Art Higbee and David Breashears once needed no introduction, but 1975 was awhile ago. Climbers took big risks then to leave no trace. True to the clean climbing code, Higbee and Breashears published little about this alpine route of impressive size. A hand-drawn topo was left in the Hut Book.
The second ascent of this wall was done by A Parker and P Bradshaw, July 1977. They used a different corner system left of the Higbee-Breashears squeeze. ANECDOTAL ROUTE DESCRIPTION
Bruce Lella and I made the second ascent of the original chimney in late August, 1979. It may be that we missed both the Bugaboo Corner/Buckingham finish and the original Sunshine Wall finish. We climbed the icy chimney, finding several pins at the icy crux.
The route begins by crossing the moat and getting into a wide crack. About six pitches of climbing and traversing ledges, with a few ups and down to connect ledges, will get you to the infamous chimney. To retreat from here in a storm might be difficult.
The unprotected chimney was the crux, 5.10r/x. A loose flake blocked the crux. Kicking it off while squeezing past looked like a direct hit for the belayer. So we took the time to get the belayer sheltered before pitching it in a more controlled fashion. The crux is exiting the squeeze into a slightly overhung lieback.
Our bivouac was only a few mellow pitches higher on a perfect ledge. Next morning, in the hot early sun, we filled the haul bag with most of our warm clothes and tossed it to the glacier. Just before starting up, a rock face collapsed and avalanched into the lake north of Eastpost Spire. The next few pitches up were fun with a rope, rack, and the shirts on our backs. But that changed in the chimney.
Somewhere along the way we missed traversing left to a better finish. The Buckingham and Bugaboo Corner routes are both supposed to do this. There may be another way to avoid the chimney by traversing right, gaining the crest, and then descending via Sunshine. But we went into the chimney and froze.
We escaped the cold, icy, chimney using a thin crack on the south wall. This crack could be a quality 5.11- finger crack, if it is ever dry in the chimney. Unlikely. The thin crack we escaped up had a few old style pitons fixed but fits no route description. Guidebook authors admit to uncertainty on this part of the mountain. So do I.
Finally, we did a difficult crossing over a sub-summit, some call the "Hook", and down to a notch on the south side. From the notch, we began rappelling west; down an overhanging chimney that seems to be between known routes but had anchors. DESCENT ROUTES
We rappeled from the notch south of the "Hook". The first rap was long and overhung. The route seemed unused.
It would be best to continue on to the North Summit via the Buckingham route. From the top, continue south to the notch between the north and south summits. Then rappel the giant corner of the Becky-Greenwood/Super Direct.
Super Direct Topo: www.mountainproject.com/images/26/52/106842652_large_2c54ac.>>> PROTECTION
We only had a #4 friend and passive Chouinard tube chocks. A rack with #5 and #6, C4, Camalots will help tremendously to make the infamous chimney fun. Using chicken-wing technique for pro should be enough to get to where a #5 and/or #6 can be placed, just before committing to the crux chimney exit.
I'd bring a few small steel nuts, double set of cams up to #6, and lots of long slings.