Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bugaboos - Day 3, NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire

At 3:30 a.m. we're not the only ones milling about camp. We are, however, the first party headed out of camp toward the Northeast Ridge. Route finding, even when it's straightforward, feels slower in the dark. We gain the access ramp above the Crescent Glacier and begin climbing. Sandy legdes and some loose rock make soloing feel unappealing and we rope up halfway along the ramp.

Almost right away there are two parties behind us. A solid route finding tip we gleaned from a party yesterday, going straight up a steep corner before the end of the ramp, puts us out in front of the other parties.

Seemingly endless sections of 3rd and 4th class test one's
endurance during the approach, even on easier routes like
the NE Ridge.

By the time we're on pitch two there are no less than 5 parties lined up behind us. By pitch four we can only hear them below and have the route to ourselves. When you know you'll be able to move fast on a route you need to start very early to beat the crowds, or very late so you are way behind every one else on the route. Both Lawrence and I like the early start, so that's our default game plan.

A solid high pressure system allowed us to climb a few classics before rain
kept us tentbound. My CCW Ozone was a good pack to have along for
moderate climbs

The route follows a chimney section through it's entire mid section, along the north side. These pitches go quickly and soon enough we're on top. A straightforward traverse with 3 short rappels puts one on the Kain South Ridge. The summit is a 5 minute scramble from that point.

Lawrence at the start of the chimney system in the route's
The upper section of the route is characterized by short
bouldery sections of climbing that lead to a ridgeline.

The very solid traverse between the north and south

A final short rappel leads to the Kain South Ridge and the true summit.
For the second time in two days we've summited Bugaboo Spire with a chilly northwest breeze making exposure to the northern aspects slightly unpleasant. The descent is a breeze this time around and we're back in camp by 4. Our legs are demanding a rest, and despite the good forecast we decide tomorrow will be an easier day.

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