This is a wonderful route, with lots of fun, steep climbing on positive holds. The Big Step felt like sustained 5.6 to me, with most of the rest class 3 to low 5th. It's fun to pop over the summit cornice and startle the hikers. 3h40 up, 4h55 round trip. Trip report.
Unreal route. 18 hours car to car. Best and most tiring day of my life.
Great route! we climbed un roped to the big step. Fun climbing moves at the big step. Not straight forward 5.7 with heavy backpacks, slings hanging far left of the ridge, slightly miss leading. Follow the ridge and the most obvious weakness little left of the ridge. The black towers are the crux of the route. Difficult route finding decision making. On top of the big step, scramble up and traverse up and left towards the towers. Do not follow an obvious weakness but continue traversing left towards a towering face with a big overhang. Scramble up and squeeze in a chimney. On the next ledge you will find two pins at the base of a gully. Climb or scramble the gully / weakness. Above on easy ground traverse left on the ledge aiming toward the big overhang on the face and two snow cornices (August 2010) with a rock tower in between. Take the first gully on the right side of the snow cornices, this leads with easy moves 5.4 to the ridge. If it feels harder you are probably off route.
Follow the snow ridge to the top.
We roped up at the black towers for snow and wet rocks, a fall here would have been fatal. Bring some pins and plenty of slings for weather emergency and route variations.
Off route slings are all over the place, don't underestimate the route.
Great respect for the pioneers to follow the entire ridge, including the towers.
Fun route with some interesting/challenging routefinding decisions, making for a solid day out in the mountains. We took 14hrs car to car, with delays due to waiting for another party ahead of us at the Big Step, and some moderate routefinding challenges on the Step and the Black Towers.
As noted by others, the rock quality varies greatly - some very nice/solid rock (including quartzite), many loose blocks, nastly dinnerplates, and ample scree marbles on slabs.
Overall one of the better Rockies alpine routes with a wide range of terrain to cover in different styles; scrambling, climbing, and glacier travel. Great views from the top, and an easy descent. Expect to be tired at the end of the day! :)
Good route, although the rock quality on the Big Step wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be. Got caught in a thunderstorm as soon as we topped out the Black Towers. Quite exciting. Final was beautiful once the storm had passed!
Nice route, once the route finding is sorted out, quite easy and quick... however, committing and can be serious nonetheless. I was off to Assiniboine the next day and then Sir Donald... a week of perfect weather, but tiring!
With Peter, felt more like a grand scramble, definitely not sustained like Bugaboo Spire and Mount Sir Donald, other Canadian 50 North American Classics. 10.5hrs car to car…..nailed the route, led pitch 1 and 3 on the Big Step, Peter led #2. Led another short pitch up a chimney at the top of the Big Step and then the north glacier travel....that was about all the rope work we did except for one small step lower down with one piton and one pro placement due to exposure. Courtney met us at the summit via the scramble route within 5 minutes of when we toped out!!!!!!!!!! UNREAL....I swam in the lake below Sentinel Pass.......very cold!