Climbing Destinations: The Bugaboos
Perhaps the most impressive peak in the Bugaboos, the spire is situated between the Vowell and Crescent glaciers. It has some of the most spectacular alpine climbing in Canada. It was first climbed by Austrian Conrad Kain in 1916. The most popular routes on this peak are: The Kain Route and the Northeast Ridge. Northeast Ridge (IV 5.7) starts at the top of the Crescent Glacier. From there with 12 pitches up to 5.8 you reach the summit. At descending you can continue along the ridge to the north and reach the Kain Route.
Kain Route is a long scramble with some short sections of 5.6 climbing and it leads to the south of the two summits of the Bugaboo Spire. From there you can continue along the exposed ridge to the north summit.
There are also a few routes on the east face, where you can expect loose rock and expanding flakes. For adventurers the best part would be 2000-foot north face, where lots of new routes are waiting to be put up.
This mountain peak was the last of the Bugaboo Spires to be climbed. The first reconnaissance was made in 1916 by Conrad Kain, who commented later that the spire was impossible to climb. For years there were several attempts to climb the spire. Finally its first ascent was done in the summer of 1940 by Jack Arnold and Raffi Bedayn.
Snowpatch Spire is located South-West of the Conrad Kain hut, some 30 minutes long hike from the hut across the Crescent Glacier. The spire offers routes from 5.6 to 5.12. Its biggest challenge is the south face. So far only two routes have been established there.
The easiest route on Snowpatch Spire is the Southeast Corner (IV 5.6). With 12 to 15 pitches you reach the summit with numerous possibilities to simul-climb. South Face Direct (V+ 5.11+ R) was put up in 1999. It is a serious climb up corners and cracks.
Another “must” on Snowpatch Spire is Sunshine Crack (IV 5.10+) on north face. It is a nine-pitch crack system on the north buttress of the mountain. Tom Egan is one of the most popular aid lines in the Bugs. Twelve pitches long route leads to the north summit. You can descend this route or Sunshine. Sweet Sylvia’s (V 5.11+) branches off left after two pitches of Tom Egan. It ends on the north shoulder of the spire and was named after a woman who died at the base of the east face of Bugaboo Spire.