Beckey Chouinard, South Howser with Outdoor Research
14th Aug 2011Posted in: Blog 0
Beckey Chouinard, South Howser with Outdoor Research

I had the very fortunate opportunity to get together with Evan Stevens, full mountain guide and lead guide of Valhalla Mountain touring, Mikey Schaefer, professional climber, photographer and videographer, and Fitz Cahall, professional climber, writer and film producer to climb the Beckey Chouinard in the Bugaboos. It is a project on classic climbs/lines/adventures that Fitz is working on and Outdoor Research is helping with.

I was a little tired, having just finished 8 days of back to back work in Rogers Pass, but always excited to head into the Bugaboos.  We were blessed with incredible weather too, so one could really not complain!  Having not climbed on granite in about 4 years, I knew that this would be a shock to the system, but lucky for me i had the granite master, Evan, on my team so I was well looked after!

We got up at about 4am and got ready for the day.  Starting from Applebee added a bit of travel to the front end of the day but made it nicer to come back to at the rear end of the day! Travel was perfect and soon we were heading up to the Pigeon/Howser col in the sunrise.  Mikey took advantage of the good light and we did a few walking laps on the glacier to make the most of the morning views!

Howser towers Bugaboo

Its always hard to be chomping at the bit for a long classic alpine line and then need to slow down and take some photos but this is what we all signed up for, and Mikey and Fitz were really low key all day with the filming.  They didn’t slow the day down at all, so it was pretty amazing to see how well they worked together. We descended the col and booted around to the base of the tower.  I had never been to East Creek and never knew just how far you drop down!  You add a great deal of climbing to the Howsers by heading in to East Creek…way more then you see from the rappel side!

mike and fitz in East Creek, Bugaboos

After a bunch of scrambling, and some 4th class, we arrived at the base and decided to rope up and simuclimb.  After a couple pitches of this, we went back to regular pitching.  I wasn’t feeling very secure on the unfamiliar granite and was happy to be back in pitching mode!  Most of the lower end of the route is really nice moderate climbing…still alot of it though and still not a cake walk if you aren’t used to granite!  By the time we got to the headwall, I was in full puffy, and we only had bits of sun hitting us here and there.  There was still ice on some of the route, but all the lines we chose were ice free and perfect climbing!  Evan took over the headwall, which I was very happy to just be keeping up seconding.  That guy can climb fast!  Mikey got some great shots of Evan on the headwall and soon enough we were on the final scruffy pitches to the summit.  We had hopes that this would be soloing 4th class, but with snow and ice and chossy rock, we kept pitching it out.

Evan looking at the Becky Chonuaird

Some summit high fives and we were on our way down.  Finding the rappels were a bit tricky as they aren’t on fall line, but they sure are safer then what used to be there when I have descended the Howser before via another route.  Thanks Marc Piche!  Sdaly though, we did get our rope stuck and since none of us really wanted to put on our climbing shoes and re rack we cut it:(…this was sad…but dinner was calling our name!!

The schrund offered a nice overhang to rap over followed by highly isothermic knee deep snow back on the glacier. Happily we made it back to our tents before dark, had a good meal and hit the sleeping bags!

The next morning we lazed around, socialized, did some video shooting and eventually went to McTech arete and did a few more pitches there.

teh boys at Applebee campground

A great trip all in all.  Thanks to Fitz, Mikey, Evan and OR for letting me join along!  I will definitely come back to this route when I have had a couple of granite days behind me that season and lead more of it…classic line in an amazing place..a must do for sure:)

My name in artistry

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