Will Stanhope has freed the Tom Egan Memorial Route on Snowpatch Spire in the Bugaboos.
From Aug. 11 to 14, Stanhope and his partner Matt Segal climbed the 1978 Daryl Hatten and John Simpson A3 on the East Face of Snowpatch Spire, Stanhope freeing every pitch.
As Stanhope reported, “Matt came up short on the crux face pitch and supported me to the end of the climb. This is seriously the most insecure pitch I have ever tried and it could’ve gone either way for me. I got very, very lucky. Matt is a champion in my eyes and the best partner a guy could ask for.”
Stanhope first rappelled the 13-pitch route in 2010 with Hazel Findlay. He then spent four summers and over 100 days with Segal trying to free the esthetic route, which climbs from the East Face to the Yellow Tower on the Northeast Ridge.
“The route climbs Sweet Sylvia and traverses across a face pitch to the headwall cracks of the Tom Egan,” reported Stanhope.
“The face pitch is the crux at 5.14. The next crack pitch, dubbed ‘Blood on the Crack’ is the second hardest pitch and goes at 5.14-.
“The next two pitches are 5.13 and 5.13-R respectively. From there we rejoined Sweet Sylvia. The angle eases off and a handful of 5.10/ 5.9 crack pitches lead to the Yellow Tower.
“We rappelled the Sunshine route in some savage heavy weather, at one point getting clubbed by giant chunks of hail. Thankfully that didn’t last long.
“There are no hands off free stances on the entire fourth-pitch crux headwall. We ended the pitches at the old aid belays. If somebody links all the crux pitches ledge to ledge one day I’ll be the first in line to hand them an ice cold sixer of beers.”
The Tom Egan Memorial route is one of the most technically difficult all-free alpine rock routes in North America.