Climb Bugaboo Spire, NE Ridge

Rate this Adventure Canada Bugaboo Spire Trailhead

Added by Erik Turner

You will eventually reach Conrad Kain hut and along the way have amazing scenery and views of glaciers. There is some Rock climbing, so be prepared.

The adventure of the Bugaboos starts almost at the highway when you turn off at Brisco. A collection of rough and tumble roads that are only recently signed towards the Bugaboo Provincial Parking Lot are exciting enough... 4WD isn't required, but a car with decent clearance will make the drive much quicker.

Once at the parking lot, puzzle over the cars with all sorts of wires and wooden posts leaned up against them. A wily businessman, the story goes, couldn't sell enough chickenwire, so he invented the story of porcupines that nibble and gnaw away at the cables under your car. The threat of coming back to a car with no coolant, however, was enough for us to make our car rodent proof.

The 2,300' gain hike to the hut takes only a few hours, but is punctuated by steep climbs along a glacial moraine, and even a ladder blasted into the rock. The Canadian system felt a bit European compared to the "wilderness" ethics of similar parks in the States. We enjoyed the safety of the ladders, however, especially with our heavy bags full of technical climbing gear.

We camped our first night at Applebee Dome, a backcountry area sited on a bunch of rock slabs. What appear to be clothes hangers are backpack hangers so the creatures (they're here too!!) can't nibble at your pack. The views from camp are tremendous. Rocky spires launch off from almost every direction, and if you squint, you might see climbers right from camp.

We climbed the NE Ridge of Bugaboo Spire. It is the moderate classic in the range, and was everything we hoped for. 23 hours of engaging rock climbing and headlamp glacier travel. Rappelling in the dark is always fun. No need to be as slow as us, but... be ready to be slower than you think. With crowds and the size of the route, it's not uncommon for folks to bivy on the rock, on the descent, or at the col. Research the route the best you can before heading up, of course.

After the climb we stayed in the Conrad Kain hut. It's highly recommended.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Food
  • Jacket, you're camping right BELOW a glacier
  • Down booties for the cabin!
  • Climbing gear if you want to climb
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Hiking, Photography, Rock Climbing

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2300 Feet



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Added by Erik Turner

Skiier, climber, photographer... addicted to being outside! Feel free to get in touch to mull over PNW adventure plans!

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