Bugaboos 6/15 Trip Report


Original Post
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

So Ive been meaning to write a TR for my trip to the bugs ever since I returned, finally getting around to it. We didnt get any of our big objectives (bugaboo spire, BC, sunshine crack etc) in but we had a wonderful trip and I am really hoping to go back some day. I read as many TRs as I could find leading up to the trip and found them very helpful so this is my attempt at returning the favor.

June 26:
My partner (Dean) and I flew to Calgary with our piles of gear and got a hotel room and a few adult beverages to carry up before going to sleep.

June 27:
Got up bright and early and drove to the famous parking lot of fenced in cars. Ill spare you pictures as they are everywhere. I will say that the drive in is well marked by giant signs at the splits, warning you to turn this way or that if headed to bugaboos. We had been told that the hut (where we were staying) was being opened sometime between the 27th and the 29th so we werent sure if we would have gas for cooking or any cookware. This lead us to bring fuel canisters, a stove and cookware. Once we fenced in our car, loaded up out gigantic packs:

Headed to kain hut

This hike is short, and super tiring with a 500lb pack. We got pretty wiped from the hike in, but man was there some great views.The Hounds Tooth really stuck out, we could also see Snowpatch from the parking lot. We were really in awe with this place (and we hadnt even gotten a taste of it yet).

Once we got to the hut, we found out they were not allowing any climbers to stay there, only the maintenance crew who was getting everything ready and two climbers who had booked their spots so far in advance, the crew hadnt blocked the week off. I panicked for a minute and then realized, that was us. So that was awesome for the first few days we had the entire hut to 10 of us (normally 35). The other huge bonus was that the crew had their own chef and they had way too much food so we got to eat spaghetti, prime rib, chocolate cake, french toast, sausage etc. we lived like kings for the first few days.
Kain Hut (East Post in the background):
Kain Hut- Bugaboos

Kitchen in Kain Hut (dont bring ANYTHING but food):
Kitchen in Kain Hut

Sleeping area in Kain Hut (dont need to bring pads):
Sleeping area in kain hut


June 28:
We decided we were pretty wiped from the hike in and just wanted to get a lay of the land so we hiked around, practiced some roped up glacier travel, checked out the col and relaxed.

June 29:
The weather was supposed to be bad and it was raining off and on all day. So we decided to play cards in the hut and drink some whiskey. After a few bumps and rounds of card with a couple guys (Nick and Greg) we met, the weather cleared around 4pm and we decided to climb east post spire, which can be seen in the background of the kain hut picture i posted above. It was mainly class 4 with the final ~30ft being low 5th class. There are chains on the summit and a lot of people bring a rope to rap it so they dont have to down climb the 5th class section.

Climbing East Post:

Climbing East Post Spire

We did this climb in 2hrs round trip so its a pretty quick one, since youre not roping up at all. It ended up thunderstorming right after we got back to the hut. This was a great climb for a weather day. I would strongly recommend it.

June 30:
Dean and I decided we wanted to make a go at Pigeon Spire as it is touted as such a great route. We got up bright and early and head for the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col. The col was in great shape so we made our way up it, taking turn kicking steps. We both wore very light mountaineering boots, crampons and carried ice axes.

Coming up the col:
Coming up the B-S col

The weather once up the col was less than desirable so we decided to hang out in the boulders at the top for a bit to see if it got any nicer out. It didnt after 45min, so we decided to continue the hike to pigeon and turn around if it got any worse.

The hike to pigeon (dark clouds seen in the background):
Hike to Pigeon Spire (seen in background)

The weather seemed even worse once we got on pigeon and after another 45min of discussion we decided to try again another day. Another group bailed right after us so we felt a little better but we were feeling a little bummed about our lack of progress throughout the trip.
Once we got back to the hut we talked with Nick, Greg (from East Post) and Heidi (the hut caretaker) and decided we were gonna try a climb of Lions Way the following morning as a group of 5. We knew it was well within all of our abilities so having a huge party would be slow but we would have a nice fun day of it.

July 1:
We took our time getting ready and hiking up to Lions Way. It was another great approach (short and scenic).

