Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted:  08/06/2007
Date Climbed:   08/03/2007
Author:  areedhay
 Little Bear-Hourglass  

My buddy and I set out on 8/2 to climb the Blanca group, being that they are some of the few mountains remaining that we have in common. The road to Lake Como is nasty! We were able to make it about 3.5 miles before I parked my Pathfinder at a switchback. You could probably make it to Jaws 1 if you wanted to (we really didn't know that until we started hiking). Anyways, we made it to the Lake
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just in time to catch a small storm coming over Little Bear. We set up camp
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on the far side of the Lake and scouted the first gulley up to the West Ridge. The view from the top of the ridge was great and we were excited to climb Little Bear the following Friday morning.


We woke the next morning and were on the trail at 5am. Let me say that Little Bear gains elevation so fast (one thing to be thankful for), but can also tire you out in the process. We skirted from the initial gulley to the hourglass in fairly quick time. The clouds had been rolling in all morning, but they looked like the typical early-morning fog
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I will say that it was impressive to see clouds rise from the Little Bear Lake and whip right into the hourglass. Upon reaching the base of the "bowling alley" we could quickly see that the water was running fairly steady in the center of it. Not only this, but the whole hourglass was seeping water (usually I have heard that the left side is dry?). None the less, we started ascending just left of center, encountering awkward moves, and making it to the anchors relieved. We initially stayed left in the broken sections above the anchors, and then skirted right to gain the main "trail" to the summit (directly below proper). Once on top at 7:15 am, the clouds remained close. We could just make out the ridge to Blanca
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which appeared a bit intimidating as puffs of clouds were sucked over its crest. With the sun low in the east and clouds directly in front of us we were able to see a Brocken Spectre
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- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_Spectre




This was one of my favorite summits because the views were so unique
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I was quickly ripped to reality though when I thought of the upcoming decent. We decided to try and stick close together as to avoid kicking rocks on each other. Before reaching the anchors again, we yelled to see if anyone was coming up...silence. I will admit that I kicked my fair share of rocks down the hourglass on the decent. Those rocks went at deadly speed down that gulley, I'm thankful nobody was there to feel their impact. Descending the wet crux of the hourglass was interesting. My friend and I decided to grab a hold of all three ropes in one hand (the red one looked the least frayed) and "three point" down the slippery sections
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I wouldn't have ordinarily wanted to do this, but to down climb the right (descending) rock would have been a bit dangerous, and anyways we were putting no more than 50 pounds on the ropes at a time. It was pretty easy to come down this, though we got a bit wet. Once out of the hourglass we breathed free. We cruised back on the ridge to the first gulley and down to camp by 9:45 am. Little Bear is one of my favorite summits and also one of the 14ers I most respect for the obvious reasons. What a great mountain!
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Blanca and Ellingwood (or Hellingwood as a French Canadian called it) would come the next day.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
areedhay

Jakomait-
08/07/2007 20:18
Thanks man, how did things turn out for you? Did you stick around or head to Kit Carson?


mtnmissy

wow
08/08/2007 02:16
Stunning photographs your writeup is incredibly vivid, thanks for sharing!


areedhay

Thanks!
11/30/2010 17:28
...but it's pretty hard to take a bad picture in that area...just point and click.


canyongoddess

Broken Spectre
11/30/2010 17:28
Very cool shot of that phenomenon! Hadn't heard of that before. Congrats on your summit!


Jakomait
Mmmm Bagles
11/30/2010 17:28
Nice writeup and great black and white photos!

FYI- I'm the guy that was up there with the mountian bike.


krz2fer

Looks
02/05/2011 00:22
like we have a photographer on our hands. Killer shots!



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