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Boltless 5.10 Added to North Howser Tower

The west face of the North Howser Tower, showing Dodging Deanna (5.10, 10 pitches) in blue. [Photo] courtesy Chris Atkinson/Alpinist 14

Howser Towers, Bugaboos, Canadian Rockies

“Despite ninety years of exploration,” Topher Donahue wrote in Alpinist 14, “unclimbed wonders still hide in the Howser massif’s corners and myriad buttresses.” That was almost 10 years ago. Some of those corners and buttresses still await an ascent, and last week, a pair of climbers found one of them.

On July 28, Nathan MacDonald and Tony McLane climbed 10 pitches of new ground, boltless, pitonless and free at 5.10, on the Bugaboos’ North Howser Tower. They made the ascent, from the Pigeon/Howser Col to Applebee Campground, in 19 hours.

For those unfamiliar with the massif, Donahue made an introduction: “Neither the sole domain of the super elite nor the blase summits swarmed by countless lay climbers, they are attainable yet visionary, remote but not inordinately so, and inspiring to anyone who has rappelled in the rain, shivered through a cold bivouac or run it out rather than retreated.”

[Photo] Tony McLane

McLane and MacDonald started up the west face via The Shooting Gallery (VI 5.10 A2+, 34 pitches), crossing over the Seventh Rifle gully to access the unclimbed prow between Spicy Red Beans and Rice (VI 5.12- A1, 32 pitches) and The Real Mescalito, 18-plus pitches of 5.11+ C1 put up by Joshua Lavigne and Crosby Johnson in 2007. [Click here to read Lavigne’s very entertaining report of that climb.–Ed.] Ten rope lengths of crenellated Bugaboos granite brought them from half-height on the face to the tower’s summit. They called the line Dodging Deanna, and recommend future climbers bring a No. 5 BD Camalot and a 70-meter rope.

Sources: Alpinist 14,,

[Photo] Tony McLane