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Voodoo Chile is New 500-metre 5.11 on North Howser in Bugaboos

Established by Alik Berg and Uisdean Hawthorn

Canadian Alik Berg and Scottish climber Uisdean Hawthorn recently made the first ascent of Voodoo Chile, a 500-metre 5.11+ on the North Howser Tower in the Bugaboos.

“Our decision to head in was very last minute,” said Hawthorn, “but 24 hours later we had made it to east creek in time for the last day of good weather.” Berg had spotted the line a few years ago.

Voodoo Chile 5.11+ 500m (approximate line)

The top alpinists, who have many big new routes to their names, approach during a heat wave in eastern B.C. A number of new route went down in the Bugs this summer, including Jon Walsh’s Gravy Train 5.12.

“The cracks we were aiming for turned out to be mega,” said Hawthorn. “Eleven pitches in total with the 5.11+ crux on the top headwall being the highlight. The first half had a hard switch from one crack to another and a pumpy layback at 30 metres where Alik impressively hung around and scraped the holds clean.”

The North Howser has a number of classic rock climbs, with the most legendary being All Along the Watchtower, a 30-pitch 5.12, which Berg and Hawthorn climbed in early August.

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“After the pumpy first 30 metres, the second half gave a good reward of a double hand crack on the golden headwall,” said Hawthorn. “In total, it took 19 hours (east creek to east creek) but that included a few dead ends. A really good way of climbing North Howser with a lot less commitment than the other┬ároutes, but still having high quality climbing on it. With only the bottom two pitches and 10m of muddy crack being not quite as good as the rest.”