Bugs photo TR: (long) sorry dial-uppers....


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 24, 2007 - 07:20pm PT
"Hey JR, feel like a trip into the Bugs?"

"Ya sure, never been"

"Your gonna love it man, was in the East creek basin
under the Howsers last year and it looks like you could get in from the west no sweat"

"The west huh? how long for the approach"

"6....8 hours tops... scoped it out last week"


After work we leave Castlegar B.C, 2.5 hrs on pavement, then 2 more on logging roads and we arrive at Rory Creek.

Day 1:
How do ya like your eggs Johnny?

An hour in and the defunked logging road turns into an Alder-Bashing-Fest.
Rory Creek bridge......

Above the Alders and into an old burn.

After the burn up the burn, we reach a ridge used for Heli-hiking with the Bugs finally in view.

At this point my 6-8 hour guesstimate was proven wrong. Nothin an hour nap wouldn't cure. From this spot we had to descend close to a 1000 ft then back up to the col in the center of the photo.

Only to see!!!!!!!!

13 hours in and we call it a day. Nothing like soft meadow grass under yer back after a long haul.

Day 2:
Breakfast...then this for dessert!

3.5 hours later and we make it to camp, and the bivy boulder is all ours.

A little bit of food.....

Then the other dessert.....

Day 3:
We cast off to the Howsers east side.

Passing the Howser/Pigeon col.

There she be, Kains 19frickin16 line up the North Howser, (center of photo). He guided 4 folks up it in 20 hours horse to horse, back when there was not even a trail leading to the present day hut.

Almost at the schrund......

Pitch 2, looking north at the Vowell range. Kains line was melted out, so we veer out left onto the north ridge line of the central Howser.

A few more pitches and we make it to the south ridge of the north Howser. The 2 adjoining peaks are Crossed Fish Tower and Little Snowpatch.
"Hey Johnny did you hear that thunder?"

This is what the Central/South Howsers look like before being engulfed in snow and massive lightning.

The storm starts to circle us, so we book it for the summit.
As we top-out, sh#t hits the fan with heavy snow and lightning strikes every few seconds. We backtrack a bit, get off the ridge proper and strip-off all hardware, stash it under a boulder and hunker down.
There is way too much electricity in the air to chance a descent so we give the fireworks an hour to fizzle out.
When the time comes we avoid searching for the proper descent, and head back a pitch to look for a slung horn and biner draped over the ridge. We barely
spot it with all the new snow, tie our 2 cords together and waste no time rapping off.

A few raps in, showing my elated state of not being on the ridge any longer.

4 raps later we are just over the schrund, SWEET... only to find our stiff cords stuck after 2 pulls. Not so sweet.
We try everything and after a long time we cut 30ft off each end in fear of being buried by the growing snowpack.

A salute to the rope stealing gods.......
Visibility is now next to nil. With the help of 1-2 seconds windows the next 6 hours are spent trying to find the col. With the new snow too light to dig, we find a small rock cave at the glaciers edge and excavate for an hour.
Our night is a long one without bivy gear in our tiny cave. With knees to our chests we spend most of the night catching drips of our condensed breathe in a bottle. Yummy!!!

Day 4:
The storm lingers for yet another day. This morning is a replay of yesterdays low-vis game of see-and-run!

After 4 hours of searching for a way off the glacier we stagger back into camp.

Within minutes the skies open up........

After sympathy burritos and BEER!!!!!! from Coloradans Bruce and Chris we crash in an extra food tent with snoring Alaskan Mike.

Day 5:

With ropes chopped and feet numb our time here is over.

We wish the lads good-luck on freeing their new line up the Minaret and head down towards East Creek.....

To speed things up we strapped on some heli-skiing markers but the wax was all wrong.

JR tried his luck with the good ole alpine tuck....

and I failed to link even one tele-turn.

I think I see the car from here!!!

Hour 9 and things get a little hazy.......
Finally at the rig after 10.5 hours, stoked, but only because we found our creek stashed........


.....to pour over our battered......

.....for the ride home.


Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
Feb 24, 2007 - 07:24pm PT
sweeeeeeeeet...thanks for sharing !

Trad climber
SF, aka: Dirkastan
Feb 24, 2007 - 07:32pm PT
Thanks, I needed that. I am sitting in an old research office, freezing, waiting for more hail. What a wonderful T.R., and a plesant distraction.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 24, 2007 - 07:33pm PT
excellent... a typical trip to Canada, and the 'Bugs... love it there!

thanks for the picture beta of the route... wanted to do that one for a long time...
J. Werlin

Feb 24, 2007 - 08:05pm PT
Great TR! Thanks for posting.

