“Why isn’t Tyler answering my messages?” I was starting to wonder. Maybe he had found better partners? I had sent him a few messages with desperate sounding messages like “Lets go to the bugaboos this weekend!”. Ok, maybe it was a bit last minute, but if there’s one person I can count on for last minute hair brained ideas, it’s Tyler, without a doubt.
Well, last minute is exactly what this trip turned out to in the best way possible. “I’ve been in the Wind River Range for 2 weeks! I just got back, lets go to the Bugs!” was the reply I finally got 2 days before we found ourselves driving up the 45km forest service road leading to the chicken wire infested parking lot. Being both of our first trip into the Bugaboos, we were pretty much happy to just get to the parking lot. We decided the best course of action would be to more or less wing it… no expectations, just some hopes, and enough gear to get us through 3 days at Applebee. Despite a flat tire halfway up the road, which took an hour of cursing and kicking the rusted wheel on my truck to replace, we managed to at least accomplish the primary goal of making the parking lot. We decided to stay at the Hut the first night, as fatigue was setting in, and we really didn’t feel like setting up a tent in the dark.
We settled on the Kain route (Alpine II, 5.6) on Bugaboo spire for day 1. Overall a pretty easy route, but much longer than I expected it would be, especially the descent. There was a lot of rockfall in the Col, both the morning, and especially the afternoon, otherwise the whole climb went without a hitch. Well… ok I did fall in the Bergschrund at the top of the BS col, but that’s another story…. Regardless, we had a killer time, but found the route to include a lot less real rock climbing than we originally thought. We ultimately only pitched it out for two rope lengths. The crux gendarme, and the last pitch to the summit.
Day two found us on McTech Arete (5.10-) on Crescent Spire… easily one of the most fun routes I have ever done. Pitch 2 was absolutely stellar face/crack climbing with perfect gear, and incredible positions overlooking Snowpatch and Bugaboo Spire. We woke up late, took our time eating breakfast, and found ourselves wandering across the basin towards the base of the route sometime around lunch. The good news is that we more or less avoided the crowds / lineup for this popular route. The bad news is they were still above us. But, that’s ok. We climbed the first two pitches, realized we were super thirsty and didn’t bring water, and decided to bail and head back to the car.
The first two pitches are more than worth the effort, however it would be awesome to revisit the route and finish the last two spectacular pitches! (5.9 + 5.8 respectively)
All in all, for an intro to the bugs, definitely one of the best places i’ve ever been in my life. I definitely can’t wait to visit again.