BUGABOO SPIRE

Posted on: December 1, 2002


Encountering insanely good weather in early August, I was able to solo a new route on the 1,600-foot east face of Bugaboo Spire that I had begun the year before. Starting below the left side of Balcony Ledge, Symposium (VI 5.8 A2+) tackles a diagonaling crack system next to the black water streaks low on the face. It is just to the right, and eventually joins, the Cooper-Gran, before topping out on the North Summit.

This year, after three days of hiking loads and three days of fixing to just below my previous high point, I blasted off with nine days' supplies, two haulbags, and an expedition portaledge. Four days later I was on top dumping out gallons of extra water and stuffing down all the Chef Boyardee I could eat. Getting down proved to be the most difficult challenge of the route. Climbing unroped with a haulbag across the summit ridge was a true ballbuster. The climbing on the route itself wasn't too bad, though. Pitch three—beaking and blading with ledgefall potential from thirty feet—was the technical crux, but the true difficulty was the constant rockfall from all sides. Ah, the joy of sitting alone in a portaledge listening to the bombs screaming past and trying to doze off. At least it's better than counting sheep.

— Alex McAfee, USA

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