Bugaboos 2023, Climbing in the Melt

In 2022, Jess and I culminated an amazing season with our first Bugaboos experience.  It had been a dream of mine for years, and it outperformed expectations.    Fast forward a year, and our 2023 season was dominated by poor weather and unescapable work and personal plans.  And while we did get on a few classic climbs like [...]

Crescent Spires, Ears Between

After an awe-inspiring climb of Bugaboo Spire’s NE Ridge, we woke up this morning late.  We both rolled out of our tents around 9AM (a far cry from our previous day’s alpine start at 2AM), and made coffee.  We had 1.5 days left of food, making for a pretty hard end to our trip by the next day.  We toyed with the idea of taking a jaunt through the range’s cols to attempt a route on Brenta Spire, or to go for the classics Ears Between.  We had enough of the rubble wrangling, so by the time 11AM came, we made our way to Ears Between. [..]

Bugaboo Spire, NE Ridge

Funnily enough, Will and I didn’t come to the Bugs really planning to climb this mega-classic.  I actually had this climb on me and Jess’ list, which is why we had climbed the Kain Route a week and a half prior. However, with conditions making our primary objective hazardous, the NE Ridge was an undeniably worthy backup objective.[..]

Snowpatch Spire, Snowpatch Route

The Snowpatch Route, also known as Wiessner’s Route, seems to be one of those routes that everybody looks at.  The climbing line up and around the massive namesake snowpatch feature towers over all those who walk far enough the trail to get into shooting distance of any climb.  Apparently at some point in the first half of the 1900s, it was talked about as North America’s most significant climbing “problem”.  Now, boasting the “modest” grade of 5.8 IV, it was not lost on us that it still presented 19 pitches of wandery potentially rockfall-exposed climbing. [..]

Crescent Tower, McTech Arete

The McTech Arete seems to be one of those ultra-well-known area classics.  When people say Applebee Camp, it feels almost synonymous with these short climbs- Lion’s Way and the McTech Arete.  Everybody up there seem to have these on their current, past, or future lists. The McTech made it to our backup list for a marginal weather day, which happened to come the day after we arrived.  [..]

Bugaboo Spire, Kain Route

Our alarms rang early, and we made our journey out around Son of Snowpatch, then over the Bugaboo Glacier, over the Pigeon-Howser Col, down the Vowell Glacier, and up to the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col.  And while we kept moving the whole time, checking the clock, it took us a whopping 5 hours.  And we knew the trip back would take probably another 3.  Looking up at the Buckingham, we wondered if we had time for the route finding, and whether or not we had the desire for a potential epically long day.  We looked over at the Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire.  We had done a little research on it and had very little beta in our phones about it. [..]

Forbidden Peak, East Ridge Direct (West Ridge Traverse)

Making the long traverse over on the ridge of the Torment-Forbidden Traverse a few weeks prior, Jess and were treated to the absolutely glorious view of Forbidden.  It was shocking how seriously big Forbidden looks from that perspective.  The West Ridge imposingly towered above us, speckled with tiny little climbers, while the East Ridge’s shimmering gendarmes begged to be climbed.  I couldn’t help but think, how cool would it be to traverse this whole thing? [...]

Chair Peak, Voie de Chaise

June 2023, we had been chasing micro-windows in macro-crap-weather conditions.  We managed to squeeze in a Baker North Ridge climb in fattest conditions I had ever seen (here’s a previous NR climb), a jaunt up the Liberty Bell’s Becky Route, a 1.5x laps on a new Mazama route called Earl Gray, and a few days in Leavenworth.  Every week, the weather directed us where to go, and this week, it directed us to Snoqualmie.  Voie de Chaise was at the top of our list there. [..]