Travel

Heli-hiking in B.C.'s Bugaboos

  • Sep 17, 2013
  • 394 words
  • 2 minutes
Expand Image
Advertisement

They got “bugaboo-ed”. That’s what they say of the gold hunters who came up empty from the peaks, once known as the Nunataks, in southeastern British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains around the turn of the 20th century. The prospectors renamed the spires the Bugaboo Mountains, inspired by the word meaning to annoy or anger.

Expand Image

Guests at Bugaboo Lodge can look out at Anniversary, Houndstooth, Pigeon and Snowpatch spires (left to right). (Photo: Aaron Kylie)

Considered some of the most inaccessible peaks in Canada, if not the world, one can certainly appreciate their disappointment. It undoubtedly took no small effort to prospect the peaks. For the renowned explorers and climbers who later climbed the spires, and the modern-day adventurers fortunate enough to partake of one of the country’s only heli-hiking experiences, the Bugaboos do guarantee riches of thrills and golden vistas.

Indeed, the Bugaboos have a storied history of mountaineering. Famed pioneers Byron Harmon, Conrad Kain, Tom Langstaff and Arthur Oliver Wheeler visited the region in 1910. In the ’50s and ’60s, legendary climbers Yvon Chouinard (founder of the Patagonia clothing company) and Fred Beckey made first ascents of a number of the imposing spires. And mountain guide extraordinaire Hans Gmoser, the originator of heli-skiing, built Bugaboo Lodge in the range in 1968, to offer comfortable lodging to anyone who’s dream of skiing or hiking the isolated slopes.

In early September, I laced up my Irish Setter boots for the heli-hiking experience run by Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) at Bugaboo Lodge, located about an hour’s drive via logging road from Radium, B.C. (or a 15-minute helicopter ride, which is how most guests arrive). As an exclusive bonus for the trip, CMH integrated a photography workshop with Neil Ever Osborne, a conservation photographer from Toronto who teaches storytelling through images.

While I’m no mountaineer (though I do hike regularly) and an amateur photographer at best, I certainly relished the opportunity to explore the remote trails and capture the rugged peaks of the otherwise secluded Bugaboos from the unique vantage of a helicopter.

After brief introductions from Osborne, guide Lyle Grisedale (an accomplished photographer in his own right, who advised the group that should we encounter a grizzly, we should form a cluster in front of him, ahem) and the assembled photo workshop participants we get a quick helicopter safety tutorial.

Expand Image
Expand Image
Expand Image
Expand Image
Expand Image
Expand Image
Advertisement

Related Content

Travel

Editors’ behind-the-scenes insights through Twitter and Instagram

  • 1353 words
  • 6 minutes
Alpine heli approaches Powder Pig Ridge for an evening shoot

Travel

Heli-hiking in B.C.’s Bugaboo Mountains

A glimpse into the world of heli-hiking in B.C.’s Bugaboo Mountains, some of the most inaccessible peaks on Earth

  • 368 words
  • 2 minutes

Travel

A dozen travel-related New Year’s resolutions from Canadian Geographic

  • 1042 words
  • 5 minutes

Environment

Expedition report: The great B.C. coastal cleanup of 2020

RCGS Fellow Jacqueline Windh jumped at the opportunity to participate in a six-week cleanup along the coast of B.C. 

  • 2304 words
  • 10 minutes