Elevation: 7,500 ft
GPS: 50.749, -116.781 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Steven Lucarelli on Oct 3, 2006
Admins: Kate Lynn
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The Bugaboo Provincial Park is one of the greatest alpine playgrounds in North America, and the world for that matter. Imagine large granite spires of all shapes and sizes surrounded by beautiful glaciers and mountains as far as the eye can see and that's the Bugaboos. All the rock is alpine granite and the quality on most routes is superb, even those which are not considered classics. Routes range from a few hundred feet tall to a few thousand and offer anything from ridge scrambles and moderate free climbs to hard test pieces and multi-day big walls.

The climbing season is generally June to September with July and August having the best chance of good weather. But be prepared for any kind of weather, it can storm at anytime and it snows every month of the year. Temperatures can vary greatly depending on what side of a spire you're climbing on (North, South, East, West), if the sun's out or not, or if it's windy so plan accordingly. An ice axe and crampons are mandatory to be safe especially later in the season when the glaciers can become a little more troublesome to negotiate due to melting. Glacier travel skills are recommended for getting to and from most climbs unless you're staying near the campground.

There are several options for staying in the park when your visiting. The most comfortable but also the most expensive is the Conrad Kain Hut which is managed by the Alpine Club of Canada and will cost you $25 a night (Canadian) per person as of 2013. But provides you with a warm dry place to hang out in foul weather, a kitchen with running water and lights for late night reading. Other more cost effective options are the campgrounds, with the Applebee campground being the most popular by far. It will cost you $10 (Canadian) a night per person (pay at the Kain hut) and is basically a large area of somewhat flat rocks to place your tent on. It does offer you a toilet, racks for hanging gear and food and great views which make the price seem more reasonable.

Getting There

The Bugaboo Provincial Park is located in the Purcell range of British Columbia, off of Highway 95. To get to the Bugaboos travel 17 miles north of Radium Hotsprings or 48 miles south of Golden on Highway 95 depending on where your coming from to the really small town of Brisco. Head west on a dirt road that has a sign for the park and goes past a lumber mill. Follow the dirt road over the Columbia River and up into the mountains for 28.5 miles. There are several turn offs along the road but there are signs at most of them for the Bugaboos otherwise just stay on the main road.

Once at the parking area there should be enough chicken wire, wood posts and rocks to protect your vehicle from rubber eating porcupines. You'll see what I mean when you get there, don't take a chance. The trailhead is at the west end of the parking lot and the next 3 miles to the Conrad Kain Hut are steep so pace yourself. It's about .5 miles from the hut to the Applebee campground up more steep trail. The new guide book "The Bugaboos" written by Chris Atkinson and Marc Piche has all the info you need for a great trip.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Bugaboos

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V-easy 3 A0
Toilet Seat
Aid, Boulder, Alpine
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
West Ridge
Trad, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Kain Route (South Ridge)
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Lion's Way
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Ears Between
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
North East Ridge
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Snowpatch Route (aka SE Corner/W…
Trad, Alpine 17 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Surfs Up
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
McTech Arete
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Paddle Flake Direct
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Trad, Alpine 15 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Roof McTech
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Sunshine Crack
Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Solitary Confinement
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Energy Crisis
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Toilet Seat Pigeon Spire
V-easy 3 A0 Aid, Boulder, Alpine
West Ridge Pigeon Spire
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad, Alpine
Kain Route (South Ridge) Bugaboo Spire
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Lion's Way Crescent Towers
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Ears Between Crescent Towers
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
North East Ridge Bugaboo Spire
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
Snowpatch Route (aka SE Cor… Snowpatch Spire
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 17 pitches
Surfs Up Snowpatch Spire
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
McTech Arete Crescent Spire
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Paddle Flake Direct Crescent Spire
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Beckey-Chouinard Howser Towers > S Howser Tower
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 15 pitches
Roof McTech Crescent Spire
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Sunshine Crack Snowpatch Spire
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 11 pitches
Solitary Confinement Pigeon Feathers
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Energy Crisis Crescent Spire
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in The Bugaboos »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


