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The Bugaboos

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The Bugaboos  


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Elevation: 7,500'
Location: 50.7491, -116.7805 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 713,997
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Steven Lucarelli on Oct 3, 2006
Forecast:
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28° | 21°
Snow
27° | 23°
Snow
23° | -11°
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First good glimpse of the Bugaboo's on the drive i...

Description 

The Bugaboo Provincial Park is one of the greatest alpine playgrounds in North America, and the world for that matter. Imagine large granite spires of all shapes and sizes surrounded by beautiful glaciers and mountains as far as the eye can see and that's the Bugaboos. All the rock is alpine granite and the quality on most routes is superb, even those which are not considered classics. Routes range from a few hundred feet tall to a few thousand and offer anything from ridge scrambles and moderate free climbs to hard test pieces and multi-day big walls.

The climbing season is generally June to September with July and August having the best chance of good weather. But be prepared for any kind of weather, it can storm at anytime and it snows every month of the year. Temperatures can vary greatly depending on what side of a spire you're climbing on (North, South, East, West), if the sun's out or not, or if it's windy so plan accordingly. An ice axe and crampons are mandatory to be safe especially later in the season when the glaciers can become a little more troublesome to negotiate due to melting. Glacier travel skills are recommended for getting to and from most climbs unless you're staying near the campground.

There are several options for staying in the park when your visiting. The most comfortable but also the most expensive is the Conrad Kain Hut which is managed by the Alpine Club of Canada and will cost you $25 a night (Canadian) per person as of 2013. But provides you with a warm dry place to hang out in foul weather, a kitchen with running water and lights for late night reading. Other more cost effective options are the campgrounds, with the Applebee campground being the most popular by far. It will cost you $10 (Canadian) a night per person (pay at the Kain hut) and is basically a large area of somewhat flat rocks to place your tent on. It does offer you a toilet, racks for hanging gear and food and great views which make the price seem more reasonable.

Getting There 

The Bugaboo Provincial Park is located in the Purcell range of British Columbia, off of Highway 95. To get to the Bugaboos travel 17 miles north of Radium Hotsprings or 48 miles south of Golden on Highway 95 depending on where your coming from to the really small town of Brisco. Head west on a dirt road that has a sign for the park and goes past a lumber mill. Follow the dirt road over the Columbia River and up into the mountains for 28.5 miles. There are several turn offs along the road but there are signs at most of them for the Bugaboos otherwise just stay on the main road.

Once at the parking area there should be enough chicken wire, wood posts and rocks to protect your vehicle from rubber eating porcupines. You'll see what I mean when you get there, don't take a chance. The trailhead is at the west end of the parking lot and the next 3 miles to the Conrad Kain Hut are steep so pace yourself. It's about .5 miles from the hut to the Applebee campground up more steep trail. The new guide book "The Bugaboos" written by Chris Atkinson and Marc Piche has all the info you need for a great trip.

Climbing Season



Weather station 4.3 miles from here

41 Total Routes

['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',15],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',5],['5.7',3],['5.8',4],['5.9',5],['5.10',13],['5.11',9],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Bugaboos:
West Ridge   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, Alpine, 1500'   Pigeon Spire
Lion's Way   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches   Crescent Towers
Kain Route (South Ridge)   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 1500'   Bugaboo Spire
Wiessner's Route (aka SE Corner)   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 17 pitches, 1500'   Snowpatch Spire
North East Ridge   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1500'   Bugaboo Spire
Ears Between   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 750'   Crescent Towers
Surfs Up   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 500'   Snowpatch Spire
Wildflowers   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 900'   Snowpatch Spire
Kraus-McCarthy   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 800'   Snowpatch Spire
McTech Arete   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 500'   Crescent Spire
Beckey-Chouinard   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 15 pitches, 2000'   Howser Towers : South Howser Tower
Paddle Flake Direct   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 500'   Crescent Spire
Furry Pink Arete   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches   Snowpatch Spire
McTech Roof   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 500'   Crescent Spire
Super Direct   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 900'   Snowpatch Spire
Cooper-Kor   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R     Trad, Alpine, 18 pitches, 1000'   Pigeon Spire
Sunshine Crack   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 11 pitches, 900'   Snowpatch Spire
Energy Crisis   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches   Crescent Spire
Solitary Confinement   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 500'   Pigeon Feathers
Browse More Classics in The Bugaboos

Featured Route For The Bugaboos
Conrad Kain, alpine superhero.

