Women’s Bugaboo Intro to Alpine Camp

I’ve lost count to which camp this is for Kir and I…I think 5 years now? Regardless, it is one of our favorites, with the setting, the great hut, the amazing opportunities it lends, and most of all the INCREDIBLE group of women that come out for it! This year was NO exception, and 7 amazing women, one “best of the best” camp Managers and Kir and myself set off for the Bugboos on the 4th of July. Many people thought we were crazy with the late summer, and as we arrived at the hut having approached on large quantities of avi debris, and found the hut without a generator and about 2 meters of snow surrounding it…we almost believed them!

Day one, we hiked up to the hut, which is a feat in itself with heavy packs, got settled in and reviewed some systems, knots and map skills.

Boy, were we pleasantly surprised! With only a couple other small groups of people in the hut, we mostly had it to ourselves, along with the entire Bugaboo area, and all its glory! 5 super bluebird days had the area change in front of our eyes from a winter scene to immaculate granite spires ready to be climbed.


The following morning we headed to the few boulders we could find in the snow and taught/reviewed gear placement, anchor building, belay techniques, terrain belays and transitions for an alpine setting. We then headed up to Eastpost to put it all in action. Doing this peak in numerous smaller pitches really reinforced the idea of anchors and transitions and gave us our first summit!

The following morning we started a little earlier and headed towards the Bugaboo glacier. A review of glacier travel and soon we were route finding our way to Hounds Tooth. Everyone had a chance to be out front with the glacier route finding, and Hannah the work horse kick stepped the whole way up to the col with a seamless line.

On our way down we did a bit of a circuitous route back to gain a bit more glacier route finding experience and look at some big holes! Sunbaked we headed back to the hut to rejuvenate. Some tea and salty nuts had us rerring to get back out and tromp up to our self arrest site, where we practiced all sorts of flailing body positions and how to properly stop ourselves. This culminated in the best idea from the girls…a group butt slide race. Hilarious!

The 4th day we wanted to make the most of our time traveling in the mountains putting all the skills to use. We decided to work our way up the Kain route on Bugaboo. After getting an early start up the Bugaboo Snowpatch col, we found ourselves route finding through snow slopes and rock steps along Bugaboo Spire. Of course our goal was not to summit, but we did get a great deal of practice in in an amazing setting!

By the time we got back to the col, we weren’t psyched on the sloppy snow conditions and opted to take the LONG way home, around Pigeon. Slightly painful, facing the sun, hot and postholing…Meagan led the team strongly to the Pigeon col. Great work by everyone! We then walked/swam down the Bugaboo glacier back to the hut. That night we enjoyed dinner and wine and alot of great laughs…a long and tiring day!

We rewarded ourselves with a bit of a sleep in, followed by a morning of skills, crevasse rescue, rope ascension and snow anchors. A fine way to finish the trip. Packed our much lighter bags and headed back to our cars.

As we loaded up our vehicles, and drove down the now dusty dirt road, I felt proud of our crew. We put in long days, people really looked like they became more comfortable during the trip in their mountain movement, their gear placement, their anchors and their rope work. We left with tired bodies, sunburnt lips and necks, a bunch of great new friends and a new confidence in our abilities to lead our way through the mountains. Thanks for a fabulous 5 days ladies and a HUGE thanks to OUTDOOR RESEARCH for the awesome Vigor Jackets and STERLING ROPES for the cordalettes and awesome hollow braid cords!!!

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