Trip Report
The Bugaboos: Piton-less Playground, Part 1
Saturday August 10, 2013 2:01pm
Howser Towers seen from Pigeon Spire. Rick Graham photo.
Howser Towers seen from Pigeon Spire. Rick Graham photo.
Credit: marty(r)

"Manhood begins at 150 and above. Until you're 150 you can call yourself 'no man.'"~Guy With the Animal Nickname

Maybe it was the months of 60 hour work weeks. Or living at sea-level. Or less than infrequent visits to the Crème brûlée Cart. Never mind, I'd finally cleared the magical threshold. Clearly this was the time for another visit to Bugaboos.

Beyond the realm of chicken wire and porcupines. Houndstooth in the ba...
Beyond the realm of chicken wire and porcupines. Houndstooth in the background.
Credit: marty(r)

What I lacked in advanced training (I'd only gone cragging three times in the previous six months) my partner more than made up for. Behind the Orange Curtain resides an elusive breed of torque horse. My main climbing partner of many, Rick possess the uncanny ability to simply go and go. A few years back I barely kept up as he cranked through a birthday challenge at Joshua Tree, climbing 53 pitches, fueled entirely on diet Coke and a day old apple fritter. Yes, he's a chemist; no, he won't teach you to cook meth. Beast Mode doesn't even begin to describe Rick, and yet I'm still not entirely sure that he owns a real sleeping bag.

Bugaboo-Snowpatch col.
Bugaboo-Snowpatch col.
Credit: marty(r)

With seven days at the Kain Hut, fifteen minutes of rain, and 50+ guidebook pitches we came pretty darn close to finding the Bugaboo state of mind.

Day 1 UP: NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire DOWN: Kain Route

Can you spot the line?
Can you spot the line?
Credit: marty(r)

Where are the crowds?
Where are the crowds?
Credit: marty(r)

Snowpatch Spire from Bugaboo Spire
Snowpatch Spire from Bugaboo Spire
Credit: marty(r)

Rick contemplates the distance between the spire and the nearest deli.
Rick contemplates the distance between the spire and the nearest deli.
Credit: marty(r)

Perhaps the best pitch of the twelve.
Perhaps the best pitch of the twelve.
Credit: marty(r)

Six years prior I'd FUBARed the descent and ended up down-climbing miles of kitty litter stone and executed a bollard rappel by failing headlamp with a partner more freaked out than myself. This year, we made none of those mistakes.

Don't take a left at Albuquerque.
Don't take a left at Albuquerque.
Credit: marty(r)

A few hours later we were jockeying for pole position around snacks at the hut.

Day 2 UP/DOWN: West Ridge Pigeon Spire

Best pure fun route in the northern hemisphere? You be the judge.

Credit: marty(r)

Credit: marty(r)

Felix and Jeff, representing the Rust Belt Alpine Club and Snacking As...
Felix and Jeff, representing the Rust Belt Alpine Club and Snacking Association
Credit: marty(r)

Nearly 360 degrees of "can you believe this weather?"
Nearly 360 degrees of "can you believe this weather?"
Credit: marty(r)

What's a crampon?
What's a crampon?
Credit: marty(r)

On the way back to the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col we ran into some hard charging Spaniards coming out of the Howsers. One pair had polished off the Beckey-Chouinard and were literally running across the glacier to get on the Pink Furry Arete while the other pair had done All Along the Watchtower and a day later would jump right on Power of Lard. Red wine might have been a contributing factor.

The other best in show goes to party with the red portaledge working a free ascent of the old aid line on the Tom Egan Wall on Snowpatch.

Credit: marty(r)

Credit: marty(r)

Tom Freegan?


Day 3 UP: Snowpatch Route DOWN: Kraus-McCarthy

Now, I don't huff ether nor read Danielle Steel novels, but I'd lost all memory of this route from my visit in 2007.

Kristin and Mike from Utah graciously shared the route with us
Kristin and Mike from Utah graciously shared the route with us
Credit: marty(r)

Credit: marty(r)

Credit: marty(r)

Credit: marty(r)

Rapping the Kraus-McCarthy, part of the poor man's Patagonia
Rapping the Kraus-McCarthy, part of the poor man's Patagonia
Credit: marty(r)

Sure, it's got the classic position and a big wet patch of snow that some nutter once skied, but after getting off route and doing munge battle for an hour, I doubt I'll do this one again.

Day 4: Maxo-Relaxo

Stay tuned for part deux. Spoiler alert, it involves this guy

Fred, in deep concentration (Will Stanhope image)
Fred, in deep concentration (Will Stanhope image)
Credit: marty(r)

...and this guy

Coonyard in repose
Coonyard in repose
Credit: marty(r)

Part two can be found here.

  Trip Report Views: 3,221
marty(r)
About the Author
marty(r) is a climber from beneath the valley of ultravegans.

Comments
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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Aug 10, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Great TR.

