Alpine Climbing in the Bugaboos, British Columbia.

In August, Erin Smart and I took a week-long trip to the world famous Bugaboo Mountains in the Purcell Range of British Columbia. Here an amazing collection of granite spires rise out of alpine glaciers draw climbers from around the world while temperamental weather conditions add to the unpredictable nature of climbing in the area.

_10B6358 One of the spires of the Bugaboos comes into view during the hike up.
_10B6368 The trail up to the alpine includes one ladder and several sections with bolted chains to assist with a safe ascent along the trail.
Erin Smart reviews her climbing guide below Bugaboo Spire. Erin Smart reviews her climbing guide below Bugaboo Spire.
Applebee camp sits on the granite prow below Eastpost Spire. Applebee camp sits on the granite prow below Eastpost Spire.
Sunrise on Snowpatch Spire, above the Crescent Glacier. Bugaboo Range. Sunrise on Snowpatch Spire, above the Crescent Glacier. Bugaboo Range.
IMG_4604 Sunrise over peaks to the North of the Bugaboo Range and the massive tongue of the Vowell glacier below them. As seen from the ridge between Bugaboo Spire and Crescent Spire.
IMG_4611 Just as we arrived to the base of the steepest section of Bugaboo Spire’s northeast ridge an electrical storm rolled in. Erin shares her thoughts about the situation from where she hunkered down in the talus. Snowpatch Spire beyond disappears into the clouds.
IMG_4617 After the lightning passed we retrieved our metal climbing gear from under a blanket of hale at the base of the route and retreated down the ridge.
Erin Smart laying out gear to dry out after a summer storm in the Bugaboos. Erin Smart laying out gear to dry out after the storm in the Bugaboos.
_10B6502 Climber on the second pitch of MacTech Arete (5.10b) on Crescent Spire, a beautiful line on a magnificent granite face.
IMG_4645 Erin racks up to lead out on MacTech Direct on Crescent Spire. Snowpatch Spire and the Crescent Glacier beyond.
IMG_4655 Erin Smart getting down to business on a roof on the forth pitch of the route (5.9).
Erin Smart sending the roof on the 4th Pitch of McTech Arete (direct). Erin Smart sending the roof on the 4th Pitch of McTech Direct.
IMG_4725 Jason Cramm leading high on the route next door to us, Paddle Flake Direct.
IMG_4727 Jason Cramm on Paddle Flake Direct with the northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire beyond.
IMG_4807 Unidentified climber on the false summit of Pigeon Spire. Howser Spires and the upper Vowell Glacier beyond.
IMG_4921 Second attempt was a success for Erin and I on Bugaboo Spire’s northeast ridge (Grade IV, 5.8). Here Erin traverses from the north summit to the south summit for our descent down the south ridge of the mountain.
IMG_4916 Looking down on Snowpatch Spire from close to the summit of Bugaboo Spire.
_10B6539 This beautiful mountain range is quickly changing–not from the climbers that flock to the area but climate change. Glaciers in this part of the Purcell Mountains are in fast retreat due to climate change, apparent here from the vast stretches of bare glacial ice and the very thin remaining snow cover of much of the rest of them. The Crescent glacier, in the foreground, no longer has an accumulation zone and it is only a matter of time before the ice which remains disappears completely. Learn more about climate change at 350.org.
IMG_0795 A basket of “mucky fires” and a pint of IPA at the Pedal and Tap in Kimberly, BC was a perfect way to celebrate a successful trip to a stunning location!

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