The Bugaboos are one of North America’s premier alpine climbing destinations and are located in the Purcell Mountains of B.C.
This year, like most others, the Kain Hut and Applebee have been busting at the seams with climbers from all over the world. The 2014/15 winter produced lower-than-normal snowfall amounts that has affected the state of glaciers in the provincial park. The Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col is more dangerous than previous years and rockfall has been an issue.
Climbers, however, have been getting after it in good old alpine warrior style. Through storms, up old routes and on remote peaks, alpinists have racked up dozens of epic ascents this year.
While the climbing world follows Will Stanhope and Matt Segal’s progress as they attempt to free the Tom Egan Memorial Route – the project was first thought of in 2010 – new routes are being climbed throughout the park.
One such route is Welcome to the Machine, a 13-pitch 5.11+, by Jon Walsh and partners. The route climbs the east face of Snowpatch Spire, a familiar wall to Walsh who has pioneered a number of multi-pitch hard lines up the face.
After some exploration over the past two years, Walsh and Michelle Kadatz had climbed the first five pitches. On Aug. 2, Walsh teamed up with Alik Berg and climbed eight more pitches to the top, some of which Walsh and Berg had previously established. Taran Ortlieb joined Walsh and Berg when they fixed ropes on pitches one to four, which allowed Walsh to snap some photos of Berg on lead.
“On the first day we climbed the first four pitches and fixed our two ropes,” wrote Walsh on his blog. “This allowed a bit of head start for a bigger day the next day. It was nice to sleep in the evening after hiking up, and fun to have Taran Ortlieb join us for this.”
For the full story and some outstanding photos, visit Walsh’s blog ‘Alpine Style’ here.
A week before Welcome to the Machine was completed, Jonny Simms and Dennis Shaver established Break on Through to the Other Side, a 5.10 eight-pitch route near Applebee to the summit of East Post Spire.
The new route is on DMT wall close to the campground, which makes its many single pitch routes obvious choices on poor weather days. Simms established the route while working as an alpine guide for Shaver over two days in July.
“From Applebee, climb up a scree field and skirt across an obvious grass ramp to the base of the route,” said Simms. “The six-pitch route has thought-provoking gear.”
The first pitch is 5.9, followed by a 5.10 and a few more 5.9 and 5.5 pitches and ends atop the well-known East Post Spire. From there is a scramble off.