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Bugaboos


Original Post
Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

I’m making my first trip out to the bugs in August and it also happens to be my first alpine trip. Im hoping to get some ideas about gear; specifically with things such as ropes, boots, and camping gear. We’ll be camping at applebee for about 10 days and hoping to jump on BC, snow patch, and some of the other classics. 

Ropes - we’ll have single 9.1 but I’ve also considered bringing a tag line or paso guide (7.7) for snow travel and rappelling. 

Footwear - for the actual approach I’ve considered the popular Trango cube but I’ve also been seeing that some folks just bring some waterproof approach shoes? 

Camping - is pretty simple I just like to hear what people like to use up there. 

Appreciate any advice,

Thanks!


Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 10,161

Tim - what's your motivation for choosing camping over the hut? 

Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 384

Waterproof approach shoes are the amazing for this place (swalla and lowa make sweet GTX approach Shoes) and gravel air tech light crampons or some other aluminum crampon make for a lightweight setup are more than plenty for almost every approach.  

pkeds · · Redondo Beach, CA · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 30

I wouldn't bring a second rope just for snow travel. Ice axe is nice to glacier travel and bc col depending on conditions. We camped 10 days there and it was great (we also had perfect weather) though the hut is Uber swanky. Read up on and practice self and crevasse rescue. For footwear I had light weight mid top gortex la sportiva boots. Had no heal or toe bail but took aluminum crampons fine and kept my fret dry.

Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Chris - That is what my partner recommended. I also lean on the side of whatevers cost effective so perhaps tha was factored in? 

Pkeds - the tag line or paso was more for the convenience of rappelling. I’ve also read that some of the routes it’s better just to have a single 60 because the routes wander. I just like the idea of having the extra cord in case of having to bail in a hurry. Could you tell me what style sportiva it was? Would it be compatible with petzl irvis hybrid? 

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

Approach shoe + gaiters works pretty well. Tag line could be handy, might not be, I suppose it depends on the routes you're planning to do.  


Bring an axe, crampons and a few screws. If you're heading to Pigeon via Snowpatch the glacier is not to be taken lightly. 


If you've got inflatable mattresses bring a repair kit and maybe a small brush for your tent. The little granite crystals get everywhere and can pop your mattress.

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 918

I guess it depends on conditions and heavy vs low snow year for the B-S col, but from our experience from a short trip mid-August last year:

-We never roped up for the glaciers. It seemed a majority did not accessing via the BS Col as the crevasses on the approaches to the main towers were open and obvious (and mostly non-existent). If the BS col is out and you have to go via the Snowpatch-Pigeon Col, you might want to rope. The glacier looked much more complicated there. The BS col was melted out at the top and there were plenty of small rocks coming down with each party.

-Tagline depends on your route. We brought twins/halves and regretted it. A lightweight single plus a tag would've been ideal.

-Some parties without much steep snow experience brought lightweight mountaineering boots and were glad for them. We used low-top approach shoes or trail runners and aluminum crampons/ax. The col was a little steep, but there were plenty of steps. Being able to move decently fast with whatever you bring is recommended as it's good to clear out of the way of other parties.

-Applebee surprised us. Tents and people everywhere along with the critters. Hang all of your food whenever you aren't right next to it. Bathrooms were decently clean.

Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Ryan - what route did you do that you regretted the twins? I was considering the paso or the rad tagline for BC (thoughts?). What crampons did you use? 

Thanks for the feedback guys!

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 180
Kevin Ross · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 0

Highly recommend the lightweight single + tag line combo. Most routes go fine with just a single, but there's a few that require double rope raps (Sunshine Crack, for example). The hidden benefit of the tag line that we discovered on our last trip was that you can stash it at the top of the col for your climbing day if your route goes with a single rope, then rap the col with doubles (makes the descent trivial). 

I've always brought a pair of boots up to the bugs for the col, and also lugged up approach shoes for routes that don't ascend the col. Col can be done in approach shoes with crampons if it's in good shape, but if it's not, boots are a must. And, to reiterate what Ryan Marsters said, if you don't have a lot of steep snow experience you'll be very thankful for boots on the col. Boots are only a pain for the routes that don't descend the same line (BC and NE Ridge, for example).

Camping at Applebee is great, and it cuts off a good portion of the approach compared to staying at the hut. Only suggestion is to make sure your tent has a lot of guy lines. You can't stake anything down up there, you tie your tent to rocks. The more points of connection you have, the more peace of mind you'll have on your climbing days that you'll be coming back to a tent at the end of the day. I've seen a couple tents blow away :O.Single walled tent even in August is nice to have (both for overnight temps, and for a good night's sleep without a fly flapping around in the wind all night).

Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Sounds like an amazing trip Jake! Certainly psyched to check out Pigeon. 

pkeds · · Redondo Beach, CA · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 30
Tim Kim wrote:

Chris - That is what my partner recommended. I also lean on the side of whatevers cost effective so perhaps tha was factored in? 