Kain Route (South Ridge) 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  North America : Canada : ... : Bugaboo Spire
By way of the N. lateral moraine of Bugaboo glacier and snowfield to the Snowpatch-Bugaboo col above which the S. arete is followed. Scramble up ledges easily for more then 500' to the base of a steep chimney where the rope is put on. Climb chimney (120';two leads; strenuous) to crest of ridge leading to base of formidable gendarme. Two leads on the gendarme reach groove where belay is established for the crux. Leader moves up vertical wall in cracks and over left-hand corner...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of The Bugaboos Slideshow Add Photo
Looking south from Applebee Campground during a br...
Looking south from Applebee Campground during a br...
Todd Gordon waits out a storm.
Todd Gordon waits out a storm.
Heading towards the Crescent Spire with the Snowpa...
Heading towards the Crescent Spire with the Snowpa...
Rock fall from the Bugaboo/Snowpatch col
Rock fall from the Bugaboo/Snowpatch col
Looking east from near the summit of Bugaboo Spire...
Looking east from near the summit of Bugaboo Spire...
Snowpatch, Crescent, Pigeon, and Bugaboo spires, a...
Snowpatch, Crescent, Pigeon, and Bugaboo spires, a...
Looking out at the glacier from near the base of t...
Looking out at the glacier from near the base of t...
Porcupine barriers!
Porcupine barriers!
Pigeon Spire and the Howser Towers as seen from th...
Pigeon Spire and the Howser Towers as seen from th...
Kurt Johnson looking toward the Howser Towers from...
Kurt Johnson looking toward the Howser Towers from...
Shot of Snowpatch Spire from the beginning of a ro...
Shot of Snowpatch Spire from the beginning of a ro...
The classic view from Bugaboo Lodge.  Houndstooth ...
The classic view from Bugaboo Lodge. Houndstooth ...
Great view of the valley heading into the park
Great view of the valley heading into the park
Houndstooth, Snowpatch, Bugaboo.  From Applebee ca...
Houndstooth, Snowpatch, Bugaboo. From Applebee ca...
Applebee Dome campsite under the East face of Snow...
BETA PHOTO: Applebee Dome campsite under the East face of Snow...
Kurt Johnson heading back down from the summit of ...
Kurt Johnson heading back down from the summit of ...
The bugs
The bugs
Relaxing in the Kain Hut on a forced rest day.
BETA PHOTO: Relaxing in the Kain Hut on a forced rest day.
Early morning start in the Bugs.
Early morning start in the Bugs.
Glacier below Marmolata
Glacier below Marmolata
Bugaboo Spire as seen from the summit of Snowpatch...
Bugaboo Spire as seen from the summit of Snowpatch...
East face of Pigeon Spire and the Howser Towers in...
East face of Pigeon Spire and the Howser Towers in...
September in the Bugaboos.
September in the Bugaboos.
Avalanche coming off the Snowpatch. That thing is ...
Avalanche coming off the Snowpatch. That thing is ...

Show All 51 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The Bugaboos Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 30, 2014
By Peter Spindloe
From: North Vancouver, BC
Nov 19, 2007
For more photos, see Chris Owen's Bugaboos Gallery.
By kyber
From: Portland
Jun 9, 2008
sport climber here, who will be climbing in skaha for a couple weeks (july 16th- aug 1st) and was thinking about making a bug trip. the info page says i'll need things like crampons and an ice pick. is this true for july? also, can i get by on a small rack? set of nuts, hexes and a handful of cams from .5 - 2? i'm really looking to take it easy and gain some alpine/ multipitch trad experiance on things like kain route, north east ridge, mctech arete and the west ridge route. any information/ suggestions would be greatly apprieciated.
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Jun 17, 2008
Kyber,

You could probably get by without crampons and an ice axe but I would not recommend it. Especially if your not very experienced in alpine environments. You don't need crampons for McTech but you'll want them to go up and down the Snowpatch-Bugaboo Col. A small rack should be fine for the easier routes. I would just start on some shorter routes and see how it goes before jumping on anything big. And be prepared for anything, it could be nice and sunny or it could rain and snow, the weather changes fast in the Bugs.
By kyber
From: Portland
Jul 7, 2008
thanks guys, i think im gonna go to squamish instead, gonna try again early next summer. thanks for the advice.
By AnthonyM
Oct 18, 2009
On our roadtrip through Canada we came here mid-June Last summer and there was too much (rotten) snow to do anything. Just on the trail we would fall up to our waists everytime we took a step or two. Definately would wait until at least July.Crazy area though. Worth checking out.

