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.

 One of the spires of the Bugaboos comes into view during the hike up.

One of the spires of the Bugaboos comes into view during the hike up.

 The trail up to the alpine includes one ladder and several sections with bolted chains to assist with a safe ascent along the trail.

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.

 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.

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.

 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.

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.

 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.

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 the storm in the Bugaboos.

Erin Smart laying out gear to dry out after the storm in the Bugaboos.

 Climber on the second pitch of MacTech Arete (5.10b) on Crescent Spire, a beautiful line on a magnificent granite face.

Climber on the second pitch of MacTech Arete (5.10b) on Crescent Spire, a beautiful line on a magnificent granite face.

 Erin racks up to lead out on MacTech Direct on Crescent Spire. Snowpatch Spire and the Crescent Glacier beyond.

Erin racks up to lead out on MacTech Direct on Crescent Spire. Snowpatch Spire and the Crescent Glacier beyond.

 Erin Smart getting down to business on a roof on the forth pitch of the route (5.9).

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 Direct.

Erin Smart sending the roof on the 4th Pitch of McTech Direct.

 Jason Cramm leading high on the route next door to us, Paddle Flake Direct.

Jason Cramm leading high on the route next door to us, Paddle Flake Direct.

 Jason Cramm on Paddle Flake Direct with the northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire beyond.

Jason Cramm on Paddle Flake Direct with the northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire beyond.

 Unidentified climber on the false summit of Pigeon Spire. Howser Spires and the upper Vowell Glacier beyond.

Unidentified climber on the false summit of Pigeon Spire. Howser Spires and the upper Vowell Glacier beyond.

 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.

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.

 Looking down on Snowpatch Spire from close to the summit of Bugaboo Spire.

Looking down on Snowpatch Spire from close to the summit of Bugaboo Spire.

 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 .

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.

 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!   

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!

 

David Moskowitz

David Moskowitz, Winthrop, WA, 98862