For more photos, see Chris Owen's Bugaboos Gallery. Nov 19, 2007
kyber   Portland
sport climber here, who will be climbing in skaha for a couple weeks (july 16th- aug 1st) and was thinking about making a bug trip. the info page says i'll need things like crampons and an ice pick. is this true for july? also, can i get by on a small rack? set of nuts, hexes and a handful of cams from .5 - 2? i'm really looking to take it easy and gain some alpine/ multipitch trad experiance on things like kain route, north east ridge, mctech arete and the west ridge route. any information/ suggestions would be greatly apprieciated. Jun 9, 2008
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT

You could probably get by without crampons and an ice axe but I would not recommend it. Especially if your not very experienced in alpine environments. You don't need crampons for McTech but you'll want them to go up and down the Snowpatch-Bugaboo Col. A small rack should be fine for the easier routes. I would just start on some shorter routes and see how it goes before jumping on anything big. And be prepared for anything, it could be nice and sunny or it could rain and snow, the weather changes fast in the Bugs. Jun 17, 2008
kyber   Portland
thanks guys, i think im gonna go to squamish instead, gonna try again early next summer. thanks for the advice. Jul 7, 2008
On our roadtrip through Canada we came here mid-June Last summer and there was too much (rotten) snow to do anything. Just on the trail we would fall up to our waists everytime we took a step or two. Definately would wait until at least July.Crazy area though. Worth checking out.

Also the stories about the critters are true to-Watched one crawl up into the engine compartment of a Suburu and had a hell of a time getting it out. Seems they have learned to go around the chicken-wire. Oct 18, 2009

In answer to your question regarding how to approach the Kain route when the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col is out of condition, there are two options:

1. Climb the regular route to the col anyway. Several people did it last summer after the rockfall, though I was not one of them.

2. Go down and around snowpatch Spire and then up to the col between Pigeon and Howser Towers (where the W Ridge of Pigeon starts). Descend from there across the glacier to the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and start the Kain Route. It's a long walk, but it's really not unreasonable. This is how we approached the West Ridge of Pigeon, rather than using the B-S Col approach.

The Snowpatch rappels could potentially be reversed, but I don't think it would be worth the effort when you can just walk around Pigeon's West Ridge. Mar 2, 2010
Canada Mofuga
hanshan   Canada Mofuga
The rappels down Snowpatch from the Pigeon-Snowpatch Col are a great option to avoid descending the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and its a lot faster than walking around Pigeon. The raps are clean, with little risk of rockfall and its a short downhill hike back to the Kain hut or Boulder campground. Jun 23, 2010
harihari   VANCOUVER
BETTER 2WD APPROACH for people who don't have 4wd SUV monster trucks.

At 4.9 km/3 miles, the Atkinson/Piche guide suggests turning off Brisco Rd and left onto Mine Hills Rd. This, while direct, is a very poor road and and shitty if you have 2wd. A slightly longer but much better way is to do the following:

-- At 4.9 km/3 miles (right after the bridge), hang a right, stayiing on Brisco Rd.
-- Drive for 3.5 km until you get to a 3-way intersection
-- turn left onto Westside Rd.
-- Go 2.5 km
-- at the 4-way intersection, hang a hard right and you are back on the main road into the Bugs. Jul 30, 2010
Is the most current guide the green mountaineers guide by Randall Green and Joe Bensen? Jan 19, 2013
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
There are two guidebooks both published in 2003.

ontopmountaineering.com/bug… Jan 21, 2013
FYI, the green book Bugaboo Rock is apparently not very good. We had it on our trip and never really used it, and based on reviews I'm glad we didn't. The Atkinson and Piche guide is very, very good. Mar 10, 2013
Considering a climb up archduke trio, are there any routes up the face of one of the peaks? Does anyone have pictures or info on the quality of this rock? Any info would be appreciated! Apr 3, 2013
Trip report from the Bugaboos this summer...


