We are pleased to announce that Will Stanhope completed a four year project yesterday in the Bugaboos. A close source indicated that the thin faced headwall finally went free yesterday at solid 5.14. Will had been working the route with his good friend Matt Segal for the last four summer seasons. According to Will, the pair has spent well over 100 days on the wall trying to free it.
Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboos. Photo by Sam Jones ©
The route itself, The Tom Egan Memorial Route, was first climbed in 1978 by Daryl Hatten and John Simpson, Grade V A3, and encompassed 13 pitches in total. Will first rapped the line with Hazel Findlay in 2010.
For those of you interested in the details, the route followed by Will and Matt climbs Sweet Sylvia and then traverses across a face pitch to the headwall cracks of the Tom Egan. The most difficult pitch is a thin face that finally went free at 5.14. According to Will, this pitch was ‘the most insecure pitch’ he had ever tried and ‘it could’ve gone either way’ and ‘I got very, very lucky’. On the final push, Matt unfortunately came up short on the crux face but continued to support his partner the whole way through. The crux pitch was followed by a very difficult crack pitch, dubbed “Blood on the Crack” and is the second hardest pitch of the route, weighing in at 5.14-. The next two pitches following the crack are 5.13 and 5.13- R respectively. From there, Will and Matt rejoined ‘Sweet Sylvia’. The angle eases off and a handful of 5.10/ 5.9 crack pitches lead to the Yellow Tower. The pair then rappelled the Sunshine route into some savage heavy weather, and at one point began to experience golf ball sized chunks of hail.
Will noted that there are no ‘hands off’ free stances on the entire four pitch crux headwall. Will and Matt ended the pitches at the old aid belays. According to Will ‘If somebody links all the crux pitches ledge to ledge one day, I’ll be the first in line to hand them an ice cold sixer of Kokanee mountain-sized beers.’
Congratulations to both Will and Matt for teaming up on such an endeavour. As we speak, Matt and Will are about to head back up to give Matt one last ‘Hail Mary’. Good luck guys!
Date of ascent: August 11-14 2015