Bugaboo Spire 3186 m
Bugaboo Provincial Park, British Columbia
The Bugaboos are a small outcropping of granite peaks surrounded by glacier in the Purcell Range of British Columbia. Here is a rock climbers heaven, but long ago, I went there too. The classic Kain route on Bugaboo Spire is a 5.5 climb, reached from Boulder Camp and Conrad Kain hut after crossing a small glacier. Try the crux "gendarme pitch" in mountain boots (not rock shoes!) for added challenge. After all, Austrian guide Conrad Kain originally did it in rope-soled shoes in 1916, and without a belay too...
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Oops! Looks like an accident: Should have tied those bootlaces after all. Not a good start. We left the hut about 6 a.m. and were still unco-ordinated so early in the morn.
He's back on his feet and heading for Bugaboo Spire! The climbing route crosses a bergschrund then ascends a snow slope to the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col. (left of picture) The ridge rising from left to right is the ascent ridge (Kain route). Popular Northeast Ridge is on the right skyline of mountain.
View of the beautiful Howser Towers to the west from Kain route on Bugaboo Spire.
Climbing beautiful, solid bugaboo granite towards the gendarme under a perfect blue sky.
A few hours later we are near the infamous gendarme, the crux, which has pit marks in it from lightning strikes. You traverse across a steep slab to the left of it on ascent, and rappel the north side of it to a ledge on descent. Climber in lower right of photo. To traverse the slab below the gendarme we used a fixed pin in a crack for protection and also placed a Friend in a crack. Pretty exposed move...
Lunch on the summit of Bugaboo Spire. Fast, eh? No time wasted on photos here. Behind are the three Howser Towers, also popular rock climbs. From Bugaboo Spire on a clear day Mount Assiniboine is visible, as is Mount Sir Donald. That was where we headed next that summer.
These pictures give an example of what it is like to climb Bugaboo Spire in the Purcell Range of British Columbia. The access road starts from Highway 95 south of Golden B.C. at a hamlet called Brisco, where a gravel road leads west to Bugaboo Provincial Park. A few hours hike then takes you to Conrad Kain Hut (reservations now through Alpine Club of Canada). Online bookstores, bookstores/outdoor stores in Calgary, Banff and Golden should have the guidebook "Bugaboo Rock".
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© All photos copyright by the author 1999.