North American Classic Climbs

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Bugaboo Spire

Northeast Ridge One of the top 25 routes in this collection!

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The most popular route in the Bugaboos for many good reasons: perfect rock, spectacular surroundings, and excellent climbing at a moderate difficulty level characterize the route. The first five pitches offer the some of the finest moderate alpine rock climbing of any route in this collection, and the rest are also high quality, just much easier and thus less memorable. However, this route is famous for epics and unplanned bivouacs due to far too many climbers underestimating it. It is quite long when the complex descent is factored in, and you'll need route finding skills, experience with climbing efficiently and rapidly, glacier travel skills, and a plan for what to do when it storms. Retreat is not a good option once you are above the first part of the ridge.

If you are unsure about being able to pull this off in a day, consider climbing the Kain route first (the SE Ridge, partially visible as the left skyline in the photo.) It is considerably easier, and serves as the descent for the NE Ridge. It is also a quality climb, and classic in the historical sense as the celebrated first ascent route by Conrad Kain. However, the fifth-class climbing is limited to only a few short pitches, so it nearly as attractive as the NE Ridge for the experienced technical climber.


Alpine Rock (with substantial glacier travel on approach & descent)




Bugaboo Prov. Park, British Columbia, Canada



G12, I1, I2, I6, I9


IV, 5.7


Route Descriptions & Maps:

Route diagram

First Ascent:

D. Croft, J. Turner, D. Sykes, & D. Isles, August 8, 1958


Trip Reports:

Clark 8/01
Larson 8/93