August, 05


McTech Arete on

Crescent Spire with

Lisa and Ian White



    This was supposed to be a rest day. Since our arrival we had climbed two major spires, hiked back to the van to restock on food, and spent one evening polishing off a liter of scotch between three of us. Needless to say, we needed a break. We were the B-Team for crying out loud. We weren't meant to climb hard all day every day. That was the work of others. Everyone understood this...   everyone except Lisa.

    When the day dawned with beautiful weather, Lisa was up in no time making the rounds trying to find a member of the B-Team that was game for another route. There were no takers. In fact, other than Lisa, we were all perfectly content to sit in camp and watch a beautiful day pass without even a hint of guilt. By the time we all gathered for breakfast at 10:30, Lisa had abandoned us and was trolling the Applebee Campground for partners. That's when it first started getting to me that we were lazy wankers. I did my best to combat this feeling but I was losing ground. When she raced back into camp and started packing gear and telling us about this rope gun that was about to lead her up McTech Arete, I began to crumble. After all, a free toprope on one of the area classics is nothing to scoff at right?

    Ten minutes later I was sheepishly asking if I could join their team. Being the friendliest person I know, Lisa agreed without even busting my chops too much. Ian was also willing to let me tag along and before the others had finished snacking, we were approaching the Crescent Glacier.

    On the low angle hike up the glacier, acid began to pump through my thighs and I remembered why we were taking a rest day. It took quite an effort to keep up with the two gazelles with which I was hiking and I almost turned back. In the end though, foolish pride served me well and I made it ALL THE WAY to the base. At this point I'm thinking about demoting myself to the D-Team. I had almost bailed from what must be the easiest approach in the whole range. Fortunately I was able to regroup while we waited for a team ahead of us to clear out.

    In a brief moment of unlogic, I asked to lead the first pitch. It didn't go badly although I did take longer than I would have if I had been fresh and certainly longer than Ian would have. It turned out that Ian was a full blown rock star. He was very modest and would probably deny that but it's true. He sailed up the crux pitch with no worries. Lisa followed the pitch clean with just a little worry, and I damn near pitched off. Seriously, I caught myself with a wild, all-or-nothing, barn door into a layback maneuver. It was not pretty and I was happy to be climbing last.

    After that, I was content to sit in the back seat and climb three more incredible pitches. The long hand cracks on the third pitch are perhaps the best section of climbing I experienced during our trip. That pitch is truly fantastic.

    It was all smiles at the end of the day. I had bagged another area classic and made a new friend thanks to Lisa's drive and fitness. Thanks my friend.



Lisa on rubble covered toe of the Crescent Glacier. This is one of the shortest approaches in the Bugs.

Self portrait with Snowpatch and the B-S Col in the background.


Ian White and Lisa Foster on the Crescent Glacier with our route in the background.



Looking up at McTech Arete. A party is visible at the top of the first pitch.



Bugaboo Spire's east face. The classic Northeast Ridge roughly follows the right skyline. The Kain route follows the left skyline.



Ian and Lisa scrambling up to the belay.



Lisa below the route. In the background are the Donkeys Ears which Lisa climbed with another new friend while everyone else rested.



Snowpatch Spire with Pigeon Spire framed through the B-S Col.


Me and Lisa at the base waiting for the party ahead of us to get a couple pitches up.



Me on the first pitch.



Ian floating up the crux pitch.

Lisa on the second pitch which she climbed free and proud.


Ian starting pitch three. This was my favorite pitch on the route.



Lisa turning a 5.9 roof that leads to this long, beautiful hand crack.



Closer view of the previous shot.



After this trip, Lisa called and said that she had learned how to hand jam with her thumbs up. I found astounding since she already climbed as hard as anyone else on the B-team.



Ian and Lisa at the base of pitch 4. The Crescent Towers are in the background and camp is visible below.



Ian trying a new variation to the 4th pitch. Unfortunately this line petered out above the roof and Ian had to down-aid. Wheee...



Spectacular scenery.

Lisa on the fourth pitch. This was another wonderfully fun pitch to climb.

Ian and Lisa on the way back to camp.

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