DMT
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Aug 10, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
will someone please take me to the bugs!!!!

thanks for the tr
10b4me

climber
  Aug 10, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
TFPU
Tony Puppo

climber
Bishop
  Aug 10, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
Those routes look familiar, although when I think back on it.
Krikie, 37 years ago!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Aug 10, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
Jeez man!

This looks like too much fun.


Eagerly awaiting part 2
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Aug 11, 2013 - 12:20am PT
Is this thread Bug Spray?
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Author's Reply  Aug 11, 2013 - 12:30am PT
Tony~Did you go up there with Bob Harrington? He was one of the original inspirations for my first trip a few years back. Hope all is well on the East Side. Thanks for the resole. Say hi to Nan for me!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 12, 2013 - 05:51am PT
Love to hear more, waiting to hear about the Becky tail, or is it tale. ;)
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Aug 12, 2013 - 12:37am PT
...fifteen minutes of rain...

You lucky bastards.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Aug 12, 2013 - 12:40am PT
Bug Spray !? HAHAAH !!! GREAT TR. Brought back some memories !!!
RBracci

climber
  Aug 12, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
Nice TR, Marty. Looks like you guys had a great time. And can't speak enough about the power of the graham cracker...
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Aug 12, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Marty thank you so much for the guidebook last year! Glad your trip also went well. Hope we climb something together in Sierra or Yosemite if you have time! Fit positive partners are hard to find! :)
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Aug 12, 2013 - 03:38pm PT
That is good living!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 12, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
I've heard of that place! Your pics make it look worth visiting!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 12, 2013 - 04:30pm PT
Fifteen minutes of rain in the Bugaboos? Really? When can I climb with you?

That is one excellent TR. I can hardly wait for the rest.

John
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
  Aug 12, 2013 - 04:43pm PT
The party working on freeing Tom Egan is Will Stanhope and Matt Segal
Pie

Trad climber
So-Cal
  Aug 12, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
Rick is a beast!
pneame

Trad climber
Tampa, FL
  Aug 12, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
Roll on part 2. Great pictures
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Aug 12, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
VLG must have convinced the deities to delay the rains... amazing...
great TR in a great place... been there twice, 85 and 95
it would be wonderful to go back again in 2015 (having missed the 2005 trip)...

rick graham

Trad climber
Embracing entropy in Irvine, CA
  Aug 14, 2013 - 11:04am PT
Bumpage……and eagerly awaiting part deux!

Thanks Marty, cool TR and thanks for making my intro to the Bugs so great. We were very fortunate that the Purcell Mountain Gods allowed us to max out the week. For my next visit, I gotta kick-up my game and avoid the Bugaboo Beatdown.
Cheers,
Rick
Tony Puppo

climber
Bishop
  Aug 14, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
Marty, I went to the Bugs with Paul Brown. We did those same routes and a scramble up Crescent. Rained every other day and tent camped with the Snafflehounds.
highcamp

Trad climber
Bay Area, CA
  Aug 14, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
TFPU.

Looking forward to part II.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Aug 14, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
Nice. Done those first two, was thinking about the 3rd one for next year. Will have to investigate worthiness now. BTW, there are crevasses out there. Saw a couple punch throughs but no one disappeared themselves.
Chugach

Trad climber
Vermont
  Aug 14, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
Bravo!!
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Aug 17, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
If Tom Freegan was the professional climber at Applebee, then he must have been the guy who had his lighter stolen by a squirrel. The chase scene was hilarious :-)

Great TR! Looks like you lucked out and caught the last of the good weather. We showed up around the same time and missed a lot due to weather - Snowpatch Spire will have to wait!
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
Part deux: http://www.supertopo.com/tripreport/tripreport.php?articleid=12091&dpid=Oj00OjspJSMqIg,,
Jacemullen

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Aug 17, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
The bugaboos look SO RAD!

Best place to find some of that sweet sweet beta?
Marshall

climber
bay area
  Aug 18, 2013 - 04:59pm PT

good one marty - looks like a kickass trip!!
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Tom Freegan is just a name I made up for the (Free) Tom Egan Wall that Will Stanhope and Matt Segal are working on. Some images and background are here.

In terms of other beta, pull off the road at Brisco, head up the logging road and park where everyone is feverishly wrapping their rigs in chickenwire. Then hike toward the glaciers and get after it. The Atkinson/Piche guide is the tome to own.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Aug 20, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Sweet! Someday I will visit this place!
msiddens

Trad climber
  Sep 9, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
What a trip!
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
  Sep 9, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
I can remember climbing the NE ridge of Bugaboo back in 1980 right after days of storms. I had to chip away at the ice on the upper pitches to make progress. Needless to say it made for an interesting time.
This may be one of the better 5.7/5.8 routes anywhere
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 9, 2013 - 06:38pm PT
Excellent. Good weather means good times in the Bugs.
eKat

Trad climber
  Nov 11, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
BBST!

(As a reminder = BBST = donini for Bump for a Better SuperTopo)
Sketch

Trad climber
Not FortMental
  Nov 11, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
Great trip report. Love the pics. Glad you had such good weather.
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