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Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby Tornadoman » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:22 pm

As a lot of us know, the standard route for Little Bear starts on the west ridge and then deviates below the ridge crest and of course up through the Hourglass. Has anyone stayed on the west ridge and climbed that ridge directly all the way to the summit avoiding the Hourglass in this method? In pictures it looks like a gnarly ridge, but I don't see any immediate reason why it wouldn't be at least possible.

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby TomPierce » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:27 pm

I'm not 100% certain, but I thought I saw a post here or on another climbing site that Ken Nolan had downclimbed the west ridge. I could be wrong on that, a vague recollection. I think Johnson on this site had wanted to try it, not sure if he ever got around to it. I'm sure it's been done, it's too obvious a route on a peak with relatively high traffic.

Funny, I was looking at a photo of that ridge last night from a recent TR here and thought the same thing, possibly a sportier but safer route? If you or others would like to try it, I'm very interested, I just like exploring new or lightly traveled routes.

-Tom

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby Kiefer » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:48 pm

I've heard pretty much the same thing from Ken. That it goes exposed 4th class. Don't know about protection though.
It might make for a good ascent route and repel the Hourglass.
It IS high on my list later this spring to tackle though.
"Wisdom comes from making mistakes.
Experience, is the knowledge of knowing what to do when one makes a mistake and wisdom,
stems from the changes we go through while learning from those mistakes."

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby planet54 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:14 pm

I did most of it way back in 1982.I was with a friend who could climb like a monkey so I kinda followed him .We got high enough to avoid the Hourglass on the way up but cliffed out and traversed over to the route above the Hourglass.Class 4 for sure but we didn't always look for the easiest way.I do remember doing a pullup over a drop that was certain death,no protection.The rock was good for holds for the most part.We came down the Hourglass.
"The world is a great book,of which they that never stir from home read only a page." St. Augustine
"Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an innertube;there are some things one would rather have done than do." Edward Abbey

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby Johnson » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Tom... Kiefer...still dreaming of it. How bout June?

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby TomPierce » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:22 pm

I'm very interested, seriously. But I wouldn't want to go much beyond early-mid June, I think working that ridge could take some time, esp if on the descent there was an interest in setting the route, i.e. cleaning it a bit, building a few cairns; too much risk of lightning if we drift into July/Aug>. But if you'd like to go in June, absent the unforeseen, I'm definitely in. Let me know.
-Tom

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby planet54 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:39 pm

TomPierce wrote:I think working that ridge could take some time


One of the reasons we took that route was because there was a big CMC group ahead of us. We didn't want to get caught up in a big mess at the Hourglass. We summited well before any of the CMC climbers. Of course ,what is not known to me is what is beyond where we veered off. I think that route will go. :)
"The world is a great book,of which they that never stir from home read only a page." St. Augustine
"Climbing K2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an innertube;there are some things one would rather have done than do." Edward Abbey

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby Tornadoman » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:55 am

TomPierce wrote:I'm not 100% certain, but I thought I saw a post here or on another climbing site that Ken Nolan had downclimbed the west ridge. I could be wrong on that, a vague recollection. I think Johnson on this site had wanted to try it, not sure if he ever got around to it. I'm sure it's been done, it's too obvious a route on a peak with relatively high traffic.

Funny, I was looking at a photo of that ridge last night from a recent TR here and thought the same thing, possibly a sportier but safer route? If you or others would like to try it, I'm very interested, I just like exploring new or lightly traveled routes.

-Tom


I would love to try that route but don't think I am ready for something so ambitious. I have yet to try a class 4 route (have a couple planned for this Summer), so a low beta 4th class would probably be over my limit. Also, I doubt my Kansas lungs could keep up with your pace! I decided a long time ago that I am not going to do the hourglass. Obviously the SW ridge would be an option, but I am interested in any intelligence on the west ridge!

planet54 wrote:I did most of it way back in 1982.I was with a friend who could climb like a monkey so I kinda followed him .We got high enough to avoid the Hourglass on the way up but cliffed out and traversed over to the route above the Hourglass.Class 4 for sure but we didn't always look for the easiest way.I do remember doing a pullup over a drop that was certain death,no protection.The rock was good for holds for the most part.We came down the Hourglass.


Awesome! That sounds like an interesting route!

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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby Kiefer » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:27 pm

Barry, Tom,
Let's say we tentively schedule this for sometime in mid-May?
"Wisdom comes from making mistakes.
Experience, is the knowledge of knowing what to do when one makes a mistake and wisdom,
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Re: Little Bear via West Ridge Direct?

Postby TomPierce » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:25 pm

Kiefer: Barry and I have swapped a few texts, he's thinking early June before the monsoon. So mid-May > June is fine with me. I'd like to make this a 2013 goal, the routefinding is very appealing to me.
-Tom

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