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Snowpatch Spire, "Snowpatch Route"
Timestamp Free: 2019.08.21 - 17:03:20
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains / Bugaboo Group
  (1 days)
Participants: Robert Meshew, Mark Pratt, Michael Stanton Grade IV; 5.6+
We climb the Southeast Corner ("Snowpatch Route") on Snowpatch Spire.
This was to be our first climb on our first trip to the Bugaboos, and we were up by 3:00 am, stumbling around the Kain Hut kitchen drinking coffee.

We had a vague idea of the way, following a rocky slope up on the left side of the mountain, then wandering onto increasingly loose terrain to circle back and up to the ridge on the opposite side. We started climbing parallel to each other (but Mark far in front, always in front) up the sandy scree slopes. Eventually things levelled out.

With a dim glow in the sky, we climbed a 4th class gully for a few hundred feet to the base of the route. We were at a notch in the ridge, with a great view of the hut below. Warm yellow light spilled into a cold blue vastness. We roped up.

We had 2 8.5 mm 50 meter ropes. This worked out well for our party of three. We roped up on a 25 meter doubled rope; Mark, me then Robert. Mark led us up easy terrain in the dawn. Then Robert took over at a nice looking 5.8 hand and finger crack that we knew was "off route," but just too fun to pass up. Robert started up it because he was afraid Mark and I would jeer at him if he didn't chose the "obvious line."

No such luck! Mark made bitter comments about losing the flow because of such a technical pitch. "Yeah!" I said, with emphasis. Presumably rolling his eyes, Robert continued on a fine lead. Soon we reached "the Wiessner Overhang," which is avoided on the right. Mark looked wistfully at the overhang, obviously wanting to climb it. I was in the middle again, and got some good pictures of Robert in the sunrise.

Long, relatively low angle slabs took us past the famous Snowpatch on the left. Another party passed us, roped but never placing pro. Mark was leading us on 5.10 variations (how he found them I don't know) which...

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