Type: Trad, Ice, Alpine, 700 ft (212 m), 5 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Jon Krakaur, 1978
Page Views: 8,999 total · 55/month
Shared By: Ken Trout on Nov 28, 2010
Admins: Mark Roberts, Mauricio Herrera Cuadra, Kate Lynn, Braden Batsford

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Warning Access Issue: SNOWPATCH SPIRE ROCKFALL DetailsDrop down

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Jon Krakauer soloed this super-direct ice gully on his way up to do the first solo ascent of the Devils Thumb in Alaska. First done in May, but I've heard reports of later ascents.


Hike in via Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and the Vowell Neve. Use the map in the photos section below to help with planning.


The first pitch crosses the 'schrund. About five more to the summit. A couple of eighty-degree bulges on the lower pitches lead to a chockstone/vertical pillar crux. Check out the marked photo.


On an early season ascent, be ready to descend the hose with V-threads, etc. It may be very hard to find the summer rappels under the ice.


Thermometer because long northern days cause dangerously warm nights. Bring all the gear for ice, some roch gear too. You might get past the bergschrund rappelling with a single 70 meter rope. But that can change.


The road in should be open by some time in May. Road conditions do get reported sometimes by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides .

It is possible to stay in the hut before the wardens are on duty for the summer. Neither heat nor water in the sinks, but the propane lights and stoves can be turned on. Contact BC Parks for an update.

Chic Scott did the second traverse of the Bugaboos to Roger's Pass ski mountaineering route. He has this to say in his outstanding book Ice Fields and Summits, 1994:

"The road is normally plowed for 17 km. From there it is another 25 km on skis or by snowmobile to the CMH Bugaboo Lodge. A ski ascent of 700 vertical meters and 5 km up the Bugaboo Glacier takes you to Conrad Kain Hut."

"A very good run (on April/May snowpack) can be had down the Bugaboo Glacier, starting along the left side of the glacier and finishing on the right side into the valley."

Too much information? Not if you want to find that window of opportunity when it might be possible to combine an ice route with a ski descent.