Saturday, August 25, 2012

Onsite Rappeling in the Bugaboos

With Rob in from Chicago for just over a week, we knew that we had a narrow window to work with.  Typical weather in the Bugaboos leaves something to be desired.  Thankfully for us, Rob's airline itinerary coincided with the 48 hours of good weather needed to get us into the range, on to- and off-of a big route with only a short dousing.  

Though, I'd climbed the Beckey-Chouinard years previously I have always wanted to return in part because its an amazing route and also because, at the time, the route had pushed me to my limit and our "in-a-day" ascent became a 26 hour suffer-fest.  Rob and I wanted to improve on that experience by going faster, lighter and climbing in better style.

We planned for another single day push, but clouds rolled in during the night causing us to rethink our plan and hit the snooze button.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) the dawn broke clear and we decided to saunter over to East Creek, bivy and climb the next day after some predicted evening rain.  In the end, our desire to climb trumped our desire for comfort and we headed out just after midday with small packs, a down sleeping bag and a sil-tarp.  

After making great time in the waning daylight, we turned our headlamps on at the final pitch and made it to the summit an hour or two later.  Unfortunately on the rappel we blew the onsite and were unable to find the descent route that night.  For future descensionists the first rappel goes skier's right!

We tossed down the ropes, pulled out the sleeping bag and settled in for a few hours until first light illuminated the descent and we made our escape.  

Despite having to bivy for a few hours, I'm pretty happy with our style on this route as we expected to bivouac having started so late in the day.  Additionally the weather held out just long enough that we only got rained on during the walk back to the route's base and our packs.  Being on the receiving end of weather induced failure, it was satisfying to watch several parties rap the route that day in the rain knowing that we had just capitalized on the narrow weather window.

The Beckey-Chouinard

Beautiful 5.9 corner mid-route
Rob following before the ledges at about half-height

The fatigue setting in...
Rob showing his respect to Scotland


Tim said...

I can remember missing the wide corner somewhere near the top or that route and climbing disappearing finger cracks on the left, and our own descent troubles when our 6mm rap line tangled with the rope and we each had to jug up the full 60 meters separately at 3am. And stumbling into Applebee, my feet felt like they were broken. I want to get back there.

Nate Farr said...

It definitely brought back some memories... as did a certain pair of
Charlet Moser Pulsars when I walked into the climbing shop in Bellingham a couple weeks ago!

Robert Ryan said...

I was in what may have been the best shape of my life, but by the time we got back to Applebee, there was no way I could've climbed another route the following day and enjoyed it. My hats off to you guys for bagging a few classics on your trip 7 years ago. I like seeing new places and doing new routes, but the Bugaboos are worth any number of return trips. Next trip to Bugs 2013 = All Along the Watchtower, I'm on target.