Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bugaboos- Fingerberry Jam

The Beckey-Chouinard had worn us out, but the weather was good so we had to climb.  So we decided to take a Bugaboos "rest day" and do a "short" route with a "small" approach.  The obvious choice was Fingerberry Jam, a seven pitch 12a.  Makes sense...

Fingerberry Jam ascends the clean, white panel of rock on the right side of the Fingerberry Tower.
As we approached the route, we nervously stared up at the first pitch- a very thin 5.11a finger crack.  Although it was more like 11c, it took great gear and climbed brilliantly ending just below a small roof.

A great view of the Beckey-Chouinard.

The second pitch pulls the roof and continues up a perfect finger crack.  About 30 feet up the crack V's.  Head left into a corner and over a roof to the next belay station.  Unfortunately, I headed right, which led me into a hideous flared crack that pinched down to a slopey offset feature.  I had to aid past about 10 feet to reach easier terrain and then tension traverse to the left to reach the already mentioned belay.  If anyone is interested, the pitch I aided would probably be around 13a.

The third pitch is the crux.  An easy hands section leads to opposing 5.11 thin seams which require stemming skills to pass.   More 5.10 Fingers and hands bring you to a hard left traverse into another 5.10 corner that eventually turns into a hollow flake traverse out right to a nice belay ledge.  Poor route finding skills lead me past the hard traverse and straight into a dead end at the top of the original crack.  Damn!

Looking up at the 12a pitch.
Taylor High on P3.
Taylor on P3.  So proud of Ben for taking some pictures!

The fourth pitch is an amazing 5.10 obtuse corner system.  I might say that this was the best pitch on the route.  Certainly the least stressful.

Ben starting up P4.

Ben higher up on P4
From here things kind of deteriorate.  Unbeknownst to us, most people rappel off after P4, doing the best pitches, and forgetting about the summit and the hassles of getting off the formation.  In other words, a nice short day of climbing.

The view from the top of P4.
However, we didn't know this so we pushed on towards the summit and into a part of the route that few people climb. All the sudden, the good rock and easy route finding turns into tiptoeing on choss and wondering where to go.

Pitch 4 is a 30 foot 5.8 corner crack that ends in a notch. Pitch 5 climbs into a 5.9 corner filled with hollow flakes and lichen that pops you out on a ledge.  Pitch 6 is low angle face with more hollow flakes and huge blocks that heads up and left and then right towards the summit. 

Ben on P6.
Cool formation.
Once you are on top, keep heading North to a rappel station that gets you off the Fingerberry Tower, but not on the glacier. 

The Fingerberry Tower rappel.
Ben on the rap onto the snow.
So instead of a short day of climbing, Fingerberry Jam turned into a full day of hard climbing, difficult route finding, and a stressful decent.  Typical Bugaboos stuff.

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