SUGARPLUM SPIRE 2882m 9455′
The summit tower was covered in snow in 1954, and gave the peak its name. It is 2.5 kilometres northwest of Mount Hatteras.
1. Northwest Ridge. From camp in the forest near Hatteras Glacier, ascend the steep glacier toward the col north of Sugarplum, and avoid the icefall to the right (2.5 hours to col). Skirt the initial buttress for 30 meters to the right to attain a gully which leads to the crest of the ridge. Unless there is much snow, one should not go straight up to the col or at the col; much loose talus.
Ascend the northwest ridge for a very few hundred meters to the first step, which requires four leads to surmount (Class 5.0). Descend, and then climb a sharp, strenuous and exposed ridge to the top of the second step. The deep gap is passed by swinging down on a jammed stone under an overhang, and then climbing back out on the other side.
Scramble up the broad ridge to the foot of the “Plum”. A blocky chimney (Class 5.0) and scrambling lead to the summit.
The difficulties are comparable to those of Bugaboo Spire below the gendarme. Ascent from the col, 4.5 hours.
Descend from the Plum to the broad part of the northwest ridge before the gap. Zigzag down ledges of the west face, working diagonally north to cross the couloir from the gap halfway down. Circle west to regain the col in about two hours.
This route is the easiest on the mountain, but crossing the west face couloir becomes harder as the snow cover disappears. A rappel is necessary to descend when the snow is partly gone. Glacier (III,5.0,s). 13/7/1954.
2. Southeast Ridge. Attain the col on the southeast ridge in about two hours, over the glacier, from a camp near the snout of the
Scramble on good granite, traverse the first two towers and then descend into the deep notch before the third tower. Circle left (west) and then regain the crest, which is interrupted by several gendarmes. Pass the gendarmes, usually on the right (north; Class 5.0), and reach a sharp notch overhung by a spectacular minaret.
Descend (or rappel) on the west to the col before the summit pyramid. Avoid the cliff by climbing a ramp to the left and then a chimney (Class 5.2) which leads to the summit. Seven hours from the col. Glacier (III, 5.2,s,*).
RH, NP, MW, 14/8/1959.
Variation: After climbing the ramp, ascend right to a massive boulder which straddles the ridge. Traverse left on a horizontal crack halfway up the boulder, which gives access to a gully which leads right to a notch below the summit pyramid. Then descend one Class 4 pitch down a rotten gully on the other side (7 m), and go around the pyramid’s bulk and up easy broken rock to just below the summit. Scramble the last 20m to the top. Glacier (III,5.3,s,*).
RB, KK, ES, PT, 27/7/1994.
The southeast ridge never relents, is intricate, and route finding decisions are constantly required. This spire is a non-trivial mountain. During the south to north traverse (15.5 hours round trip) two rappels are used during the descent. The traverse was first done in 1975.
3. Northeast Face. Reach the nearly level section of the east ridge by the easiest access from the south side. Ascend the ridge almost to a steep section, and then traverse a steep granite “tower” to the right. Cross a steep ice gully.
Climb the northeast face by a zigzag route along ledges on the face (sound granite) and regain the east ridge about 100 meters above the traverse (Class 4). Scramble to the top.
Twelve hours round trip on the ridge, starting from camp near Hatteras Glacier. Ice, Glacier (III,5.0,s,*).
RC, RG, AN, August 14, 1959.
Variation: Ascend right under a minaret, just south of a rotten gully, and ascend the gully (see Route 2, var.).
GF, FT, PW, 29/7/1994.