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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-10-19||Route: Little Bear-to-Blanca Traverse
Info: Traverse is pretty much dry. What very little snow there is on the north side can be easily avoided. Thought about going up LB's NW face but saw some snow up high on it and decided to just go up the hourglass. Turns out it was a good call because when we looked down the NW face from the traverse we saw more snow on it than is visible from below, especially on the upper (steepest) part of the face. Hourglass route is totally dry except for some easily avoidable ice.
|2016-10-18||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Overall summer like conditions the entire route. No traction needed, small amount of snow and ice in the hourglass and gully but it eis easily avoidable. Round trip from just past the lake took me a little over 4 hours. The wind which picked up on the summit made the descent a little slow. Conditions were perfect. High 20s at night, high 50s in the day. Wind chill which picked up in the afternoon made it more like 30, strong winds the day before felt like 0. Full winter gear was needed to stay warm on Blanca and Ellingwood. 75-85ish mph gusts. Ropes and anchors were generally in good shape. (See the recent Facebook post on 14ers page for pictures) First purple rope you come to in the lower part of the hourglass is tied to the end of the green rope attached to a rock with several sling anchors before the hourglass turns right about 2/3rds of the way up. Both ropes are generally okay, I tied off a few frays on my way down. Likewise with the upper blue rope and cable anchor. Be cautious of pulling down rocks if you move the ropes at all. Parts of the ropes seemed to be buried in small piles of fallen rocks which fell when I touched them. The gully and above the hourglass are extremely loose. I caused a small rock avalanche coming down the gully which quickly gained momentum to carry it to the bottom. Luckily I was the only climber that day. BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS OF OTHER CLIMBERS! It's not easy to climb without dislodging rocks, that being said, it is extremely dry right now. Great overall conditions. Go get it before the next storm.
|2016-10-15||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: The entire route/peak is essentially free of snow and ice save for a small easily avoidable section of ice in the hourglass. Perfect conditions!
|2016-10-02||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Route is clear all the way. Some small patches of snow from the rain overnight, but otherwise clear. Rope in hour glass was in descent shape. I knotted out a few core shots on the upper rope, so still wouldn't recommend using it without actually inspecting it on the way up.
|2016-10-01||Route: Little Bear-to-Blanca Traverse
Info: The hourglass is just starting to ice up- but lots of options still to get around it. In fact I didn't even set foot on ice by just carefully watching my steps. But it is definitely a factor when considering the hourglass from here on out. The rocks were also very much frosted over, making for slippery steps. It all melted of course as soon as temperatures rose for the day. Other than that, still dry/no snow, and warm temps when the sun comes out.
|2016-09-16||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Well its official, Como Lake road still sucks. And Little Bear wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. If you can do the Keyhole route on Longs, Little Bear wont be a problem. If you stay to the climbers left in the hourglass the rock is solid and easy to climb. Once you reach the first rope anchor I recommend going to the second rope anchor and then climbing up along the right side of the gulley. The rock was stable enough that nothing dropped into the hourglass. I totally understand the objective hazard of rock fall when you are in the hourglass, but technically its not that difficult. There was some ice and water running down the climbers right side of the hourglass, but if you stay left its dry and solid. For anyone going to Lake Como, the night time temperatures are getting cold enough to start freezing water at that elevation. I did the climb in one push riding a dirt bike to about a mile and a half below the lake and then walking from there. I think the worst part of the route is coming down from the notch above Como Lake. Super loose and slippery. All the ropes hanging in the hourglass looked ok. I did tie some knots to isolate some cuts. Both anchors looked solid as well. That is my opinion and everyone should make their own assessment. Round trip distance was around 5.5miles, summit was reached in 2hr54min, and RT time took 4hr27min.
