2009: Mt. Bute, School of Rock, by B. Kay

Mt. Bute, with (1) the 50-pitch School of Rock (Kay-Martinello-Sinnes, 2009), and (2) West Face (Foweraker-Serl, 1986). The Northwest Buttress (Down-Fletcher, 1991) roughly takes the left skyline. Soon after the Foweraker-Serl ascent, starting just left and joining it at the first big ledge (where (2) traverses right), is the Beckey-Lewis-Nelson 1986 variation. Jimmy Martinello

(Back to: North America, Canada, British Columbia, Coast Mountains)

Mt. Bute, School of Rock.

By Bruce Kay, Canada

In mid-August, Jimmy Martinello, Jay Sinnes, and I flew northwest out of Squamish for the head of Bute Inlet. Once there we transferred for a quick bump to the head of Galleon Creek, below the 6,000′ west buttress of Mt Bute. The next morning saw us simuling and rope-stretching up a few spooky pitches of slab, aiming for a single corner system breaching the lower wall. Numerous pitches put us at our first bivy with glorious views of the Waddington Range and down the Inlet.

Next morning Jay solved our lower crux with some tricky routefinding and mixed free and aid, putting us at a snow patch for rehydration and R&R. We really should have brought a few beers.

Then it was up and over Point Steffannie to bivy 2, below the upper buttress, which had largely been solved by Mike Down and Greg Foweraker on a previous attempt. The following day gave further spectacular granite ridge-climbing, until we tagged the summit in the evening light. We were finally caught by darkness on the descent, at Rat Terrace, where we spent the night in remarkable comfort though occasionally tormented by an enormous, prehistoric pack rat.

Next day we rapped the ridge and bailed down the huge slope below the West Face route (Foweraker-Serl, 1986). The west face is certainly one of the finest pure rock features in the Coast Range; it deserves a free ascent. Next day after consuming all consumables, we hammered our way out Galleon Creek, taking a vague but highly recommended trail located on the north side and traversing high above the creek. If you find it, stay on it at all costs!

A brief but tranquil evening, enjoying Chuck and Sharon’s hospitality at Homathko Camp, was followed by a return flight to Squamish. It all happened so fast it seemed like a dream.

School of Rock (Complete West Buttress, 50 pitches, VI 5.11 A2), with much appreciation to the Mugs Stump Award and Mountain Equipment Co-op.

© American Alpine Club


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