The Bugaboos - Eastpost Off Route Reward
After the approach to basecamp Alana and I decided we would do a short scramble up Eastpost Spire as our first Bugaboo outing. It's not only the closest spire to camp, but the approach doesn't involve glacier travel and the route is a mellow class 4 scramble with little exposure. Since we didn't know what to expect or how comfortable we would feel we brought our rack and a single rope. We ended up scrambling easily up the spire with no route finding problems. We never needed any gear on the way up, but since we had a rope we chose to rappel off the summit. The anchors were spanking new, and not mentioned in the guidebook for obvious reasons. This is Alana working her way up the blocky and often loose terrain of Eastpost spire. This was a short section we travelled up off route. When we reached the top of the slab it quickly became apparent that we were off route and continuing ahead was not class 4 anymore, or at least it was exposed and sketcky, In the background you can see the wondferful Bugaboo spire, Crescent glacier, the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col, as well as the Bugaboo-Crescent col and the lovely tarns that hydrate us in the alpine.
The Bugaboos - August 12-18, 2012
Living in Squamish I am very lucky to be surrounded by excellent rock to train my technical climbing skills as well as many great peaks for scrambling. But, until last week I had never had the opportunity to combine the two skills I've been developing for years. That all changed when a friend invited me to be her partner on the yearly trip my friend group takes. Two months after the invitiation, a partner swap, and a week of careful packing and preparation I actually found myself driving east about to embark on what would be the greatest adventure of my life to date.
The moment I arrived at basecamp my lofty climbing aspiration were downgraded to starting with a 4th class route and going from there. I received tons of advice from friends that had been going for several years, but still nothing could have prepared me for the reality of being there. The ascent to Applebee basecamp, the scale of the spires, the difficulty of the glaciers, and the exposure did not translate well to maps and photos I found myself in awe and terror. Every single obstacle I encountered was more physically and mentally demanding that I could have expected.
Even though we were with a large group of friends, we were on our own when we headed out for the day and often learning as we went. As a result we learned many lessons the hard way, including when to put crampons on, when to switch into rock shoes, how hard preventing rockfall can be, and all the ways rappelling can go wrong.
It was both the single most terrifying and rewarding experience of my life. Never did I expect to learn so much in a week, or do so little actual climbing. Instead it was a wild ride of alpine obstacles, and a truly life changing experience shared with great friends old and new.
A brief summary of my adventure:
Aug 12 - Hike into Applebee base camp with 80+lbs pack full of climbing, camping, and glacier gear as well as 7 days of food, and clothes for everything from -10 to +30 degrees celcius rain and shine.
Aug 13 - Eastpost spire, combination of Northeast and Northwest ridges.
Aug 14 - Crescent Spire, W ridge. - Rained off first attempt, after self arresting and improv. anchor construction.
Aug 15 - Crescent Spire, W ridge - Successful ascent followed by rappelling disaster involving ditching a rope that was later recovered
Aug 16 - Pigeon Spire, W ridge - Got 30m up route then turned back to save terror management skills for descent back down the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col
Aug 17 - Eastpost spire again and bathing in the tarn
Aug 18 - Hike out and long drive home
Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding my experience.
Photos from this trip were taken with a combination of my Nikon D7000, Olympus uT8000 & GoPro HD2