Belgians Climb New Bugaboos Free Route

by Jack Geldard – Editor – UKC Seán Villanueva O´Driscoll and Nico Favresse have been busy over on the other side of the pond. After a trip to Squamish, during which Nico climbed the world famous Cobra Crack, the pair headed to The Bugaboos, a granite mountain range in the Purcell Mountains of eastern British Columbia, Canada. Seán takes up the story: “The first line we tried to free was an aid route on The Minaret called Doubting The Millennium, ( 5.10, A3, 11 pitches, 600m.)After 4 pitches we arrived in the main dihedral going straight up the middle of the Minaret, but after about half a pitch in the corner we got lured by this big hollow granite stalactite, followed by big hollow flakes in a steep overhanging wall to the right. We felt pretty confident because the climbing reminded us a lot of The Mad Brown on Gogarth.” “We then ventured on new ground for 4-5 pitches until we joined a routecalled Southwest Pillar which we followed to the top of the Minaret. We onsighted every pitch except one (which we redpointed), alternating leads and we named our variation Millennium Escape (5.12-, 11 pitches, 600m.)” “We later came back to free the original line of Doubting the Millennium which went at about 5.12c (F7b+), the crux pitch being a incredibly technical thin crack protected by a rivet and 3 copperheads. We climbed a new 3pitch direct finish to the route and then continued to the summit of South Howser Tower (another 200m scrambling), only to see a thunderstorm on the other side of the mountain coming straight at us. We started hurrying down while we could see the lighting coming closer, but all hopes of survival were lost when our ropes got stuck during the rappels. We sat on a small ledge like ducks waiting to be fried but miraculously the storm past right next to us and we could admire the lightening starting forest fires in a valley below.” The Bugaboos – One of the World´s Great Alpine Rock-climbing Centres is an aptly named guidebook to this amazing area of huge granite spires. The Bugaboos (or ´The Bugs´) is regarded by many as the the finest alpine rock climbing destination in Canada. Seán commented after his new routes:”The alpine rock climbing in the Bugaboos is excellent with amazing lines on granite of exceptional quality.”