Crescent Towers, North Tower
July 25, 2014
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…
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 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.
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…