Two 14ers in 2-days!! (Little Bear+San Luis) No snow, no wx, & no smoke. This was a sweet September 10-hour solo climb car-to-car a mile up from US150. Rock fall and exposure was at an acceptable level of class-4 risk. (We all have a tendency to exaggerate). Just bring a helmet, gloves, step lightly, and hug into the rock! Actually, the lower loose talus in the gully was more of a concern than a pro-climber going up thru hourglass. Less regs: President Trump 2020!!
Kessler and I hiked the 4wd road to Lake Como. It was a rather hot and tedious hike. We found a nice campsite at 11,960 feet and set up camp there.
In the morning we climbed Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point. The views were a bit smoky. Blanca Peak was OK, but Ellingwood Point was just a choss pile. The ridge between the two was fun though.
Since we got back to camp fairly early we explored a bit around the basin.
In the morning, we climbed Little Bear Peak. The first talus slope was tedious and not fun at all. Then it was an OK traverse over to the Hourglass. The Hourglass would be the best part of the climb, but it is plagued by rockfall. In the Hourglass we met three people. Two were headed down and one was headed up. The person headed up wanted to join us since he was solo. We then joined up and climbed the rest of the way to Little Bear Peak. We were off the standard route a little and ended up climbing a short 5th class wall.
We met two girls at the summit. They were doing the traverse. After resting at the summit, the thee of us headed down. We were glad that there weren't more people on the mountain because of the rockfall danger.
The final gully descent was just as miserable as the ascent. If I ever did it again, I'd do it as a snowclimb.
After packing up, Kessler and I walked back down the 4wd road and headed for home.
This had been my most feared 14er. I kept putting it off. But I was pleasantly surprised after doing it. We were blessed with perfect weather and the mountain all to ourselves with the exception of one other climber, John, who was an asset and a Godsend to our climb.
#1 09-03-2020 W/ Lana. Perfect weather, mostly dry hourglass, new friend John Sharp. Only the 3 of us in the Hourglass, no rockfall the entire time in the Hourglass. Felt fortunate for everything going smoothly. Finding cairns in the boulder field in the dark below the scree-chocked notch was difficult. The route from the notch to the Hourglass is well cairned. The rubble and loose rock above the Hourglass is not over-hyped in the least. Views from the summit are striking.
Unbelievably perfect day on the southwest ridge, a solo winter scrambling journey; bushwhacking approach from Como Road
Very much a long day, but very rewarding. Trail was pretty dry up to the lake. Only a few inches of snow on the trail in some spots. Huge shout out to whoever post-holed steps into the gully to the ridge. The remnants of some slides are visible and close to the route. The hour glass is...well...crazy. Come prepared with crampons with spikes in the front. Highly recommend an axe of some sort. The entire thing is covered with a thin layer of ice. The rope feels solid and I used it a lot.
That traverse is no joke! Fun route finding and only a little scary solo. The "4th class" couloir while it was dark was probably more sketchy going down in my opinion. Once I made it back to the main trail I looked at my map and thought there was no way I'm gonna go back over Ellingwood Point to my car at the Zapata Falls TH. I presumed to do the 17 mile walk of shame all the way back to they highway. Up the highway and up the dirt road to the TH. OMG.
Sent the West Ridge and SE face of 14,037 ft. Little Bear Peak, my 44th 14er! I’ve been dreading about having to climb this technical route for years based on so many stories of close calls, and with the knowledge that a handful of experienced climbers have perished on this peak.
The approach hike to Lake Como was a miserable slog as usual, but the views at sunset were spectacular. The perfect end to a great Thanksgiving Day. I set up camp in a small hut with a wood burning stove. It was definitely a luxury having that hut available. There was not another soul in the basin until about 7pm when another solo climber dropped by the hut. We decided to climb the peak together on Friday. We settled in for a cold night at 12K. Morning arrived too soon and we started for our first obstacle at 7am, a 600 ft. snowy gully leading up to the west ridge. We made it to the top in less than an hour and traversed across talus and ledges until we arrived at the crux, a class 3/4 gully known as the “Hourglass”. The 700+ ft gully is a bowling alley for microwave and basketball sized rocks nesting precariously above, just waiting to be triggered and funneled towards climbers down low. This was absolutely a dangerous place and as soon as you start climbing, there is little to no room for error. Climbers left was dry while the right side had ice and snow. We opted to climb the former, which ended up in slight 5th class terrain and surprisingly made great time, reaching the summit around 1030 am. We took some celebratory photos and breathed a breath of fresh air. The responsibility of not sending rocks down the hourglass is high on the way down, but we were fortunate to be the only 2 climbers all day. We made use of two fixed ropes on the way down, not relying on them fully but enough to use as a backup in a bad fall. We made it back to camp at 2 pm, relaxed the rest of the day at the hut and descended back to our cars on Saturday. This climb was an epic I won’t soon forget.
In Seprtember 1997 we were trained up, camped above Como Lake ready to climb Little Bear and traverse until swirling storm clouds unleashed. This was steepbut seemed safer with solid snow, touch of ice. Better crampons made it better than my brother who sketched a bit using Katoola crampons.
It was no joke. But I did not have any problems.
Fun hike and challenging
Fun solo climb. My first time back packing in and camping before a climb. I haven't been in good shape this year and was slow so I'll do the great traverse next time. When I got to the rappel station I went scrambled to far over west and went up and did at least one class 5 move on my traverse back east to the summit
I now think of this mountain as Little Beast. What a peak! We went up the West Ridge. This route is technically not challenging (low-5th at most) but the scrambling / climbing is sustained and the exposure dramatic in many, many places. There is poor gear placement for the leader, though good alpine/terrain belay placements for the second (THANK YOU Little Bear!) Enjoyed insanely beautiful weather on this early September day. Rap / downclimbed the Hour Glass - what a piece of shit route that is. Water-polished, smooth rock and loose rock missiles - just vile.
I'm glad you survived Little B***! Best way to climb this mountain is in the spring with snow in couloir.
First 14ers on the year. Little Bear via the Hourglass, the Traverse, then over to Ellingwood and down the ridge- all around the cirque! The Traverse is not nearly as bad as it's made out to be.
Challenging climb in somewhat good conditions, hourglass was in good shape. Good climb.
Perfect weather - started at 6 am from camp above Lake Como. LB by 8 am, Blanca at 10:30 am, and Ellingwood at noon. A stellar day!
Views are great but it seems to never end. With Jeremiah Meizis.
Climbed the standard West Ridge route and up the "Hourglass". This was #53 of Colorado #58 14ers. Weather was good and there were only 3 others on the route. I did have one "missile" rock come down near me, but thankfully it avoided me. An orange static canyoneering rope was fixed in place and was in excellent shape. I used a harness and climbing shoes and helmet. Overkill I realize, but it did make me feel a little safer. Fun climb, but it would be very dangerous with a lot of people on route or in poor weather.