Gym climber
Here and there
Feb 24, 2007 - 08:33pm PT
That was sweeeeet! I want to go!

I'm wondering how All Along the Watchtower would go for someone with no skills or talent like me. Might have to find out this summer. Maybe I can find some skills first.


Trad climber
Feb 24, 2007 - 08:36pm PT


Trad climber
Falls Church, VA
Feb 24, 2007 - 11:16pm PT
Superb. The climbing gods like to play with us, and they make us pay full freight for pics like that. But it's worth it.

the last bivy
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:52am PT
my HEROS!! great climb and thank god you posted
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:06pm PT
Wow, the approach to the Howsers, the hard way. Nice work.

Mountain climber
Dak side
Feb 25, 2007 - 02:28pm PT
wow great TR! I know I met the guy w/ the whiskey bottle before, just can't remember where.

the last bivy
Feb 25, 2007 - 07:56pm PT
bump for the first page, this is such a great tr

The City of Lost Angels
Feb 25, 2007 - 10:13pm PT
Grover--You guys are da bomb! I'm sitting here sweatin' and freezin' all at the same time with those photos. And those were some major good photos!

Awesome TR and I'm glad you two made it out with all fingers and toes.

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Feb 26, 2007 - 12:31pm PT
Bump. Great TR, thanks man.

This is also an attempt to keep a very worthy topic up front instead of the lame ass troll feeds going on....
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Feb 26, 2007 - 01:03pm PT
One of the best Photo TR's I've seen! Great pics, and captions. It's great to see two guys loving life in the face of adversity. I'm probably headed there this summer with a friend and this makes me drool! Thank you. This is what the SuperTopo forum is all about!


Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Nov 30, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
yeah... thaks for bringing it back to the front!!!
adam d

closer to waves than rock
Nov 30, 2009 - 03:55pm PT
Sweet! worthy bump. way different experience than the hut/applebee.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 30, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
One word. . . AWESOME!!!!!!!

Whoo hoo!!!! (okay a few more. . .)

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 30, 2009 - 08:03pm PT
Good thing you had "nerve tonic" along so you could toast cheating death and ease the sore muscles.

Hell of a trip! Woohoo!

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2009 - 08:19pm PT
A true ADVENTURE......

Way to go, thanks for posting.......

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 30, 2009 - 08:53pm PT
The pictures really made it.
I always wanted to go there, now not so sure......

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 30, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
Ah, c'mon survival--you & me & buggs oughta head up there
one of these summers once I get outta school.

That granite has been enticing me for years--and heck,
the weather can't be any worse that shiverin' at Vedawoo in
the torrential rains or hail. . . .

Yippee dippee!~!!!

Trad climber
Dec 1, 2009 - 10:58am PT
Nice TR!

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Dec 1, 2009 - 11:59am PT
it looks like you could get in from the west no sweat

The preamble to so many good epics.

right here, right now
Dec 1, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
Bump open the back door to the Bugs!

East of Seattle
Dec 1, 2009 - 08:09pm PT
Great TR! Thanks for a peek at the Bug's.

Still, sad to see what looks like pretty fresh logging up there. Any re planting yet?

Thanks again,
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Mar 18, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
Nice adventure!!!

Northern Mexico
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2012 - 03:36pm PT
pc most of the logging we saw was older and re-planted.

Any logging done on crown-land in these parts technically has to be re-planted, logging rules on private holdings are not so stringent.


Northern Mexico
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2012 - 03:56pm PT
hmmm......Thumbs up if you like to walk

Thumbs down if you are limited for time.

ya know I do remember Chris talking about his hand.

What a storm huh?

edit: I met the guy who found our chopped ropes a couple years later.
Johnny pulled down on them while I clambered up an ice tower for maximum retrieval. So after they were cut they hung 30'off the deck. The guy thought someone rapped off the ends......

Mar 20, 2012 - 08:30pm PT
Awesome adventure! Thanks!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 20, 2012 - 08:44pm PT
Very cool TR. How much driving did all that walking save you guys?

Northern Mexico
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2012 - 09:24pm PT
How much driving did all that walking save you guys?

About -2 days.

edit: probably 1 hour

Mar 20, 2012 - 09:46pm PT
Nice work.......Great TR Grover!

Cool beans ya'll!


Mar 22, 2012 - 12:26am PT

Just read this again.


How many hours were you 2 in the cave bivy?

May 21, 2013 - 12:18am PT
That's a good one!!

May 21, 2013 - 12:32am PT
Oh hell yeah!
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