We climbed "Mc Tech Arete" on Crescent Spire on the last day of our first stay in the Bugs. A great climb!

We started late after a leisurely breakfast and hiked to the base from the Applebee Campground in ½ hour (we were chased by another party). The climb is really outstanding. I was in initially a bit tense about it as it had been a while since we climbed anything that technical, but once I started the first pitch I immediately felt good. The rock was terrific (white, coarse-grained granite with sharp features).

The first pitch is mostly routine, with one tricky 5.9 squeeze section. I did not have anything bigger than a #3 Camalot, so had to solo that crux. Felt good about it.

The next pitch follows a striking left-leaning crack out onto the left face of the corner. Mostly finger jams and underclings, with a bit of liebacking thrown in for spice. Occasional rests are available on small foot holds and ramps just left of the crack. A really fun pitch, mildly strenuous because of the leaning crack. The crack takes primarily red Aliens. The end of the pitch follows a short corner just left of the arete to a belay.

The next pitch is a short (20m) 5.4 scramble to the right, finishing with a short (3m) steep hand crack (could have been 5.6/7 there) to a chain anchor below the gorgeous 5.9 corner crack.

The 4th pitch is amazing again: jam fest up a hand and fist corner crack on incredible rock. I had to run it out quite a bit since I only had singles of #2 and #3 Camalots. I used a couple of Hexes as well. Had to solo the crux bulge (tricky fist jams and underclings around the right side of an overhang, into the upper corner). Unreal.

Lucie led the next 5.8 pitch, up a gorgeous 15m corner with face cracks on the left wall. Past the corner it goes up smaller dihedrals near the arete. Another classic pitch.

The last pitch to the ridge crest finds an unlikely way up the steep blank arete above by moving around to the right of it, then back up and left following a hidden crack to the arete itself. Not as distinguished as the rest of the climb but still fun.

We went up the ridge a ways from the top of the route to tag the summit, and then back to the rap route just left of the climb. By the time we reached the summit, we were surrounded by thick smoke from a nearby forest fire.

All rap stations have chains. One single rope rap from the ridge, followed by a 30m rap to other chains, then a 40m rap to the right wall of the left dihedral, followed by two long raps to the base. Watch for rock fall from above, particularly in the last two raps: the dihedral funnels everything onto your head…

Then it's back to camp, where we take down the tent and stuff everything into our packs, cache the ground pads in the rocks, hang the packs from the critter poles, and fast hike down the trail to the car with just our day packs filled with trash and dirty clothes. We'll be back with a new supply of food and fresh clothes as soon as possible. The gear can wait up there.

Crescent Spire, Mc Tech Arete

July 26, 2004 / 5.10-, 6 pitches, trad.
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The popular "Mc Tech Arete" follows cracks and corners up the arete between the two main corner systems.
 
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Eric high on the first pitch (5.9).
 
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Looking back toward Snowpatch Spire.
 
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Pitch 2 follows a striking left-leaning crack (5.10-).
 
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Higher on pitch 2.
 
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Nice views of the NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire.
 
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On the comfortable belay ledge at the top of pitch 2.
 
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Pitch 3 gains a chain anchor below a gorgeous corner.
 
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Eric starting Pitch 4, a great pitch (5.9).
 
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Climbing the first corner system, just below the roof...
 
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...and turning the small roof.
 
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Higher on pitch 4.
 
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The smoke from a large forest fire is slowly surrounding us (Snowpatch and Pigeon Spire).
 
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Lucie starting Pitch 5, a gorgeous 5.8 corner.
 
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Higher on pitch 5.
 
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Reaching the belay.
 
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Eric waiwing from the summit.
 
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Summit shot with Bugaboo Spire in the background.
(high res. images are about 300KB)