Also the stories about the critters are true to-Watched one crawl up into the engine compartment of a Suburu and had a hell of a time getting it out. Seems they have learned to go around the chicken-wire.
By builttospill
Mar 2, 2010
Ken,

In answer to your question regarding how to approach the Kain route when the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col is out of condition, there are two options:

1. Climb the regular route to the col anyway. Several people did it last summer after the rockfall, though I was not one of them.

2. Go down and around snowpatch Spire and then up to the col between Pigeon and Howser Towers (where the W Ridge of Pigeon starts). Descend from there across the glacier to the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and start the Kain Route. It's a long walk, but it's really not unreasonable. This is how we approached the West Ridge of Pigeon, rather than using the B-S Col approach.

The Snowpatch rappels could potentially be reversed, but I don't think it would be worth the effort when you can just walk around Pigeon's West Ridge.
By hanshan
From: Canada Mofuga
Jun 23, 2010
The rappels down Snowpatch from the Pigeon-Snowpatch Col are a great option to avoid descending the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col and its a lot faster than walking around Pigeon. The raps are clean, with little risk of rockfall and its a short downhill hike back to the Kain hut or Boulder campground.
By harihari
From: VANCOUVER
Jul 30, 2010
BETTER 2WD APPROACH for people who don't have 4wd SUV monster trucks.


At 4.9 km/3 miles, the Atkinson/Piche guide suggests turning off Brisco Rd and left onto Mine Hills Rd. This, while direct, is a very poor road and and shitty if you have 2wd. A slightly longer but much better way is to do the following:

-- At 4.9 km/3 miles (right after the bridge), hang a right, stayiing on Brisco Rd.
-- Drive for 3.5 km until you get to a 3-way intersection
-- turn left onto Westside Rd.
-- Go 2.5 km
-- at the 4-way intersection, hang a hard right and you are back on the main road into the Bugs.
By johnthethird
Jan 19, 2013
Is the most current guide the green mountaineers guide by Randall Green and Joe Bensen?
By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Jan 21, 2013
There are two guidebooks both published in 2003.

ontopmountaineering.com/bugabo...
By builttospill
Mar 10, 2013
FYI, the green book Bugaboo Rock is apparently not very good. We had it on our trip and never really used it, and based on reviews I'm glad we didn't. The Atkinson and Piche guide is very, very good.
By Tim Sussmann
Apr 3, 2013
Considering a climb up archduke trio, are there any routes up the face of one of the peaks? Does anyone have pictures or info on the quality of this rock? Any info would be appreciated!
By Toby960
May 6, 2013
Trip report from the Bugaboos this summer...

theloveaffairwithgravity.blogs...


Peace and Love

(route info on bugaboo, snowpatch and pigeon spire)

Toby Pritchard
By Alec
Aug 6, 2013
Note that as of summer 2013 the prices have gone up:

$25 CAD/night for the hut (which is really quite nice for the price)
$10 CAD/night for camping (Boulder or Applebee)

The Applebee campground is probably the most scenic campground I have ever stayed at. Perched above treeline, the position is incredible.
By sam123456789
Aug 8, 2014
Please keep your food contained and supervised!
A trend during our first week there in the applebee campground was
1.) Campers leaving food and trash scattered around camp for later clean up while doing other things.
2.) Small mammals try to eat it.
3.) Climbers kill squirrel/ chipmunk with rock.

Saw this happen twice. The animals are really not that bad at all if you keep your food contained and supervised. No need to kill animals, folks. Keep your food well supervised and don't try to kill chipmunks with large rocks because you probably will, even by accident. Please, Thanks!
By C. Archibald
Oct 29, 2014
Could a person safely navigate the Bugs approaches and descents with Kahtoola micro spikes, or would crampons be necessary?
Thanks
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Oct 29, 2014
Some people do and some even go without anything (just approach shoes!). It really depends on the snow/glacier conditions, your objectives and your comfort level. I personally prefer a light set of aluminum crampons and light mountaineering boots. The crampons for the added security and the boots for stability and dry feet. Its not the lightest or least bulky set up by any means but I can access anything I want, such as North Howser and not have to worry about it.

If your not going to far from camp (Bugaboo Spire, Snowpatch Spire, Pigeon Spire) then the micro spikes will probably be fine, especially in early to mid season when the snow pack is better. Later in the season (late July & August) the Snowpatch Bugaboo Col can get pretty sketchy and I wouldn't recommend it without crampons. And remember that your feet will be wet for sure with approach shoes.
By C. Archibald
Oct 30, 2014
Good beta ^^^. Thanks.