Crescent Towers, North Tower

July 25, 2014

2830m

Bugaboo Provincial Park, BC

The Crescent Towers (North, Central, South) are unofficial names of the three rock pinnacles just to the south of Crescent Spire. The north tower is the highest among the three and only marginally lower than Crescent Spire, but the other two are more famous to the climbers mainly because of two of the classic routes – Lions Way on the central tower (5.6) and Ears Between on the south (5.7). The north tower is the technically easiest and its north ridge which extends from Crescent Spire/Towers col is merely an exposed 4th class scramble. (The rating on the Bugaboo climber’s guidebook is 5.6 and is way off).

Ferenc, Ben and I did it on the Day 1 of our Bugaboo trip, combined with an ascent of Crescent Spire. The North Tower wasn’t on our original plan (’cause otherwise we’d bring rope up due to the 5.6 rating), but after seeing the ridge from Crescent Spire we figured it might not be that hard. At least it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So off we went. At the col Ben and I switched our bulky mountaineering boots for rock shoes for more comfortable foot placements. The start of this ridge looked very steep so we bypassed the initial bit on climber’s right up a chimney. After cresting the ridge we stayed more or less on the crest with some minor detours to climber’s left. The climbing, though exposed, never exceeded 4th class until just below the summit. Here we had to squeeze through between rock flakes followed by climbing up a short chimney – maybe low 5th class but definitely not 5.6. Then we were on the summit…

The North Ridge of North Crescent Tower seem from Crescent Spire/Tower col

The North Ridge of North Crescent Tower seem from Crescent Spire/Tower col

Ben starting the ridge after climbing up a chimney to bypass the initial bit

Ben starting the ridge after climbing up a chimney to bypass the initial bit

Typical scrambling on this ridge. Fun on solid rocks!

Typical scrambling on this ridge. Fun on solid rocks!

Near the summit - exposed fun..

Near the summit – exposed fun..

Ferenc negotiating the last few moves

Ferenc negotiating the last few moves

Ben's turn - firstly he had to squeeze through the wall and a rock flake

Ben’s turn – firstly he had to squeeze through the wall and a rock flake

Then, stemming up

Then, stemming up

Exposed and fun.

Exposed and fun.

Brenta Spire in the background

Brenta Spire in the background

Interesting move to get on the summit.

Interesting move to get on the summit.

Looking back towards the long ridge on Crescent Spire - doesn't quite look like a spire from this angle...

Looking back towards the long ridge on Crescent Spire – doesn’t quite look like a spire from this angle…

Looking down towards central and south towers - traversing them isn't the standard way...

Looking down towards central and south towers – traversing them isn’t the standard way…

Impressive view towards the very fractured Bugaboo Glacier

Impressive view towards the very fractured Bugaboo Glacier

Hardest spire in Bugaboos - Snowpatch Spire

Hardest spire in Bugaboos – Snowpatch Spire

Me on the summit with Bugaboo Spire behind

Me on the summit with Bugaboo Spire behind

After some obligatory photos we started the down-climb. This ridge was much more fun than the one on Crescent Spire and offered a whole lot more hands-on stuffs. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and on the descent, we on purposely stayed on the ridge crest pretty much all the way down to the initial chimney. Then we down-climbed the chimney to where we stashed the gears.

Descending the ridge

Descending the ridge

Ben down-climbing the short but exposed chimney near the summit

Ben down-climbing the short but exposed chimney near the summit

We had lots of fun here.

We had lots of fun here.

Ferenc down-climbing the initial chimney

Ferenc down-climbing the initial chimney. Note where we ditched backpacks/boots

Descending the loose gully between Crescent Towers and Crescent Spire required some caution due to rock fall danger, but went by fast. Down to the snow, we easily plunged step down to rejoin the boot tracks/trails below. The hike back to our camp at Applebee Dome was nice and scenic.

Descending the loose gully between Crescent Towers and Crescent Spire

Descending the loose gully between Crescent Towers and Crescent Spire

There looks to have a lot of fresh snow and ice on Pigeon Spire

There looks to have a lot of fresh snow and ice on Pigeon Spire

Ben plunging down the snow slope on the lower half of this gully

Ben plunging down the snow slope on the lower half of this gully

Ferenc with a frozen tarn behind

Ferenc with a frozen tarn behind

Eastpost Spire rises behind some tarns

Eastpost Spire rises behind some tarns

Gorgeous colours!

Gorgeous colours!

Back to Applebee Dome camp

Back to Applebee Dome camp

Looking back at Crescent Towers (the one in view is the south tower)

Looking back at Crescent Towers (the one in view is the south tower)

It was already quite late in the day so after a well-deserved dinner we went to bed, hoping the weather would clear up for us. And the next day – Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire will no doubt be the hardest/craziest climb in my “career” to date…

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