|2016-09-11||Route: Northwest Face
Info: Ascended the NW face on sept.11th. It's dry. Descended the hourglass which has a small running stream on the right side (when ascending) of the gully. The ropes in place should be used with caution
|2016-09-05||Route: SW RIDGE from Como Road
Info: Climbed South Little Bear and Little Bear Peak via the Southwest Ridge from Como Road (8,000 feet) NOT Tobin Creek which has all the private property issues. Found little to no information on doing it legally from Como. We walked up Como Road to 8,800 feet and then contoured around to the Tobin Creek crossing and then picked up the route description in Gerry Roach's book from there. To the best of my knowledge this keeps it legal. This is a great route if you hate yourself and like walking into trees a lot. It is also great if you like incredibly long steep bushwhacks on endless talus through the desert. When I removed my clothes after getting home, 10 pounds of Sangre scrub dumped out. The "technical climbing" on this route is incredibly over hyped. It is not hard. Some spots are exposed and the wind blew about 40 mph all day keeping us wondering if one of us would blow off the ridge. I was concerned with all the recent rains, snows, and ice that part of this ridge would fall off while we were on it and sure enough, it did. It created a huge slide on the east side of the mountain. This route is plugged with parts of ridge just waiting to blow, a true testament to how few climb it. We had the mountain completely to ourselves. The standard route looks miserable but the southwest ridge route from Como road will test your every skill..... but mostly just your ability to talus hop through aggressive plants.
|2016-08-27||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: There are still some various precarious large boulders at the top of the hour glass that could do some serious damage if knocked loose. On the way up the rope started at the bottom of the hourglass constriction (the hard spot) with a section of rope flaked next to it on the ground in a pool of water. The first rope isn't perfect but has knots tying off any bad spots where the core is cut or exposed. At the top of the first rope there is now another rope about 20 yards up and right that looks to be in great condition. On the summit a fellow climber said he had clipped the rope at the bottom of the hourglass into the first rope to let it dry out and on the way back down I carried it to the bottom of the first rope and double fishermened them together. This section of rope has some sections where the sheath is damaged but the core is not exposed and with the new extension the rope reaches much further almost to the very bottom of the gully. Disclaimer, I've been outdoor Trad/alpine climbing for only 2 years but with 100+ hours of professional training so my judgement is of course not a fact but simply my opinion on the matter. Any questions, feel free to Message me.
|2016-08-27||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: We started around 6:30 am and encountered some frozen ground and frosty rocks in the morning in the first gully, but nothing of concern. The little water that was flowing in the hourglass was avoidable in the choke - but others climbers noted it was icy earlier in the morning. Climbed the left side of the upper hourglass - dry. Came down the right side - water was avoidable. Did not use the ropes going up and didn't need to use them coming down, but upon inspection, there were some nicks and a little fraying. The anchor looked good. The purple rope hanging through the narrowest part of the hourglass had been reattached. No snow.
|2016-08-21||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: We got an inch of hail Saturday night so we delayed our start until 8:30 am to allow it to burn off. Conditions were great, a little wet in the morning, but not too bad. There was a decent amount of water trickling down the hourglass but stepping over to the 5th class section was completely dry. Photo is from our way down in the afternoon.
|2016-08-16||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: We summited Little Bear via the Hourglass yesterday morning under mostly clear skies and downright beautiful weather. I don't have much to add to the most recent report submitted by someone else two days ago, but it is worth noting that Little Bear, Blanca, and Ellingwood Point all received snow during the afternoon from a nice little stationary thunderstorm as we were hiking back down the Lake Como road. There was enough snow that I could easily see it from highway 17 north of Alamosa. I'm sure this will have mostly melted out within 24 hrs, but it could complicate the climb through the Hourglass for the next few days and perhaps slightly increase the flow of water, which was minimal - but still a factor - when we were up there. I'd be interested to hear how the conditions were today (8/17).
|2016-08-15||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Hourglass has still some water flowing through it. The picture doesn't show the extent of water, but there is continuous water flowing through the hour glass which is more than what is visible from the picture. Also on the descent there is a cairned route from the top that takes you directly to the start of bottom anchor point, I am not sure why people don't take it, this avoids the top 300 ft of the ugly gully directly above the hourglass (where most of the rocks that are being dropped in the hourglass come from.) and sticks to climber's right (facing downward direction) The route is on the south side of the immediate summit. I wish I could have taken some pictures coming down. I do have a GPX file though.
