Stanhope Redpoints Bugaboos' Hardest Free Climb

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.


August 17, 2015 – Canadian Will Stanhope has redpointed the Tom Egan Memorial Route on the east face of Snowpatch Spire. Climbing with his longtime partner on the project, Matt Segal from the U.S., Stanhope completed the climb in Canada’s Bugaboos over four days, grading it V 5.14.

The Tom Egan Memorial was put up in 1978 and climbed 13 pitches (Grade V A3) to reach the spire’s northeast ridge. Since Stanhope rappelled the line to check it out in 2010, he and Segal have spent four summers (more than 100 days) working on the free ascent. During their redpoint push, Segal freed all but the crux face climbing pitch—deteriorating weather prevented him from continuing his attempts.

The free route starts on Sweet Sylvia (5.12b), on the right side of the east face, and then follows a bolted face pitch (5.14) to reach the headwall cracks on the Tom Egan. The next pitch, Blood on the Crack, is an extraordinary finger seam that goes at 5.14-. Above this are two 5.13 pitches. Here the free line rejoins Sweet Sylvia and continues to the top on easier ground. The two men made their final push on the route August 11–14.

At his Instagram page, Stanhope said, “There are no hands-off stances on the entire four-pitch crux headwall. We used the old aid belays. I’ll be the first in line to hand over an ice-cold sixer of Kokanee mountain-sized beers to whoever links this beast ledge to ledge.”

For his part, Segal said on Instagram, “I’ve never put so much effort into one climb and am extremely heartbroken for not sending with Will, but I’m super honored to have witnessed his ascent and to have shared so many days on the wall with him…. I guess I just wasn’t meant to send this year but am trying to look on the bright side: Spending more time in the Bugaboos isn’t the worse thing in the world.”