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Approach to Bear Creek Spire

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Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby SKI » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:51 am

With all the white fluffy (soon to be cement) stuff that we were graced with this past weekend, what do you think the approach to Bear Creek Spire will be like, come this weekend?

I don't wanna hike an extra seven miles in! :cry:

Thank you, in advance!
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby fossana » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:27 am

Snow level above Bishop is ~10K ft as of last night's storm. Doesn't look like it's going to warm (or snow) significantly in the interim. Give the ranger station a call to see if the road's open to Mosquito Flat.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby fossana » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:35 am

Make that 8K up at Mammoth.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby The Chief » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:46 am

You might want to makes plans to do them extra miles. We got another "slider' coming through tomorrow eve through Weds afternoon. I do know that the County guys only plowed up to Bobby Tanner's "Rock Creek Lodge" entrance which is a mile below the Resort and an additional 3 or so from Mosq Flats T/H.

Best thing I can tell ya is call the Lodge Thurs afternoon to find out the road conditions as they will give some onsight beta...

877-935-4170

Fossana, I have snow in my yard and I am at 7ishK.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby fossana » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:14 am

Thanks, Chief.

Glad I'm down here in the Valley.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby SKI » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:21 pm

Hey thanks a ton guys. Three extra flat miles isn't that bad. Any reccomendations as to the Gem Lakes vs Treasure Lakes approach variations?

Reckon that there's enough snow for skis?
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby rhyang » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:37 pm

I've done the Gem Lakes approach three times. In the summer there is kind of a use trail punctuated by lots of talus and boulders. The supertopo directions are pretty accurate. Once you get to Dade Lake you can expect a bunch more talus before any of the routes (glacial moraine).

I have to imagine that stuff is a nightmare if there is only a thin layer of snow -- early season in Lee Vining Canyon comes to mind.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby SKI » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:07 pm

Thanks, Rob.

Sounds like what we came across when climbing the Grand this last July. Luckily, every time ive been to LVC, there's been a good bootpack through consolidated snow. I understand that the approach is straightforward in the summer, but the conditions have changed since. This has become my primary concern. Maybe there is not enough snow for skis just yet...


*edit:spelling
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby rhyang » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:31 pm

Early December in LVC you can often count on punching through up to your waist in places in between boulders. The winter of 2006-2007 was a pretty low snow year -- here is what it looked like in early season -

Image

I was amazed at how little snow there was -- in places it was WI1 just on the approach :)

Image

The Bard Harrington was in though, amazingly enough. We climbed a pitch and then rapped off a v-thread -- it was getting late in the day (the approach had been unexpectedly long and we'd spent time on Chouinard doing some early-season tune-up).

Image

Next day though it snowed, and after suffering through the first part of the approach decided to avoid breaking our ankles and just head to Mammoth to look at ski gear :)

Sorry for the digression -- can you tell I'm looking forward to ice season this year ? :mrgreen:
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby The Chief » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:37 pm

Rock Skins maybe.

I wouldn't chance it with a nice pair of sticks and skins.

Again, I rec you contact the Lodge on Thursday to confirm the current conditions above their locale.
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby SKI » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:52 pm

Chief: Will do. My skis are still new after all, though a early season tour off Mt Gibbs put some scars underfoot last year.

Rob: I'm every bit as excited as you man, got some new, easy to place screws just chompin at the bit to be placed (the ones last year tried to kill me!).
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby SJ » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:16 pm

Hoping to climb the Bear Creek Spire via the North Arete this weekend.

How's the approach from Mosquito Flat (or however far up the road we get) in the early season? We won't be on skis and I keep reading about massive talus fields, postholing, twisted ankles, etc. I'm aware of the avy danger on the approach.

Probability of snow/ice on the route? Any special gear requirements?

Descend via Ulrichs Route - best way down?

Thanks!
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Re: Approach to Bear Creek Spire

Postby hamik » Tue Apr 12, 2011 8:31 pm

I did NE ridge this weekend. Brought gear for North Arete but there was enough new snow that it would have been too long and difficult for a weekend outing for my party. NE ridge was mostly mixed climbing and steep snow--we never took crampons off--and protection was mostly cams in cracks excavated from snow. The snow is consolidating amazingly quickly; I approached on skis and made a shallow trench the whole way, but on the ride back down the snow below 12000' had turned icy and conducive for walking with just boots, particularly on the skin track to BCS. Basically, you won't need snowshoes. There is an easy descent off the back of the peak; rappel from a sling with a rap ring on it about 40 ft below the summit along the upper NE ridge/N arete, then walk down talus field until a notch allows you to descend a broad, steep snow field back to the skin track. See "Eastside road conditions" thread for road info.
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