Peace and Love

(route info on bugaboo, snowpatch and pigeon spire)

Toby Pritchard May 6, 2013
Note that as of summer 2013 the prices have gone up:

$25 CAD/night for the hut (which is really quite nice for the price)
$10 CAD/night for camping (Boulder or Applebee)

The Applebee campground is probably the most scenic campground I have ever stayed at. Perched above treeline, the position is incredible. Aug 6, 2013
Please keep your food contained and supervised!
A trend during our first week there in the applebee campground was
1.) Campers leaving food and trash scattered around camp for later clean up while doing other things.
2.) Small mammals try to eat it.
3.) Climbers kill squirrel/ chipmunk with rock.

Saw this happen twice. The animals are really not that bad at all if you keep your food contained and supervised. No need to kill animals, folks. Keep your food well supervised and don't try to kill chipmunks with large rocks because you probably will, even by accident. Please, Thanks! Aug 8, 2014
C Archibolt
Salt Lake City, UT
C Archibolt   Salt Lake City, UT
Could a person safely navigate the Bugs approaches and descents with Kahtoola micro spikes, or would crampons be necessary?
Thanks Oct 29, 2014
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
Some people do and some even go without anything (just approach shoes!). It really depends on the snow/glacier conditions, your objectives and your comfort level. I personally prefer a light set of aluminum crampons and light mountaineering boots. The crampons for the added security and the boots for stability and dry feet. Its not the lightest or least bulky set up by any means but I can access anything I want, such as North Howser and not have to worry about it.

If your not going to far from camp (Bugaboo Spire, Snowpatch Spire, Pigeon Spire) then the micro spikes will probably be fine, especially in early to mid season when the snow pack is better. Later in the season (late July & August) the Snowpatch Bugaboo Col can get pretty sketchy and I wouldn't recommend it without crampons. And remember that your feet will be wet for sure with approach shoes. Oct 29, 2014
C Archibolt
Salt Lake City, UT
C Archibolt   Salt Lake City, UT
Good beta ^^^. Thanks. Oct 30, 2014
Martin le Roux
Superior, CO
Martin le Roux   Superior, CO
Just returned to the Bugaboos after a 20-year absence.

- Seemed more crowded than before. Parking lot was filled to capacity, Kain cabin was fully booked, and there were line-ups for the technical climbing on the Kain Route and the rappels on the BS col. This was in mid-July. Maybe more people are trying to visit before the BS col melts out later in the season?
- The road's well-maintained. No problem getting up there in a regular 2WD vehicle.
- The Kain cabin's in good shape. There's now a hydro-electic generator, hot running water for dishes, and AC outlets for charging smartphones (but no cellphone reception).
- 90% of the traffic was on the W Ridge of Pigeon, Kain Route and Bugaboo NE Ridge. I guess that hasn't changed.

I've uploaded a picture showing the current locations of the BS rappel anchors. They're in sheltered locations, which is good, but they're difficult to see from above. Jul 25, 2016
SLC, Utah
grego   SLC, Utah
I was in the Bugaboos last July. I used running shoes for all approaches and climbing shoes for the rock. I think this worked quite well. Passing the col and the glaciers makes your feet a little wet though. May 30, 2017
SLC, Utah
grego   SLC, Utah
Heading to the Bugs this year a bit earlier than I'd like. I'll arrive the 1st of July. Any idea whether the Beckey-Chouinard is doable this time of year (of course, I know that each year--or even week--is different, I'm just looking for an idea of whether this is sometimes doable in early July/late June). May 30, 2017
Portland, OR
rl23455   Portland, OR
Forewarning, The Kain Hut water filtration is broken. I have a "weak" stomach and got diarrhea, my climb partner has a "cast iron" stomach and did not. The kitchen sanitation is poor. Aug 28, 2017
Brice Pollock
Oakland, CA
Brice Pollock   Oakland, CA  
Bugaboos is a multi-faceted objective. Tenuous weather and partners often make the experience unpredictable. Some tips from spending over a week there early August 2017.

Ten Things I Won't Bring Next Time:
bricepollock.com/10-things-… Sep 1, 2017
Mike Endres
Colorado Springs, CO
Mike Endres   Colorado Springs, CO
I climbed back here in the mid-90s and remember a ladder going up a rock face on the hike in. Is this still in place or is there a way around it? Nov 14, 2018