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Climbing in the bugaboos
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trad_daddy


Dec 26, 2006, 11:23 AM
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Climbing in the bugaboos
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I'm heading to the bugs this summer and planning on trying the Beckey-Chouinard route on the South tower of the Howser Massif and the Northeast ridge of Bugaboo spire. I would appreciate any beta on permits, fees, reservations, routes, descending, approaches, best months to go, etc. from anyone who has been there.

thanks, TD


alexnees


Dec 26, 2006, 1:26 PM
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Re: [trad_daddy] Climbing in the bugaboos [In reply to]
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Here's a good place to start for info on permits, fees, etc.

http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility/kain.html

I would also mention that there are two guidebooks to the Bugs...one from Elaho Press (I think it's called simply "The Bugaboos"), and another one called something like "Bugaboo Rock". Make sure you get the Elaho Press guide...it's MUCH better, more detailed, better topos, etc. I learned that the hard way this past summer.

Have a great time...the Bugs are astounding.


west_coast_climber


Dec 26, 2006, 3:59 PM
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Re: [trad_daddy] Climbing in the bugaboos [In reply to]
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i'd also recommend the guidebook by Marc Piche and Chris Atkinson from Elaho Publishing called "The Bugaboos". there's also a great mountain profile of the howsers in Alpinist 14 if you can get your hands on it.

As for fees, you do have to pay to be out there... i can't remember what it is to stay at the hut, but at the applebee dome bivy site this last summer it was $10/night/tent and the "custodian" WILL come by to check for fees.

i haven't done the B-C, but i think the guidebook probably tells you all you need for the approach (although late in season (by mid/late august), getting there via the bugaboo/snowpatch col can get very icy and the rappel route on the snowpatch side is a little awkward to use when the snow level is low.

the route's pretty popular, so your best bet is to just talk to people when you get there. figure out what the conditions are like and when every other climber there is planning their ascent!Shocked


sixleggedinsect


Dec 28, 2006, 12:36 AM
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Re: [trad_daddy] Climbing in the bugaboos [In reply to]
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august is the month.

ne ridge: walk over and check out the approach rock. its a short walk from applebee and well worth the half hour journey so you know where you're going the next morning in the dark. there are good ways and bad ways up to the ridge. some even rope it up- it is full value '4th class' if its dark and cold and you're wearing boots and the route is not obvious or you're off. go up the snow patch, up the low angle crack-chimney-thing, and pull the first ten feet of the route. there, you did the crux. now hurry up and get down before the descent couloir gets too slushy. do pigeon w ridge first. its as worthwhile as either of the other two climbs, IMHO, and gives you a preview of the potentially heinous coulouir you will be descending after both of the other climbs.

BC route: another nice one to check out beforehand. most folks, when i was around, were doing it from a basecamp in the moraine below the climb. we did it from applebee and liked it better that way. it was a longer day, but in the end was far less work. no huge pack hauling to move basecamp, etc. how nice to top out and know you are three hours from homebase with no weight to carry. do it from east creek and you are three hours from east creek basecamp, and then an additional five hours of horrible pack hauling to get back to applebee.

the one tricky bit is the bergshrund descending into east creek. when the snow bridge gets thin, or there is a gap to cross, it could be pretty exciting at 4 in the morning. nice to see it beforehand. or at least get beta.

what to bring? we went with no axes, no spikes, but it is season and condition dependent. the one spot we wanted one or the other, or both, was negotiating that bergshrund. to avoid the gap, we had to downclimb 50 degree glacier snow/ice in the dark with the bergshrund yawning to catch us if we botched it. we kicked steps the afternoon before and they froze into reasonable steps for the following morning, but it was dicey.

i had a #10 hex and a C4 #4 for the BC. i woudl do it again with just the #4 no problems, and could go without it if my partner didnt want it. confident leaders can lieback the short crux that protects with the 4, and feel pretty solid. clean solid rock- a wide crack in a corner.

the BC is the plum of the area, at the grade anyways, and weather is the biggest unknown in the area. stack your odds and plan on the BC on the best weather forecast you get. save the other routes for the iffier days.

stay less than 10 days and youre taking chances with the weather. even in august.


ddriver


Jan 9, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Re: [sixleggedinsect] Climbing in the bugaboos [In reply to]
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sixleggedinsect wrote:
BC route: another nice one to check out beforehand. most folks, when i was around, were doing it from a basecamp in the moraine below the climb. we did it from applebee and liked it better that way. it was a longer day, but in the end was far less work. no huge pack hauling to move basecamp, etc. how nice to top out and know you are three hours from homebase with no weight to carry. do it from east creek and you are three hours from east creek basecamp, and then an additional five hours of horrible pack hauling to get back to applebee.

the one tricky bit is the bergshrund descending into east creek. when the snow bridge gets thin, or there is a gap to cross, it could be pretty exciting at 4 in the morning. nice to see it beforehand. or at least get beta.

You might also be able to bivy at the col between Pidgeon and the Howsers to shorten your approach and scout a bit. We did a gear drop there once and it seemed doable. We bivied on route on the BC, which was quite enjoyable in itself, as long as you can limit your gear. FYI, there is also a constructed bivy site at the base of the central tower that dates from the original ascent period.


cchas


Jan 9, 2007, 1:54 PM
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August is definately the month to be there. The NW route on Bugaboo will be a zoo so get an early start and there will be very slow people.- high up on the route there are places to pass though- the approach is a good indication of things to come. If you need to belay on the approach (not joking- I saw people do it) its probaby best to turn back since the descent is much worse then that. For the descent traverse up and along the ridge, you'll see a set of bolts as you guet to a high point and a short rappel down to a SMALL ledge (about 20ft) and traverse to a block will bring to to a flat spot hich will bring you back to the ridge (VERY exposed), and a long ridge traverse will bring you back to a short rappel and another scramble up a ravine to another ridge to a rap and descent.....

Good luck and probably see you up there. Will be up there gunning for a route next to the Becky Chouinard (AAtWatchtower) is the weather is good.


graniteboy


Jan 10, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Re: [cchas] Climbing in the bugaboos [In reply to]
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I agree. August is good. It's not a bad idea to take some instep crampons and an ultralight axe across the glacier to Howser. you might be able to leave that stuff near the pass, pick it up on your way back. Watch out for rockfall and wear helmet on the approach pass between Bugaboo and snowpatch.

NE on bugaboo is, as you know, a fine route. Which means that everybody and their sister in law are all over it. 2 methods of dealing with that are to be on route before 6 am or, if you're fast and don't mind gumbys dropping a little rockfall on you, just wait till 10 am when all the gumbys are up above and you can climb around em. The first few pitches have no decent "alternative passing lane pitches", so if you're stuck behind someone there, you're stuck behind them. Above, on he last few, you can cheat your way around folks a little. If you're truly smooth, you can be the last team on the rock in the AM and the first ones to summit. The descent is fairly obvious, down that kain route, with a couple rappels, but pay attention to rockfall and Lightning issues. Lightning issues can really put the kibosh on stuff in the bugs for sure.
WHile you're in the area, don't overlook the Sunshine route on Snowpatch ( the sunshine route on the north face, 10b, not the other sunshine route on the east face with the full pitch 5.9 unprotected chimney). It's a great ride, and mostly moderate...5.8/5.9.


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