Crescent Spire is a 2000’+/- ascent day from the Conrad Kain hut.
From the hut, we ascended the Applebee Dome trail above the waterfall until near the camp and then followed a fainter trail up left onto moraine. Follow trails to the outlet of a small tarn and cross this outlet and remain low as you traverse around the lake and eventually ascend a small mass of moraine to the outlet of another tarn right below the Crescent Glacier. Move right to cross this water flow at its narrowest section. Traverse left staying low until you gain the fringes of the glacier and ascend the edge of the glacier towards Crescent Spire which is left of the Crescent Towers and right of the Crescent-Bugaboo col.
McTech Arête is an arête located between the two main corner systems on the south face of Crescent Spire. Scramble up off the ice to the top of a large boulder that puts you squarely below a corner leading up and through a small roof. This was the first free route up the wall and is also the most popular today.
1st Pitch- 5.9/35m-
Climb up flakes to the base of the corner. The route is supposed to bypass the roof to the left, however, we took the roof
and belayed at the junction with a crack that leads left away from the corner a few meters above the roof.
2nd Pitch- 5.10a/35m- Probably one of the finer 5.10 pitches in Bugaboo.
Follow the hand and finger crack as it moves up left away from the corner, to a small alcove. Continue up a non protected corner utilizing cracks to your left to gain a belay ledge with chain anchors.
3rd Pitch- 5.4/15m-
Probably the worst pitch in the Bugaboos. We soloed on up to the base of pitch 4. Follow broken ground up right to a chain anchor hidden in a slot to your right below a low angled ramp.
4th Pitch- 5.9/35m- This pitch felt more like 5.8 to us.
Step out right onto a ramp and follow a corner to a small roof, undercling left to the next corner. Follow the 2nd corner as it straightens up and moves through another roof to a belay ledge. We missed the chain anchors but found a webbing station. We never did see where the chain anchors were.
5.8/35m- Scramble up right to the base of some face cracks and gain another corner which is followed to a small ledge and chain anchors directly above.
5.7/30m- Scramble up and to the right where ledges below the ridge open up to your right. Climb the wall over your left shoulder for a few short moves to the ridge top. Scramble from there to the summit(s).
The first rappel anchors are out on the face of the left dihedral. Rap back down to the top of the 5th pitch. Three 60 meter rappels get you down from there. The first full rappel from here is a little hairy.
You cannot see the rap anchors until you are damn near at the end of your ropes. You rappel into a carved out groove on the face so to speak. You have to climb over right a few meters to reach them and you are definitely at the end of your rope at that point. The next chains are also hard to find. Rap down as gravity decides and look to the right of some mini chimneys. This is not the most comfortable station and is not a full 60m, so start looking before you descend too far. The last rap takes you to several meters above the ground in a corner, but it is easy downclimbing from there. Move back right past your start and return the same. There is also a walk off descent in a gully between Crescent Spire and Crescent Towers. We chose the rap so we could leave most of our gear, boots, etc at the base of the climb and pass them on the way out.
Full set of nuts and cams, doubled up on the small to medium sizes for Pitch 2 and 4. At least one 120cm sling. 8-10 draws, helmets (popular route). You should be comfortable without crampons if you stay to the right edge of the glacier on approach.