Pkeds - the tag line or paso was more for the convenience of rappelling. I’ve also read that some of the routes it’s better just to have a single 60 because the routes wander. I just like the idea of having the extra cord in case of having to bail in a hurry. Could you tell me what style sportiva it was? Would it be compatible with petzl irvis hybrid? 

I guess if thats the case just climb with twins or halfs. I personally hate tag lines, they always get tangled, I cant lead on it, hard to pull on and really elastic, and someone always has to carry it on their back while climbing.


"you absolutely want to rope up if taking bugaboo glacier." i whole heartedly support this. 


also, if there is a fixed line for the B-S col be careful as it is often damaged from crampons, rockfall, and is always saturated with rock dust and water and makes quick work of rap-devices.

Turner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 200

Approach shoes and aluminum pons are the way to go. Also, the approach is short, so don't forget the lounge chairs and whiskey.

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

YMMV, but we brought two full sized ropes up Sunshine crack and rapped from the top in the sleeting rain. It was way shitty to pull two waterlogged 60m ropes. If one of them had been a 6mm tagline I'm sure it would have been way worse and pulling would have been impossible on some raps. Just something to think about -- the weather there easily turns bad.

We brought approach shoes and aluminum crampons and found the BS col really sketchy at the time we went. Probably due to our relative lack of skill, but still if you have boots I would at least throw them in your car.

We brought a 3 season REI tent and were fine, but also it flooded once :p

Also rope up on the glacier!

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

We also never roped up for glacier travel, same reasons already stated that there are minimal crevasses at that time of year and they are super obvious.  Ice axe and crampons were needed for B-S Col.

We brought doubles but I'm not sure it got us anywhere.  Look at the specific routes you want to do.  Some are fine with just one rope, some absolutely need two, some need two but certain parts you only use one because the rappel route wanders.

For camping don't over pack.  You can only put your tent on the flat rock so don't bring tent spikes but do bring extra cord/string to tie around rocks to anchor your tent.  There is water at the campground.  Its untreated but straight from glacial melt, very few people were treating or filtering the water.  The hike in is short but wicked steep so weight savings is a premium in your gear.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 666

Just a few thoughts from my trip this year:

Bring one rope unless you are doing a route that requires two.  Most routes are easily done with one.

Your tent must have many guy lines - I also brought 50 feet of paracord to make tying my tent down to rocks easier.  Wind storms occasionally rip through the area.  People were dealing with broken poles and disappearing tents during my trip.  

I brought Trango Cube boots, light approach shoes (non GTX), and climbing shoes which gave me great options depending on the day's objective.  I do think the ideal approach set up is Gore-Tex approach shoes in conjunction with aluminum crampons - I used the Grivel Air Tech Light.  If you go with this option, some small gaiters (usually used for trail running) would be nice because the snow softens up in the afternoon and they will help keep the snow out of your shoes.  

The approach is not bad at all if you are used to alpine approaches.  We did it in three hours and never felt like we were pushing that hard.

I loved camping at Applebee campground - cool social scene with many climbers from all over the world.  However, it will actually make your approach to some objectives longer than if you stayed at the hut if the B-S Col is out of condition.

I'm a big fan of short trips when there is a good forecast.  If you are going for a longer trip (Perhaps 5 days of more), don't bring all of your food on your hike in.  You can use a rest day to run down to your car with an empty pack and re-supply. This can be done easily in 5 hours or less.

Don't bring rock shoes for Pigeon Spire's West Ridge.  It's a totally worthwhile route, but the climbing is all slab climbing and rock shoes really are not necessary.

Leave camp EARLY in the morning.  Trust me.  


Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Kevin Ross wrote:
Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Clutch beta Kevin. I’m just assuming that BC is best done with a single 60 as I don’t see anything that says otherwise? 


Matthew Tangeman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 55
Tim Kim wrote:

Clutch beta Kevin. I’m just assuming that BC is best done with a single 60 as I don’t see anything that says otherwise? 


Yes, *but* the very last rap down onto the glacier has a chance of being greater than 30m that late in the year. When we climbed it in mid August last year our 60m would put us onto some steep snow above the bergschrund. Not ideal, but we teamed up with another party and just did a double rope rap for that one. Very condition dependent, worth asking around when you're there.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 10,161

I'll take the hut over camping any day - as you don't need to tote the camping gear up to Applebee, and well it's a lot more comfy. When I stayed there were four of us in the hut, until a three-day storm came through... Leave your clocks set on Alberta time and you'll always be first on the climbs.

Tim Kim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Chris Owen wrote:

I'll take the hut over camping any day - as you don't need to tote the camping gear up to Applebee, and well it's a lot more comfy. When I stayed there were four of us in the hut, until a three-day storm came through... Leave your clocks set on Alberta time and you'll always be first on the climbs.

How much is the hut?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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