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Bugaboo Spire
Select Route:
Cooper-Gran (East Face) T 
Divine Intervention T 
Kain Route (South Ridge) T 
North East Ridge T 

North East Ridge 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1500', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Craft/Isles - Sykes/Turner August 1958
Page Views: 36,706
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Nov 22, 2006

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High on the ridge with Brenta Spire and Cobalt Lak...

Description 

A classic moderate alpine rock route of the highest caliber. Excellent rock on one of North America's great peaks.

The route begins at the Crescent/Bugaboo Col, to reach this cross the Crescent Glacier, then climb Class 4 rock (pretty scary in the dark) to the Col. Make an alpine start.

The route starts on the left of a small pinnacle, and for the first three pitches keeps left of the crest of the ridge proper (5.7 maximum). The rest of the route follows the crest, up fun cracks, and then chimneys (5.7 maximum) to a final puzzling bit up over a block to the North Summit, so around to the right (SW), and then up to the top.

Descent (avoiding the South Summit):
Take exposed ledges on the NE side and head for a vee notch left of the South Summit. There's a rappel anchor here which will take you, with some scambling down to the Kain Route - descend the Kain Route, rappeling when necessary until easier ground and scambling leads to the Bugaboo/Snowpatch Col. Descend this with caution.

Protection 

Standard alpine rack. An ice-axe and perhaps crampons are also required. Double ropes might be handy for the descent.


Photos of North East Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Les M absorbing the awesomeness of Bugaboo's NE Ri...
Les M absorbing the awesomeness of Bugaboo's NE Ri...
Rock Climbing Photo: Here's a good view looking up at the NE ridge
Here's a good view looking up at the NE ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: View on the way down
View on the way down
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping off the top of Bugaboo spire after climbin...
Rapping off the top of Bugaboo spire after climbin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Heading to the belay station at the top of Pitch 3
Heading to the belay station at the top of Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Morning light on the ridge
Morning light on the ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: Taking the 5.9 hand crack variation off the belay ...
BETA PHOTO: Taking the 5.9 hand crack variation off the belay ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Midway through the summit traverse to the descent ...
Midway through the summit traverse to the descent ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Northeast Ridge, Bugaboo Spire Photo by MP contrib...
BETA PHOTO: Northeast Ridge, Bugaboo Spire Photo by MP contrib...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bugaboo with (North) East Ridge in profile and Nor...
Bugaboo with (North) East Ridge in profile and Nor...
Rock Climbing Photo: John Fujii on Pitch 1.
John Fujii on Pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: first and second pitches of the NE Ridge
BETA PHOTO: first and second pitches of the NE Ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: Bugaboo Spire NE ridge
Bugaboo Spire NE ridge
Rock Climbing Photo: July 2006
July 2006
Rock Climbing Photo: Lisa Foster and Paul Kejla third-classing the appr...
Lisa Foster and Paul Kejla third-classing the appr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Map for Northeast Ridge, Bugaboo Spire contour int...
BETA PHOTO: Map for Northeast Ridge, Bugaboo Spire contour int...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Tennessee rappels towards the Gendarme on the...
Tony Tennessee rappels towards the Gendarme on the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lovely granite on the NE ridge of Bugaboo.
Lovely granite on the NE ridge of Bugaboo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Typical great rock up an obvious line
Typical great rock up an obvious line
Rock Climbing Photo: Fred Batliner at the start of Pitch 3.
Fred Batliner at the start of Pitch 3.

Comments on North East Ridge Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 19, 2016
By Tyson S Arp
Feb 22, 2007

I've got several photos and a trip report here.
By Dr. Evil
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 7, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great route.

People will tell you to do the Kain route before the NE ridge, so you are familiar with the descent. The party we met who ignored this advice and wound up spending 2 nights on the spire can confirm that this is good advice.
By pierceadams
From: Santa Fe NM
May 5, 2008

this was the first REAL BIG route that I did, though I didn't lead any of the pitches. We got pinned down on the rappels by lightning, which actually buzzed us three times. Was pretty darn scary, but the climb location was astounding.
By Brad Brandewie
Jan 19, 2009

More photos and a TR at piquaclimber.com

Cheers,
Brad
By Goodhue
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 12, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Meh, we had no problem "on-sighting" the descent. Was my first BIG alpine route over 1,000' too. Just stay skier's right as much as possible when coming down the Kain, and constantly be checking your partner's ideas for where to go ("hm, maybe we should go this way instead").

Otherwise, awesome route. This little New England climber in the big Bugaboos had his mind blown. The setting and exposure were incredible.
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Feb 25, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

November 2010 update: Due to extreme melting, The Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col rappel anchors were removed late summer of 2009. Last summer (2010) new rappel bolts were put in and using the col was much improved.

The photo shows my crude map of alternative routes used to get around the bugs. I'll post a better map for this route this winter.

