EthanG wrote:Heading up this weekend and was wondering how the Bug/Snow Col is looking and the approach up to saddle accessing Ne Ridge of Bug Spire? not sure if you have been over there lately but you seem like the guy to ask.
Returned from the Bugs last night. The Bug/Snow col is in excellent condition still
. The start to Bug NE ridge is in great condition.
Full Bugaboo Report: We crossed the width of the park on foot from the parking area to East Creek Basin on Aug 16th
. We saw no evidence of descent tracks from the South Howser as we passed the Pigeon/Howser col down into camp. Once we arrived, a young Russian crew informed us they made a successful trip up Beckey Chouinard on the 14th after flying into camp on a heli on the 13th. They were half my age. Alpinism is dead I guess.
We had learned from the hut custodian after visiting with him on the way in that a short blizzard hit the hut on the late afternoon of the 15th. This system, albeit short, turned out to add significant snow to the rap descent on Beckey Chouinard, thus why we saw no tracks on the glacier either.
East Creek Basin is still covered in snow. However, many bivy tent sites are clear. Water is a small trickle at the boulder itself. I could see the need to melt snow show up before the end of August if weather patterns do not change. The evening of the 16th did not freeze at camp level. The 17th brought cold winds and brutal climb temps higher up on Beckey Chouinard. Water in cracks from the 10th pitch up became ice. Hands and mental attitude took a beating. On the evening of the 17th water source did freeze at camp level and we received rain that froze on our bivies.On return on the 18th a heli dropped a party of two off at the Howser Pigeon col so they could descend to the west face of Snowpatch for a route. Alpinism is dead I guess.
Tracks from the 16th were filled in with fresh wind blown snow. Meeting up with some French Canadians back at the hut for a cup of coffee, I learned they as well ran into ice on the NE Ridge of Bugaboo at about mid route.
They had climbed the route on several occasions in the past and considered their climb on the 17th near epic. A Texas contingent behind them spent the night on the mountain and there was no sign of them by noon on the 18th.
All climbers I knew who ventured out on the 17th climbed in their down jackets
and every piece of clothing they brought up on big routes. The moisture that blew in on the 16th froze in the cracks and drainage areas of the higher routes making climbing painful and difficult. The 18th consisted of a good freeze as low as East Creek Basin and patches of fog marked our return up and over the Howser Pigeon col. Only parties we saw at all during our return was one party heading for Pigeon, prepared to pitch out the icy ridge and a significant group for the sunny Kain route on Bugaboo and at least two parties climbing the west face routes on Snowpatch, one team working the east face of Snowpatch.
Right now it is a hit or miss on temps, but precip on the routes themselves would have been fine if not for that one short storm on the 16th. Conditions could get really, really good, real quick here for a few weeks, but the season in general will be quite short. Prob a lot less climbed this year then in the past ten years on average for sure. When I was in there in late July, the routes were in tough shape with temps below average and precip above average
. Great and easy glacier travel can make for a few hard rock climbing days, end of story.