Approach to Lions Way:
Approach to Lions Way

Dean, Greg and I took turns leading pitches on Lions way. It was a slow process but we had a really great time on the climb. Not difficult at 5.6, but very fun.
Pitch 2 of Lions Way:
Leading Pitch 2 - Lion's Way

Belay beneath the pitch 3 hand crack:
Top of pitch 2 - Lion's Way

Greg at a belay on Lions Way:
Greg belaying lions way

Summit of Central Tower via Lions Way:
Summit of Lions Way

To descend,you do a bit of down climbing until you find a set of anchors, then rap the snow gully between the spires. This gets you ~60% of the way down, then just march down the gully. We used ice axes after the rap but not crampons (it will really depend on conditions though).

July 2nd:
We were pretty tired after the long two previous days so we decided to take a rest day. We went up to one of the tarns and jumped in. Needles to say it was very cold but felt great.

Tarn jumping:
jumping in the tarn

We only had one full day left so we decided to dedicate it to a second attempt at pigeon.

July 3:
Even though Greg and Nick had already climbed pigeon, we were having such a good time as a group, they decided to join us for it. We decided to use the Bugaboo Glacier approach instead of the B-S col. because people other than myself hadnt had extensive glacier travel experience and it looked like a fun alternative. We got up early again and headed out. Once we reached the glacier we roped up:
roping up for bugaboo glacier

There are some pretty big crevasses but the snow bridges were good enough that it wasnt bad at all. An idea of the grade:
Bugaboo glacier

Eventually we got on the route. We decided to do it as two rope teams, each simul climbing on a half rope. The half rope was doubled over so it was 30m long and we used it like a twin. Both rope teams had a single rack of cams from x4 yellow to number two and a hand full of nuts. When the rack was getting low, the leader would set up a quick belay and bring in the second and re-rack and continue (or switch leads). This worked really well and went fast. The route was truly great. The views were unbeatable and the climbing was wonderful.
Greg and Nick taking off above us:
Greg and Nick on Pigeon Spire Start

Me leading up the first section:
Pigeon Spire (howser in the background)

Nick crossing the fin with big relief on either side:
Nick on Pigeon

Me halfway to summit (B-C in background):
Halfway done on Pigeon Spire

Greg with Summit in background:
Summit of Pigeon Spire in background.

Dean and I on the Summit:
Summit of Pigeon Spire

We then back climbed the entire route and descended via the B-S col and back to the hut. Slept for a few hours that night, hiked out to the car. Drank out celebratory warm 7am beer and drove back to Calgary to catch our flight home.

It was a great trip. If you have any aspirations of heading to Bugaboo, do it. You will not regret it. Bring a ton of food, dont stay in the hut (once it got crowded it was far less enjoyable), say hi to Heidi for me and make sure you come ready for long approaches.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Thanks for writing all that Jake! I really enjoyed reading a Bugaboos TR full of stuff I might enjoy.

How long was the hike in? Could you do the approach to base camp twice in one day? My plan would be to carry everything in two trips instead of one.

How longs the drive from Calgary to the parking lot? I've driven all over the area but have never driven down the road off 95 to the parking lot. I've only been there in the winter so I assumed the road was not plowed.

Ashort · · Tacoma, WA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 35

Thanks for the TR, can't wait to get there one day.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

Bill, I think the quick people do the hike in 2-3 hours. I wouldnt wanna do it twice in one day with a medium weight pack both times vs once with a heavy ass pack. I would say if you get yourself into the shape to do it in one push with a heavy pack (not you specifically, no idea your fitness level), itll get you near where you need to be for the long approach and long climbs you will encounter in the bugs.

The drive from calgary was i wanna say 4 hrs.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Jake wander wrote:Bill, I think the quick people do the hike in 2-3 hours. I wouldnt wanna do it twice in one day with a medium weight pack both times vs once with a heavy ass pack. I would say if you get yourself into the shape to do it in one push with a heavy pack (not you specifically, no idea your fitness level), itll get you near where you need to be for the long approach and long climbs you will encounter in the bugs. The drive from calgary was i wanna say 4 hrs.

Thanks again Jake.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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