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Bugaboo Spire - Kain route
Timestamp Free: 2019.05.23 - 10:31:08
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains / Bugaboo Group
Participants: Steve Sheffield; Drew Brayshaw;
Article describes climb on this route, referring to guidebook.
Steve Sheffield and I went into the Bugaboos along with Steve's girlfriend Sue and Fred Beckey. We were supposed to be the rope guns for Fred with the objective the SW corner of Snowpatch. The weather wasn't all that good and Fred's health wasn't great either but Steve and I managed to get in the Kain route as a consolation prize.
The route is basically a big scramble with a couple of roped pitches at the top. Expect lots of blocky 2nd and 3rd class. We climbed about 3 pitches as 5th class and another 2 as 4th. A few large cams can be useful for the belay below the gendarme, which (unless you're Conrad Kain) you'll want rock shoes for - the rest of the pitches can be done in hiking boots. The exposure is good near the top and the gendarme is aesthetic and a lot of fun. I wouldnt want to downclimb this pitch if I had just soloed up the NE ridge and was hoping to get off the peak without a rope.
The guidebook topo is good and provides all the necessary information. Probably will also be covered in the new guidebook.
When rapping off the gendarme on the way back down, follow the guidebook topo exactly, even if it looks wrong, and you'll be fine. Be careful on the first rap and don't get your rope stuck (apparently a common occurence judging by all the frayed rope ends...).The whole climb takes about 6 hrs return from the hut unless you get the British Army being guided up in front of you.
This year (1999) had the most snow Fred had ever seen in 51 years of going to the Bugaboos. Getting off S. Howser looked like an epic cornice fight....
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