American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Snowpatch Spire, Minotaur Direct; Eastpost Spire, Sick and Twisted

Canada, British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Bugaboos

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Jon Walsh
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

On August 19, Colin Moorhead and I rolled out of Golden at 6 p.m. for the Bugaboos. Fifty-one hours later we returned, having completed two new multi-pitch routes.

Our first line, Minotaur Direct (16 pitches, 5.11+) on Snowpatch Spire’s east face, was the culmination of a multi-year project dating back to 2011. That year, Colin and I started on Labyrinth and then ventured into new terrain on the Minotaur, beginning with what’s now its sixth pitch. We rejoined Labyrinth for its last three pitches after completing seven new leads, including free variations of the aid route Les Bruixes Es Pentinen.

In 2014, Michelle Kadatz and I established a five-pitch direct start to Minotaur. Over several more sessions, from July 2015 to July 2016, we continued to work on Minotaur ground-up, cleaning the cracks, bolting the stations, and pushing the direct finish until we were only 60m below the summit ridge. When Michelle’s schedule got too busy, she gave me permission to find another partner to finish the route. On a whim, I reached out to Colin, who was living in Squamish and usually busy guiding. He cleared his schedule and made the nine-hour drive for a quick trip into the mountains.

We stumbled into Applebee Camp by moonlight on the night of August 19. By 7 the next morning we were crossing the moat on the edge of Crescent Glacier and climbing into the sunshine. It took us about 14 hours round-trip to complete the route, including bolting the last two belays and brushing the final 60m on our way down.

The next day, despite feeling fully satisfied and quite sore, we decided we might as well attempt a shorter route before hiking out. Chris Brazeau and I already had a project going on the south face of Eastpost Spire, just ten minutes’ walk from camp. We had done two and a half laps on it in September 2015 and June 2016, putting in the route ground-up, on sparse gear, and then adding a few bolts later. Despite having both followed the crux second pitch clean, we had both fallen off it on lead. Chris, who was at Applebee at the time, suggested that Colin and I go for it without him, as it made sense to get it done before the short Bugaboo season ended.

So, after multiple coffees and meals at camp, we headed up to give it a go. We had low expectations, given our fatigue, but I ended up finally sending. After Colin arrived at the belay at the end of the fourth pitch, he said, “This is sick and twisted.” I agreed, and so the route name, Sick and Twisted (5 pitches, 5.12a), was born. It was surprising to discover something like this right beside the main climbers’ campground. But it just goes to show, there’s still plenty out there left to climb.

– Jon Walsh, Canada

Men With Options: Not previously reported in the AAJ, a new route on the east face of Snowpatch was completed in July 2014, between Labyrinth and Sweet Sylvia. Chris Geisler, Crosby Johnston, Josh-ua Lavigne, and Simon Meis worked on the 11-pitch line, Men With Options, which currently goes at 5.12 A1. The topo can be downloaded here


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