Ben Ditto on Wide Awake Tower, we climbed a free variation (Wide Awake Corn Flake, 8 pitches, 5.12-) to Wide Awake (8 pitches, 5.10+ A2). We avoided the crux A2 pitch by traversing left on a delicate slab to a roof and an enormous flake the thickness of a corn flake. We also added a direct finish to the climb. The next day we woke to 20cm of snow in East Creek and decided it was time to move out.
Nicolas Favresse, AAC, and Sean Villanueva, Belgian Alpine Club