Rock Climbing Photo: Bugaboo Northeast Ridge Approach Map  contour inte...
Bugaboo Northeast Ridge Approach Map

contour interval 100 feet

Red Dots - Old routes, like Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col

Blue dots - East Ridge of Bugaboo Spire.

Blue dashes - Approach and descent via the Snowpatch Rappels, used in 2009 after the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col fell apart.

Blue "R" - Snowpatch Rappel Route. ACMG reported crossing 25 degree "bare ice" to get to the first rap anchor. The guide also stated that his party was able to reach the anchors without crampons in softer late day conditions.
By builttospill
Feb 25, 2010

I disagree completely re: adding anchor stations and cleaning the NE Ridge. I climbed the NE Ridge after the rockfall in the col this summer. Descending the Kain route was no major problem, and we went down the Snowpatch rappels. It added to the "adventure" of the whole day, if anything.

Don't turn the NE Ridge into another cragging route. It doesn't need fixed anchors, and it should never really be necessary to use it as a descent, as far as I'm concerned.

Edited: Since Ken edited his post, mine makes a bit less sense now. The way around Snowpatch (Snowpatch rappels) does suck for people camped at Applebee. It's demoralizing to climb back up to your campsite after a long day. We did it, and if you were really blasted after doing the NE Ridge, it would really take a toll. It's not ideal, but we wanted to avoid that col. A couple of groups did come down the col (one of them in the middle of the night, no less), but it looked pretty sketchball to us.
By harihari
From: VANCOUVER
Aug 9, 2010

A SLIGHTLY FASTER DESCENT

After Summit scrambling across the col from the North Summit to the South, you have the option of either

a) doing an epic reach and 5.10 move up (and to climber's left) for about 6m to gain the summit.

b) Rapping down about 15-20m, then traversing to climber's left, and up (a short pitch of 5.6 or so), to find another rap station just off the South Summit. You then have to rap off the South Summit.


You can save yourself one pitch and one rap if you do (b), and from the bottom of the rap, lead out and traverse slightly down to climber's left in an easy, 20m 5.5 pitch. This takes you to the chains from which it is one rap to the Gendarme.
By harihari
From: VANCOUVER
Aug 9, 2010

The Kan Route, IMHO, is a piece of junk, unless you cannot lead 5.7. It is long, wandery, with tons and tons of crappy snow and scree walking, and only a few pitches of decent exposure.

If you have the Elaho guide (Piche/Atkinson) the descent should be no problem, esp. when following the fifteen other parties sure to be on the route with you ;-)

I would honestly say, do not waste your time doing the Kain as rekky. Save your energy for something way more awesome...like the Snowpatch Route!
By Robert Hall
Administrator
Feb 29, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

I agree with "harihari" no need to recon the Kain route. About the only thing you need to know is the rap from the Gendarme goes down the unlikely-looking East Face side, to a hidden ledge...but all the guidebooks point that out now. (They didn't in 1969 when we did the (North)East ridge as our first route in the Bugaboos.)

Unknowingly, we rapped down the face of the Gendarme with our single 60m 9mm rope. I suspect the 2" Aluminum bong (piton) is probably still in the crack in the nitch I found very near the end of the rope!...because no one goes there either on the "up" or the "down" these days!
By Andy Munas
From: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Apr 8, 2016

After two years of climbing experience, this route blew up my perspective of what I can achieve. What an amazing day! If you are even just kind of entertaining the idea, don't hesitate - get to the Bugaboos.

The "solo/simul" climbing to the col seems to be hit or miss for some parties. My partner and I simul-climbed to the col in what would have been 3 or 4 pitches. Very easy climbing but happy to have the gear in. The route itself is well described and hard to miss. I think we traversed the "wrong" way around one of the ridges between the North and South Summit, but no real issues encountered. And we weren't interested in bagging the South Summit, which turned out to be a problem for us. We rappelled at the "V-Notch" just below the South Summit and instead of hoping up to climbers left, halfway down the rap, we kept looking for a station that didn't come. The correct way to do it, if you use the "V-Notch" rappel, is to go down halfway and then exit up and left to 3rd/4th class terrain to gain the Summit and the official start of the rappels. No major worries though, one extra pitch of climbing off of the East face and we were back on track. Agree with everyone else that the Kain Route is not necessary to get the descent beta and it might not have even helped us with our mix up.

A write-up I did here:
theascentjournal.com/2016/01/1...

And my brother-in-law won Nat Geo's 2015 photo competition with a shot of me gaining the col:
adventure.nationalgeographic.c...
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: Big Bear Lake
Apr 8, 2016

Great photo Andy.
By matt matera
6 days ago

Does anyone know how long the rappel is down the V notch by the South Summit. I've seen some photographs that shows the climbers ending the rap on a very small precarious ledge so I was concerned.
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: Big Bear Lake
6 days ago

There were four of us - so we used 2x 60m ropes to rappel down from the v-notch. I think this put us very close to the Kain Route.

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