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Bugaboo Climb Trip? Cost..Logistics etc from US to Canada


Original Post
JasonSH · · unknown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 90

So it's always been a dream of mine to head to the bugaboos and get myself on the Bugaboo spire I'm wondering what a trip looks like as far as costs and Logistics? I'm located in Pennsylvania myself so if anybody from the East Coast here has head up I'd be curious to know your experience and to get a solid foundation of an idea as far as cost Etc


Thanks all!

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

[bites tongue]

jon jugenheimer · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,248

Costs?

Either divide the miles between your house and the Bugs, by the MPG your car gets multiplied by the Avg. cost per gallon or go to Expedia.com (or whatever google you use) to find a plane ticket from your house to Calgary, then look up the cost of a rental car for the time you need (not cheap in canada) and add those together and then you will have a really good ballpark estimate on how much it will cost.  Math is always the answer.

Logistics?

Driver's license, passport, rope, rack, camping gear, money from above, food and good weather!


BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

$1,666.11

Beean · · Canmore, AB · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

It costs me a tank of fuel plus whatever the camp fees are. Make sure to budget a pizza in Radium this is very important.

Hope this helps.

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

Your costs are gas and 25 CAD / night if you stay in the hut or 10 CAD / night at Applebee.

I wouldn't drive up there for less than 2 weeks. It'll rain.

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Though it has been a very long time since I've actually done this trip, I'll try to give you some general answers to your question. First, I'd suggest driving if at all possible. If you fly you'll have to rent a car, still drive it a fair way from Calgary (most logical place to fly into), take it up not the best logging roads, then leave it parked (and wrapped in anti-critter 'netting') for a week or 2, while still paying the quite high rental costs while the car is just sitting there, then reverse back to Calgary. While this will vary a bit depending where you live in PA, I'd 'budget' at least 3 days driving to get you to the road head. Some might do it faster, while I prefer a more leisurely trip to enjoy the scenery and possibly fit in some climbing, like around Canmore, before actually heading into the Bugs. The 2 most logical routes are to either drive west in the US on I-90, then chose one of several possible routes north into Canada once you reach the mountains, or head directly north into Canada and take the Trans-Canada Highway west--a bit more boring perhaps but more direct. Either way, young folks with a lot of gear--expect to be searched at the border. Even if you bring most of your supplies with you, you'll want to stock up with some fresh supplies before you head in to the mountains. Radium Hot Springs is your best choice for this, though you likely can get some 'basics' a bit closer. Again I haven't been in quite a while, but expect some relatively 'unimproved', though passable in 'normal' cars, logging roads for the final stretch to the parking area. As I mention above, before you walk in it is  best to protect your vehicle from the ravages of the hungry critters that stalk the parking area--vital parts of your vehicle are tasty treats to them. Others will, hopefully, fill you in on the current best methods to do this .It is about a 3 mile walk in, a good bit of it fairly steep, from the parking to the Kain Hut, further to the Applebee camping area. Either the hut or camping are viable choices---camping is cheaper but you have to lug up more 'stuff''. Know how to deal with glacier travel, though much of it is relatively straightforward in the Bugs. Give yourself time in there--it will rain. Have fun.

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 720

I recommend joining the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) to get discount and staying at the Kain hut.  As mentioned, you don't need to carry as much in.  They have a gas stove there for cooking.  Don't depend on it, but lots of folks leave food behind that they didn't consume and it is available for public use.  Well worth the $25 a night.  

CarolJH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

On driving the Trans-Canada across the country:  I've only driven it from Ontario to Calgary, but speed limits there are lower than on US interstates and you will have stoplights and traffic around the cities.  It took us about an extra day to do the drive versus what it would usually take via I-90 or I-94.

Graham Johnson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 0

15 years ago, I took greyhound from NYC-Montreal, Montreal-Radium, hitchhiked into the bugaboos, climbed for 2 weeks, hitchhiked out (with Carlos Buhler, no less).  Then hitchhiked to the western side of Assiniboine, walked in for a week, failed on Assinaboine due to weather and then walked out to Banff, to greyhound it back to Montreal.  I think the whole trip cost us less than $600 US for 5+ weeks.   We ate a lot of freeze-dried re-fried beans and rice. And beef jerky made in my toaster oven.  

