- Date Hiked: August 15, 2009
- Miles Hiked: 9.3
- Elevation Gain: 5,237'
- Hiking Partner(s):
- Since we had unfinished business with Little Bear Peak, Jeff and I
had to hike back up the Como Lake Road for the second day in a row.
Although we had originally planned to hike Ellingwood, Blanca, and
Little Bear the previous day, the weather prevented us from hiking
Little Bear. Despite the fact that today was supposed to be a
climb of the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle, we couldn't leave Jeff
hanging with only one 14er left to complete all of them. So, second
verse same as the first.
- We got up at 3:00 am again and the hike to Como Lake went slightly
faster than the previous day. The weather looked much better, so
we decided to go up the northwest face of Little Bear Peak. A few
parties were already heading up the standard west ridge route. The
first time up this route started with more difficult climbing than
expected, so I knew we needed to start slightly farther right which we
did. The climbing was steep with a few Class 4 sections, but it
was fun and we gained vertical quickly. We traversed into the main
shallow gully of the northwest face and the rock was more loose than I
remembered. We continued up the face and the climbing became Class
4 again as we approached the ridgeline.
- It only took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to top out on Little Bear Peak
from the basin below. Jeff had completed the 14ers, but the
celebration was limited because we knew we had to descend the Hourglass
on the west ridge route. There were a couple of other people on
the summit that we talked to for a while before heading down.
Unfortunately, the other parties were far enough ahead of us that we
didn't follow them down and ended up at the "winter" rappel station.
Because of this, we had to re-climb a couple hundred feet to get back on
the summer route further to skier's right.
- This was my third ascent of Little Bear; however, I had never been
on the west ridge route when it was melted out. I did the
Hourglass as a snow climb in 2004 and went up the northwest face to the
Little Bear/Blanca traverse in 2006, but I had never climbed or
descended the Hourglass without snow. After coming down the
Hourglass and getting off route in some extremely loose rock, I now
remember why I avoided this area. It was definitely sketchy
down-climbing this route after not climbing it, having substantial loose
rock all around, and also having climbers above and below us.
- We made it down the Hourglass and traversed over to the west ridge
proper where I shed a layer and we could relax and celebrate Jeff's
completion of the 14ers. We hiked back down to Lake Como and our
camp before packing up and driving back to Denver (CO). After a
quick shower, Jeff and his family arrived at my house with a couple of
nice bottles of wine to celebrate Jeff completing the 14ers and my
birthday. I got loaded as we watched the movie Hangover on DVD
(although it was still in movie theaters).
- Click here
to view a
map of the area where this hike is located.