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New 22-Pitch 5.10 on B.C.’s Big Rugged Mountain

The Southwest Face route was established over two years

The following was written by Ahren Rankin about a new route on Rugged Mountain that goes at V 5.10 A0 over 22 pitches climbed with James Rode and Garner Bergeron.

Climbed over a series of three weekends starting in Aug. 2017 and finished on August long weekend 2019, this route climbs the dramatic Southwest face of Rugged Mountain in the Haihte Range which rises above the Nomash Valley near the coastal community of Zeballos on Vancouver Island.

Climbed ground up and with bolted belays as well as the occasional protection bolt, this route climbs a series of obvious features on the far west side of the face, ascending 13 pitches to a spacious bivy ledge before launching into nine more pitches on the steep upper buttress which is broken by a large corner feature. The top of the buttress connected back to the mountain via an incredible fin of rock before a final two pitches deposited us at the top of the face.

The Southwest Face of Rugged Mountain
The intention of establishing the route the way we did was to leave behind a large and safe alpine climbing route which could be attempted by climbers of various ability levels, with the bolted belays allowing for rapid retreat back down the route if necessary.

The initial 13 pitches may become a popular climb unto themselves with about 600 metres of climbing to only 5.8 and a comfy bivy site at the top, before entering the more challenging climbing through the upper buttress.

We climbed the initial eight pitches on our first day on the wall, arriving at the headwall which cuts across the slabs at this point, finding an amazing corner which allowed access through this very steep obstacle. We returned the following weekend but were rained out, so we set about re-opening the access trails in the area.


Back again the next Saturday we re-climbed the first eight and established seven more pitches, discovering the excellent bivy ledge in the process.

Fast forward to Aug 2019, we ascended back to our high point the first day and after a great night bivied high on the wall launched upwards into the steeps, we climbed seven more exciting pitches on very good rock in an incredible setting, topping out by headlamp at 10 p.m.

We settled in for the night on a small ledge then quickly summited the next morning and hustled back down into the valley for some well deserved water.

James Rode on the fifth pitch
Garner Bergeron leading the corner through the midway headwall
Ahren Rankin leading the tenth pitch