Does that help?  Our logistics were worked out on the back of the proverbial envelope.   Don't ask the internet, just go do it. 

scott fuzz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 125
Graham Johnson wrote:

15 years ago, I took greyhound from NYC-Montreal, Montreal-Radium, hitchhiked into the bugaboos, climbed for 2 weeks, hitchhiked out (with Carlos Buhler, no less).  Then hitchhiked to the western side of Assiniboine, walked in for a week, failed on Assinaboine due to weather and then walked out to Banff, to greyhound it back to Montreal.  I think the whole trip cost us less than $600 US for 5+ weeks.   We ate a lot of freeze-dried re-fried beans and rice. And beef jerky made in my toaster oven.  

Does that help?  Our logistics were worked out on the back of the proverbial envelope.   Don't ask the internet, just go do it. 

do not ask the interweb unless you want a Allstar response like this Magellan envelope tale-

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 279
Alan Rubin wrote:

If you fly you'll have to rent a car, still drive it a fair way from Calgary (most logical place to fly into), take it up not the best logging roads, then leave it parked (and wrapped in anti-critter 'netting') for a week or 2, while still paying the quite high rental costs while the car is just sitting there, then reverse back to Calgary.

It's also feasible to fly to Spokane, WA and drive up Hwy 93 into BC. It's about 2 hours longer than driving from Calgary, but flights to Spokane tend to be less expensive that flights to Calgary. Also Spokane is served by Southwest, so you don't have to pay baggage fees, or change fees if you fly home early. You may also be able to get a better rate on rental cars in Spokane.

If you fly to Calgary then you can save on rental cars by taking a shuttle bus to downtown Calgary and renting from an off-airport location. There's a high tax (about 20%) on car rentals.at Calgary Airport. Most companies will allow you to pick up a car downtown and return the car directly to the airport at no extra charge.

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35

The closest major airport is Calgary which is about 4 hours away.  There are other airport options farther away in Canada and the USA that are reasonable and may offer cheaper flights.  You can also drive from where ever you are.  Driving is going to take a day or two each way from PA.  Gas is more expensive in Canada so keep that in mind and convert units as they sell by the liter not the gallon.

We went in late July this year and the road was perfectly fine.  My buddy has an older #vanlife van and while he had to go slow he made it no problem.  It sucks paying for a rental car just sitting in the parking lot but such is life.  If you rent for over a week most car rental places will give you a weekly rate which is much cheaper than the daily rate.  If you go in a group or find others to split the cost with it can get fairly cheap.  We flew into Calgary, drove to the parking lot, slept in the lot the first day, and hiked in the next day.

Most people should budget a day for the hike in.  The hike is short but brutally steep considering the big pack you will have.  The hike may only take half a day but you also have to setup camp and you are tired from the hike which probably excludes climbing the routes there the same day.  You'd probably be okay leaving as late as noon or 1PM if you drove in.  Having said that we saw several super fit groups get an early start on the hike and climb a "shorter" route in the same day.

We stayed at the Applebee's camp ground.  The hut is a very cool place and has full cooking amenities (stove, gas, plates, cookware, silverware, etc.) plus mats for sleeping.  All you need is food, a sleeping bag, and a cup.  However the hut is more expensive, adds a bit to the approach that is not insignificant due to the steepness, and is shared by other users groups that may not appreciate going to bed early for that alpine start.  We really enjoyed the camping as there are a ton of climbers there.  The camp ground has their own water, places to hang your bag and gear, and lots of nice bear boxes to store food.  If you camp you have to camp on the flat rock, no camping on dirt, so bring enough small cord for tying around rock instead of tent spikes.  They also have outhouses at the campground with TP.  There is also an outhouse at the base of West Ridge of Pigeon Spire, and a similar camp ground at the base of the Howser Towers if you are gunning for B-C (RIP) or similar.  We brought water treatment drops but stopped using them about half through our trip and never had any issue.

