TR- Beckey -Coonyard BITD


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Feb 12, 2009 - 03:40pm PT
Ditto on the best line This is Alan wondering where he dropped his sleeping bag and teddy bear. Oh yeah, we didn't bring our teddy bears or sleeping bags. We're a Scot and an Irishman; one doesn't need them and the other doesn't know any better. Actually, upon examining this shot again I realized it isn't the bivy ledge


Close second: it was colder than a loan sharks heart!

Great stuff all around! Thanks for sharing it Reilly.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 12, 2009 - 03:46pm PT
Ahhhh Reilly, you are on a roll my friend.

You're my new favorite Supertaconian flavor of the month.

Great photos with some fun humor to spice the taco. bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer....

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 12, 2009 - 03:47pm PT
Thanks, Reilly - and Clint, too! Brings back fond memories of a Canadian classic. The backside of the Howsers is a very special place, indeed.


Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 12, 2009 - 04:20pm PT

If my comment gets you to do another TR on the east ridge of Bugaboo, all the better! Thanks for the great pix and TR.

Feb 12, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Nice enough Reilly and Clint, but where is someone with pictures of the Hut girl sweethearts of the early 80s?

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Feb 12, 2009 - 09:48pm PT
Bump for the real deal!

Thanks y'all
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 2, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
Yet Another Big Alpine Bump!
adam d

closer to waves than rock
Nov 2, 2009 - 11:29pm PT
Love this climb...thanks for the bump.

Clint's photo upthread of hauling the pack high on the climb...

(if I remember right) the cracks to the left of the pack make a great variation 10/10+ ish (hard to gauge leading with a pack on eh?) but are really excellent and have tremendous exposure out to the L and down. A couple of pins and really interesting climbing following the 3 thin cracks, lots of favorite pitch of the climb.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 3, 2009 - 12:47am PT
We (Eric and I) first went to the Bugaboos in 1974. After we climbed one route on Snowpatch, Eric tried to persuade me to climb some route on the west side of the Howsers. The guidebook offered next to no useful information, but it was pretty obvious that it would have been well over my head. I was back in 1977 with my friend John, and we did try it, with full-on paraphernalia. Mountain boots, crampons, overnight pack, the whole bit. No surprise that we descended after three or four pitches. We returned in 1991.
As with Yosemite, a major logistical issue is protecting your possessions from marauding snafflehounds. Oddly, I don't remember problems in 1974 or later - perhaps someone has a captive breeding facility for them? Maybe LEB?
Some of the critters, such as those at Boulder Camp, are really quite friendly. This one climbed into my pack, while I was sitting beside it, and helped itself to a snack.
We were on an expenses-paid trip. I had an interview in Cranbrook, and they gave me money in lieu of a flight. The weather was unstable, though. Day 1 we drove to Cranbrook, and that night there was a huge lightning storm. Day 2 I had my interview, and we drove to Golden and visited friends. Day 3 we drove in, and hiked from the parking lot to camp at the Pigeon-Howsers col. A bit of an effort. This photo shows approaching the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col - the 'slabs' beneath Snowpatch are where they're talking about installing cables and ladders.
This is the view when you finally get to the col.
adam d

closer to waves than rock
Nov 3, 2009 - 01:15am PT
argh, the cables etc on the pigeon/snowpatch col is a HORRIBLE idea.

[edit...clearly pigeon is in the middle of the snowpatch/bugaboo col in this pic and this is the col of the proposed cables. oops.]

(another shot of the col...from near crescent tower I think)


Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 3, 2009 - 01:53am PT
The top of the chimney in your pack-hauling shot we found rather
interesting with it having a nice coating a ice. Not to worry,
it was Alan-the-Scot's lead.

Bugaboo Rodentae

After being driven from a point near the top of Snowpatch by lightning and a torrent we repaired to our tent near the hut about midnight. In the wee hours I became aware of an intruder inside our tent! Not in a mood to be trifled with by a lower life form a Keystone Cops charade ensued with the three of us pursuing said varmint who raced around looking for his entry point. It was probably good that he eventually found it.

The next morning, about 10 AM, we ambled over to the hut to lounge in the sun. Just as a group of hikers appeared so too did our previous night's tormenter, or at the least one of his siblings. He hopped up on a rock a good 12 meters away as if to mock us. I arose from supine to sitting and grabbed a missile at hand and invoked all that years of pitching baseball had bestowed upon me. It was a clean head shot of stunning efficacy which garnered nary a comment from the onlookers. We slept well that night.



Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Nov 3, 2009 - 04:06am PT
Great post. Oh those pics.

East of Seattle
Nov 3, 2009 - 08:49am PT
Great report and pics! Thanks very much Reilly and Clint.

Trad climber
Nov 3, 2009 - 10:53am PT
Great thread!
Thanks guys.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 3, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
Part 2 of the saga, from 1991.
John, at our camp at the P-H col. (I'm sure Crimpie will have no difficulty picking out the pigeon likeness.) The weather got better and better as we slowly ground our way up from the parking lot. We had 4 - 5 days of supplies, and had several routes in mind including the B-C, but with such good weather thought we ought to strike while the iron was hot, even though we'd had a long day.
Arty sunset photo.

After pretending to sleep, we got up at 4 and were off by 5. We got to the base at 7, and this is what you see looking up.

You scramble several hundred metres up a low-angle class 3 - 5 area, then it steepens abruptly.

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Nov 3, 2009 - 02:05pm PT
Very nice! Thanks for posting
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 3, 2009 - 08:30pm PT
The last photo is the first difficult pitch, perhaps 5.9 or so. After two or three more, you get into the 80 m diedre, or 250 foot corner, or whatever it's supposed to be called.
A wonderful two pitch 5.7/5.8 corner with a handcrack.

A little further up we saw a headless climber.
Not sure if it had anything to do with the snafflehounds. Anyway, we decided we'd better have lunch and think about it.

We're now about half way, maybe 9 or 10 pitches up, with the headwall looming ominously above. Except that the route goes up the shadowy cracks and chimneys on its left.
Still, it's quite pretty.

Arkansas, I suppose
Nov 3, 2009 - 09:00pm PT
Bump for some pretty cool stuff. Still need to get my lazy self out there.

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 3, 2009 - 11:07pm PT
Anders: I am gripped --------and can hardly wait to see the rest of your-----I assume: epic climb of South Howser Tower.

During the 70’s I slogged into the base of the route on three occasions.

On each trip: we bivouacked, and after a restless night, filled with strange dreams and occasional attacks by pack rats------woke to ugly weather.

I never had the “hard man” drive to start an alpine route when I knew the weather was against me. Especially in the Bugaboos: with the history of lightning storms----fatalities and near misses.

Here are some of my best photos. On the third trip, Mike Yokel was probably disappointed by my lack of determination. He was the only partner that actually went in and climbed the route at a later date.

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 4, 2009 - 01:01am PT
This report seems to be taking almost as long as we took on the climb. I guess I do drag things out a bit.

We did the B-C 30 years after its first ascent. Fred Beckey wrote it up in the American Alpine Journal in 1962 - see They had adventures with a snafflehound eating one of their fixed ropes, and used quite a lot of aid, with 135 piton placements altogether. Sadly, the report doesn't say anything about how Fred and Yvon got along; they seem rather dissimilar characters. I wonder if they did any other climbs together?

Anyway, after lunch on Big Sandy, we intrepidly continued. We were leading in blocks of four pitches, a new idea which seemed to work. Only one pack, with just enough gear. I had the block off of Big Sandy, which I guess made me the block-head. (Would it be an effete Euro-ism to say "bloc-head"?) There are three or four quite steep and airy pitches, and here we're looking down.
You can see the low angle stuff at the base of the buttress, but the intervening 12 - 14 pitches are in dead ground.

The steep cracks on the left side of the headwall eventually become a corner system, then gradually a steep chimney and then gully along the crest. As we were using double 9 mm ropes, it was simple to lead on a single rope for those pitches, and haul the pack with the other. The key is not to fall off for the first 10 m of each pitch, and to place lots of protection.

More or less at changeover. John in his stylish bicycle helmet - he'd lost or dropped his climbing helmet, so I suggested that bringing it would be better than none at all.

In the upper cracks and corner, about pitch 16. None of the climbing is all that hard - maybe a bit of 5.9. But there's lots of 5.7 and 5.8, and it's fairly steep and in a remote spot, so I didn't take many photos. (This is about where people usually find ice in the chimney/crack - it runs down from a snowpatch above, then freezes.)
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