|2016-07-18||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Summer conditions all around. Maybe have to take one step in snow. Just a trickle of water on the hourglass, again, avoidable. Here is a time lapse of my hike for reference: https://youtu.be/AYNg8r1AT5c
|2016-07-17||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: The hourglass has a small snowfield still below it as noted in a previous CR. It is easily by-passable on either side. The hourglass itself had a tiny but of water, but is easily avoidable. There are now 4 ropes total. The typical one hanging from a central anchor that has 3 ropes partially entangled in eachother. There is also a new rope anchored higher up and to the right side of the gully above the constriction. (See picture) The central ropes look to be in very bad shape, have numerous knots in an attempt to "repair" sections with core damage. Most notably, the orange color rope is cut about 3/4 of the way through not far from the anchor point. As usual, I would NOT trust these ropes at all. Once above the hourglass, lots of loose rock ready to fall. My partner and I stuck far climber's left and found it a bit more "solid" up there. (Just as Roach recommends) It's a bit more exposed in places (Roach notes it can go class 5 in areas) but I personally found it the best route to minimize knocking rocks down and staying on my feet.
|2016-07-16||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Climbed the West Ridge/Southwest Face route this morning own essentially summer conditions. Awesome conditions and bluebird skies all day. MINIMAL water coming down the hourglass with no storms over the last two days. There is a small patch of snow at the base of the hourglass, but it is avoidable with some route finding. Per usual, the ropes aren't in great condition and I wouldn't trust them, but they could come in handy for a handhold here and there. Looks like someone set up another rope/rappel on the climbers right above the usual anchor. It looked steeper over there so we went to the left so I have no idea on the status of that rope. For the record, the climbers left seemed much easier coming down once we could see the cairns, but the best left route was more to the left than we thought it would be and took a spicier route up the middle of the upper face on the way up. The mosquitos were absurd at Lake Como even with copious amounts of bug spray.
|2016-07-10||Route: Northwest Face
Info: There is a small, avoidable pocket of snow midway up the NW face, but otherwise the route is bone-dry. The traverse to Blanca and Ellingwood was also dry and solid. On our descent we forced a 50m glissade above Crater Lake so we could justify our decision to carry axes, but they're really not necessary at this point in the season.
|2016-07-09||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Gully from Como Lake road is clear of snow. Traverse on ridge toward Hourglass is clear of snow. There are a few snowfields below the Hourglass.. One directly below. But you can pretty easily get around it either to the left or to the right before entering the Hourglass. We went around to the right of it (south) before climbing the Hourglass. The Hourglass is relatively dry now, with only a little water running down the middle. (probably because of the lack of recent rain). No spontaneous falling rock when we went up, maybe we were lucky.
|2016-07-04||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Climbed LB on 07/04. Conditions were really good. The traverse was a little tricky b/c the cairns are small and I started really earlier so it was still dark. There was a little snow that you needed to traverse below the hour glass. I climbed to the top of the snow and made sure I had good holds on the rock while stepping on the snow. I did not use crampons or an axe. The top of the snow lead me directly to the bottom of the hourglass. The hourglass is very wet but the left side was much more dry so I stayed as far left as possible. I used the rope once or twice, did not rely on it fully however. Be safe and have fun!
|2016-07-01||Route: West Ridge and Southwest Face
Info: Lake Como Rd is in fine shape, insanely rocky and technical as always. Started hiking just before Jaws 1 around 10200ft. The approach gully from Como Lake to the SW face is completely snow free and just dirt. Same for the traverse over to the Hourglass, snow is a non-issue. There are still several large snowfields at the base of the Hourglass. We were able to avoid them all by staying to climbers left into the base of the Hourglass. There is a fair amount of water still flowing down the Hourglass so expect some wet cold hands if you climb the gut. As of 7/1 several ropes existed in the Hourglass, one had a fairly large core shot about halfway down (green if I recall) and the orange rope had a smaller shot about 2/3 of the way down. Don't use the ropes on the ascent without being able to inspect them, as damage already exists and more could easily happen any day. The upper slope above the Hourglass was snowfree so take extreme care with rockfall. We did not do the traverse due to constant storms and tons of rain, but it looked snowfree and in good shape otherwise.