DO NOT MESS AROUND WITH THE CRITTERS.  There is a ton of chicken wire and posts/sticks in the parking lot so no need to bring your own but make sure you use it.  And hang up everything you can.  Multiple people complained about critters chewing on anything that wasn't hung up.  Our tent was fine but any thing that could possibly smell like food or sweat was put in the bear box or hung up during the day.  The critters have no fear and will steal food right out of your cooking pot if not attended to.

I recommend full crampons and an ice axe but just a sturdy hiking boot will do.  The col was very tricky even though it was very kicked-out.  Some people got away with micro-spikes but it seemed like way more risk than what you were saving.

In the end you have to weigh your time against your money.  How much to budget?  Totally depends on what kind of trip you want and how dirt bag or not dirt bag you want to go.  However, you will not regret going, the Bugaboos are a world class destination!

Eric and Lucie · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 140
jon jugenheimer wrote:

Either divide the miles between your house and the Bugs, by the MPG your car gets multiplied by the Avg. cost per gallon


Folks, the cost of driving is MUCH higher than the cost of gas alone! 

Why is it that most people cannot see this (including Uber drivers for example)?  

You need to add depreciation of your vehicle (the largest contributor other than gas), tires, added maintenance, oil changes, etc.  When you drive a vehicle more, it will need more of all of this, and you will need to replace it sooner.

Example for an average (cheap?) used truck (20mpg, $20K purchase cost, get another 200Kmiles out of it before scrap... better be a Toyota!), depreciation alone is $0.10 per mile, gas is ~$0.12.  It is safe to assume that the total cost of driving a cheap, run-it-to-the-ground used vehicle is around $0.30 per mile at a minimum.  If you purchase your vehicles new, and replace them more often, that cost is likely closer to $0.50 per mile or more (for example: a $40K vehicle, sold used after 100,000miles for $20K costs $0.20 per mile in depreciation alone).  This, of course, gets much worse if you drive large SUVs or more expensive vehicles.  

Consider too that the Feds allow you to deduct $0.54/mile on your taxes for business use of a vehicle... that is what they consider the true cost of driving to be...

 If more people understood this, perhaps they'd think twice before driving 20 miles each way to go to Costco to save $10, or before deciding to live 50 miles from their place of work...  just sayin'

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

eric and lucie are good info for this sort of thing, they have a lot of experience.  he has some great points.  most people will find that at the end of the trip the total cost is a fair bit more than what they estimated (assuming they actually tally up the expense at the end of the trip).

on a related note - i have added up various trips, ranging from local cragging to biggish trips and i always crap myself to see the average cost of a pitch....  not to mention the cost of sending a project...


Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
Eric and Lucie wrote:

You need to add depreciation of your vehicle (the largest contributor other than gas), tires, added maintenance, oil changes, etc.  When you drive a vehicle more, it will need more of all of this, and you will need to replace it sooner.

I mean if we're going to break it down, lets REALLY break it down!

1) You need to account for the NPV (net present value) of when you actually would then incur the depreciation if you didn't drive said miles for said trip.

2) What about opportunity cost of spending cash and its lost ROI now versus accelerating the return of the investment you already made in the car

3) Highway miles are well known to be far less taxing on the car.  Not every mile is going to depreciate equally and you don't account for potentially adding available miles to the car thus also changing the depreciation per mile value.

4) Lets not even get into the probability of success that I can make it through that many gas stations without buying at least a single package of overpriced beef jerky that is never as good as I want it to be

Haha but yes, you are correct that the cost of driving is more than just gas.


Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Logistics tip for long trips to the bugs:

Don't carry all of your food up on your initial hike in - your pack is already huge and the weight of the food adds up.  On rest days, it is quick and easy to go down to your car with an empty pack on a supply run, bringing up the next load of food.  Several people I spoke with easily accomplished this in 5 hours.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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