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Pigeon Spire
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Cooper-Kor T 
West Ridge T 

West Ridge 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 1500', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: Eaton Cromwell, Peter Kaufmann 1930
Page Views: 18,008
Submitted By: Steven Lucarelli on Oct 5, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: View of Pigeon Spire from the northeast. The West ...

Description 

The West Ridge on Pigeon Spire is one of the most classic climbs in the Bugaboo's. The route is not technically difficult, consisting of mostly 4th-class scrambling but the position and exposure are spectacular. The route follows the top of the ridge nearly the whole way climbing up and over two intermediate summits before topping out on the true summit. Simul-climbing the ridge is probably the best option if you want to go faster and still stay
safe.

From the low point on the ridge scramble east to the first summit staying near the ridge-crest, sometimes to the south, sometimes to the north but never more than a few yards away. At the top of the first summit follow slabs down to a saddle and then continue up the ridge toward the second summit. Again stay near the crest until you get to a steep section that is avoided by following a ledge to a corner on the north side of the ridge. The corner will lead you up to the second summit from which some easy fifth-class down climbing to the north will end at a col between the second and main summits.

From the col, move left beneath the summit following icy ramps till you get to the bottom of slab angling up to the right. Climb up the slab continuing up a chimney to a loose gully on the left. Climb up the gully until you get to a 10"-wide left-angling crack. Step right to a large flake and chimney and then back left to a 5.4 handrail. Follow the handrail for about 12' and make a reachy move up and right to easier ground that leads to the summit.

To descend either follow the same route down from the summit or make two single-rope rappels off the summit back down to the icy ramps. From there follow the same route back down the ridge.

Location 

From the Kain hut and Applebee campground go up the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and follow the Upper Vowell Glacier west toward Pigeon Spire. Walk past the Pigeon Spire to the north to the highest point of the Vowell Glacier and scramble south to the crest of the West Ridge. There is actually an outhouse near the ridge with signs leading to it, so if you see those signs then you're in the right place.

Protection 

A very small rack is all that's needed consisting of a set of nuts and one set of cams to 3".


Photos of West Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
West Ridge of Pigeon Spire
West Ridge of Pigeon Spire
The new facilities at the saddle...
The new facilities at the saddle...
Approaching the summite of Pigeon Spire.
Approaching the summite of Pigeon Spire.
Lisa Foster and Paul Kejla on the descent with Bugaboo Spire on the left.
Lisa Foster and Paul Kejla on the descent with Bug...
This shot typifies the climbing on the West Ridge, easy but with serious consequences if you blow it badly.
This shot typifies the climbing on the West Ridge,...
Stopping to admire the Howser Towers while descending the West Ridge of Pigeon Spire.
Stopping to admire the Howser Towers while descend...
A telephoto shot of a team taking a break on the glacier below.
A telephoto shot of a team taking a break on the g...
West Ridge, Pigeon Spire <br />contour interval : 100 feet <br /> <br />Blue - Bugaboo-Snowpatch Approach <br />Yellow - Rock climbing section to summit
BETA PHOTO: West Ridge, Pigeon Spire
contour interval : 100 fe...
West Ridge with boot from summit of Pigeon ...
West Ridge with boot from summit of Pigeon ...
Fred Batliner with Howser Towers behind - on a very chilly, but wonderful, day.
Fred Batliner with Howser Towers behind - on a ver...

Comments on West Ridge Add Comment
Show which comments
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Nov 22, 2006

The best 5.4 on the planet.
By Brad Brandewie
Dec 18, 2006

This route reminds me that it will be OK when I'm old and weak and decide that I only want to scramble around with a rope instead of climbing the steep stuff.

More photos and a TR at piquaclimber.com

Cheers,
Brad
By Drew Peterson
Aug 7, 2009

Great route, fun and great positioning.

A little edit to the route info, I would find it difficult to call this an IV... probably closer to a II or III. Its similar in nature to the Kain route, but less commitment and much easier technical climbing.
By TradByron
Sep 9, 2009

I'm with Chris. No matter what you're gunning for, don't miss this one--it's just too much fun!
By SirTobyThe3rd
Aug 19, 2012

This is hilarious. On the Bugaboo page Beckey Chouinard is given a grade IV and W ridge of Pigeon is a grade IV. Super funny.

This one is awesome. Took me and my friend 40 minutes to go up and down. B-C took us about 13 hours on route.
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Oct 10, 2012

yeah - how can it possibly be Grade IV?
By Matt Hoffmann
From: Squamish
Oct 25, 2012

Great first route in the bugs. We ran up it our first time up there just bringing a tagline for one rap. Beautiful line and well worth doing despite the technical ease.