Due to the geographical layout of the valley we ascend, Anniversary Peak and Hound’s Tooth remain in view for most of the way while all other peaks are generally obscured by trees and hills.
The hike takes us three hours, with few breaks, and spits us out onto an incredible plateau of rock, overlooking the valley below on one side, and surrounded by a spectacular cirque of bewildering granite walls on the other. Standing by your tent, starting on your left, all of these peaks are observable: Anniversary Peak, Hound’s Tooth, Marmalot Spire, Snowpatch Spire (named for a charming snowpatch that sits perched on its southeast face), Bugaboo Spire, Crescent Spire and Eastpost Spire. The mind reels.
“Hot damn!” I think to myself, and immediately stake out a seven-by-seven foot claim of bare-rock real-estate. The weather is good. Like, really good. Bluebird skies good. A notice board at the campsite includes weather reports posted by the camp rangers. The predicted forecast looks promising for the whole week. I can not – will not – believe my eyes. The mind continues to reel.
I immediately strike a plan to attempt a relatively large, but modest, climb for the very next day. In terms of alpine climbing, there are basically two difficulty grades that are given: one for the length and seriousness of a route, and one for the difficulty of the technical climbing. Whereas the Lotus Flower Tower in The Cirque is a grade V (generally multi-day except for the elite few), we will attempt the North East Ridge of Bugaboo Spire, a grade IV (serious but can be done in a day), and significantly easier technical climbing. While at first not stoked on the prospect of doing a big committing climb the very next day after an arduous hike, I manage to convince two of my friends to attempt it with me early next morning, citing the incredibly and generally unheard of weather window we have been offered.