Steph Abegg: British Columbia’s Magnificent Bugaboos



Located in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, the Bugaboos are a remarkable collection of granite spires that attract climbers from around the world. In the early years of the twentieth century, climbing routes were established by the legendary Conrad Kain, and by the 1950’s and 60’s, marquee climbers such as Fred Beckey and Yvon Chouinard were putting up new, audacious lines. In addition to the spires of polished granite, the Bugaboos feature extensive glaciation and the combination – sheer towers rising from blue glacial ice – is a visual (and photographic) delight. Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park was established in 1969 and in 1972 a three-story Quonset hut, named for Conrad Kain, was constructed beneath the spires to provide accommodations for the climbers who journey from around the globe to experience such ascents as Bugaboo Spire, The Hound’s Tooth or Snowpatch Spire. In 1995 the park was expanded and renamed Bugaboo Provincial Park.

Access is via 30 miles of sometimes rough dirt road that leads west from the town of Brisco (between Golden and Radium Hot Springs) on Highway 95. Follow the signs to the trailhead parking lot. Note: The porcupines of Bugaboo are justifiably infamous. To protect your vehicle’s soft parts from being gnawed on, chicken wire is provided to “fence” your car. Use it or risk an ungodly towing bill. The trail to the Kain hut is short (3 miles) but wickedly steep (2200’ gain, mostly in the last 2 miles). In addition to the hut, camping is available near the hut at Boulder Camp or (better yet) 500 feet higher atop Applebee Dome at 8,000 feet.




Steph Abegg has climbed extensively in various climbing areas across western North America. Her home range is the North Cascades, where she enjoys the rugged glaciated beauty. No matter the difficulty of the route, she always has a camera along, documenting the adventure and capturing images of the spectacular terrain. Visit her at:

For as long as I remember, I have been triply afflicted with (i) an insatiable thirst for adventure, (ii) a persistent awe of the natural world, and (iii) a need to somehow document the world around me. I feel the most alive when I am in the mountains and outdoors, immersed in God’s amazing handiwork. And I find my sense of purpose and satisfaction in sharing my discoveries and experiences in unique and creative ways. 

I bought my first point-and-shoot digital camera in 2002 and my first DSLR in 2005.


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