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South Howser Tower
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East Shoulder-East Face  T 

East Shoulder-East Face  

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c AI2-3

Type:  Trad, Ice, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c AI2-3 [details]
FA: Helmey Beckey, Loyd Anderson, Lyman Boyer, Tom Campbell, 1941
Season: Summer
Page Views: 1,720
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Nov 25, 2010

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BETA PHOTO: The Original Route, South Howser Tower


This is the original way to climb the hardest and second highest summit in the Bugaboo Group. Beautiful, steep, mountains attract talent, and the last unclimbed summit in the Bugaboos didn't stay that way for long.

Before World War II, Loyd Anderson was well known; for his tenacity against the weather, the recent first ascent of Forbidden Peak (with the young Beckey brothers), and later for founding REI. Helmy Beckey, only 16, made the second ascent of Mount Waddington the next year (with his brother Fred).

Loyd and his team of "young recruits" found out a Sierra Club team was also after the big prize. They said little of their intentions at Boulder Camp. The next morning as the sierrans started up, the north cascades team was well on their way to the summit. (Climbing in North America, Chris Jones, 1976)

Harder than Snowpatch Spire? In 1990, Bugaboo Rock still rated the origninal South Howser route, IV, 5.6, A1. Snowpatch is rated IV, 5.6+. Teton climber, Bill Buckingham, found a way to free it in 1961, 5.8, and thought the crux about equal to Wiessner's Route. Even after pioneering the difficult East Ridge Integral in 1970, Michael Heath and Bill Sumner still reported using some aid on the way to the summit.

This climb also requires real alpine ice climbing, at least that is what we found in 1980. Photos by Mountain Project contributors seem to indicate this route is wasting away, like so many others.


Climb over Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col, head up to the Pigeon-South Howser Col, and turn right to follow easy, but crevassed, snow to the base of the ice face on the South Shoulder.

The first pitch passes the schrund and belays by the rock above. should be rappel anchors because this used to be a more popular way down. Climb two more long pitches of fun 45-50 degree ice up to the top of the Southeast Shoulder. From the north end of the flat ridge-top, there is supposed to be a ledge to follow out right on the East Face. Pass a snow-patch and climb a chimney (5.8/C1 crux. Above the hard part, three pitches of 5.6 lead to the summit.


Six, double rope, rappels straight down the East Face.


Bring two axes/tools, real boots, crampons, and a rack of screws for the first three pitches. A rock rack and rock shoes too. Two ropes for the last rappel past the 'schrund are recommended.

Photos of East Shoulder-East Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: South Howser Tower, Original Route Photo by MP con...
BETA PHOTO: South Howser Tower, Original Route Photo by MP con...
Rock Climbing Photo: Standard Route, South Howser Tower Photo by MP con...
BETA PHOTO: Standard Route, South Howser Tower Photo by MP con...

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