Climbing the Bugaboos
Seattle photographer Ben Matthews took his camera, climbing gear, and a few friends to Bugaboo Provincial Park in Canada recently for a rare kind of adventure—one that went exactly as planned.
My trip to Bugaboo Provincial Park in British Columbia was one of those trips where everything goes right: the weather co-operates, everyone has fun, and you all live to tell the tale another day.
This little section of the Purcell Mountains is home to some of the most world-renowned alpine climbing on the planet. Generations of climbers have been coming here for decades, ever since Conrad Kain set some of the first climbing routes in the early 1900s. Since then, greats like Fred Beckey and Yvon Chouinard have established many different routes on the huge granite walls and spires in the region.
We arrived on a bluebird morning in July, packed our gear, and headed up the short, yet very steep trail to our home for the next week. We spent the next 7 days climbing the beautiful granite walls, jumping into partially frozen lakes, and simply basking in the landscape surrounding us.
I have never been anywhere so big that made me feel as small as this place made me feel.
During our time in the hills, the weather cooperated with us flawlessly, almost as if we were directing it ourselves. For this part of the country, that is a rare occurrence. In the seven days I was up there, it only rained once. Luckily, that happened to be the one night I had decided we should treat ourselves and stay in the Conrad Kain hut for the night.
At the end of our week, everyone was still in good spirits. Sure, we had a couple more scrapes and bruises, and maybe a few new holes in our clothes than we did when we started the week, but we were stoked. We had just spent an entire week climbing in this place with basically zero hiccups to our plan. Everyone climbed safely, we summited all of our objectives, and we dodged any bad weather with incredible accuracy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Words and Photos by Ben Matthews