Bugaboo Spire, North Face, Tutti-Frutti Summer Love
Canada, British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Bugaboo Provincial Park
In early August, Tom Schindfessel (Belgium) and Vlad Capusan (Romania) established a long new route on the north face of Bugaboo Spire. After a couple of warmups on established climbs in the Bugaboos, the duo approached the north face and began climbing on August 8. They simul-climbed up to a large ledge and then traversed left of the ledge for 50m to reach a steep and surprisingly clean section of overhanging flakes. Here, they climbed a couple more pitches, fixed ropes, and returned to the ledge for the night.
During their second day on the wall, the team was confronted with dirty offwidths and some aid climbing. They eventually reached a second ledge, more than halfway up the wall, where they spent the night. Running low on water and seeing no options to fill up or melt snow, the pair decided to go light on the third day and push for the summit. According to Capusan, “The upper part of the wall was full of terrifying large blocks that looked as though they could fall at any moment, but we walked like cats and passed them safely.”
The pair reached the north summit of Bugaboo Spire at 7 p.m. and began rappelling toward their stashed gear on the second ledge. The descent went slowly, including a few stuck ropes. By the time they reached the ledge, they had been on the go for 19 hours.
In the morning of the fourth day, Capusan and Schindfessel returned to the Vowell Glacier. “We named our route Tutti Frutti Summer Love (610m, 17 pitches, 5.11+ A3),” Capusan said, “after a famous song that inspired us on the wall. We enjoyed every pitch, and the remoteness of the Vowell valley was outstanding. We had some nice crack climbing and some fun aid sections on the way. It was an amazing adventure from one end to the other.”
The new route stays mostly to the right of the North Face (Kor-Suhl, 1960) in its lower half, then climbs directly to the north summit, to the left of the 1960 route, on the upper wall.
– Chris Kalman, with information from Vlad Capusan, Romania