What Brad said. Daytrip from the road.
Kalet and I had this peak all to ourselves on a very rainy day. Started the traverse to Blanca, but couldn't see anything b/c of thick fog, and everything was dangerously wet from the incessant rain. Turned back, climbed back over LB and descended via the soaking wet hourglass.
4 wheeled for a while up the road, hiked in and did ellingwood and blanca. Great weather, set up a bivy and climbed little bear the next day via nw face. Fantastic 4th class climbing. Descended the hourglass, scary rockfall. All in all, best 14er to date.
Good fun, the hourglass is everything it is hyped up to be. Start early. We had perfect weather and the summit all to ourselves.
Fun outing, I second the Gator Farm and for Pete's sake, don't bring you dog on this climb.
Good Times! Be sure to stop by the Gator Farm and the UFO Observation Tower on the way out of the valley!
The keyword for this mountain is route-finding! Had perfect weather though, mountain to myself. Ice in the hourglass in the AM and a veritable stream in the PM. BE CAREFUL! It is MUCH looser above the hourglass than what you might have read. If you take your time, this is actually an enjoyable climb.
Easily the most difficult route on any mountain I have done, but I am not much of a rock climber. Very airy ridge indeed. I was testing the hand and footholds! We hoped to have a nice snow climb in the hourglass but the lack of snow made us go with the n.w. face.
Seeing climbers heading up Hourglass we picked the NW face. Fun climbing, though pretty spicy for those not comfortable with big exposure and loose rock with some actual climbing moves. For those OK with the above, a fun time (though it wouldn't be fun to get stuck there in bad weather, to put it lightly). Very cool mountain and area, as we were hiking out 2 hour lightning/hail downpour was pretty epic. Almost as epic as the drive up!!
We climbed Blanca first from Como Lake, then descended south into Blanca Basin and climbed up the South Ridge of Little Bear in a snow storm. Descended the Hourglass Couloir and worked our way back to Como Lake.
We were the only group on the mountain this day. The scramble up to the West Ridge was not too bad, except for the fact that we were a bit confused by what the obvious notch was. Once that was sorted out, it was pretty straighforward.
I would argue that the hourglass is in fact the best climbing on the route. Easy 4th class, just dangerous in terms of rock fall potential. The section above the hourglass seems much worse, especially if you get off route.
This would be awesome with late May/June snow.
I climbed this solo. The gully up to the the ridge was one of the worst scree slopes I've ever been on. The climbing in the hourglass was somewhat interesting but slippery, scary, and loose. Above the the hourglass it was even worse. The route-finding was very complicated, especially since I was alone. It took me 4:30 from Como Lake to the summit.
This climb was far more difficult that Capitol Peak, Pyramid Peak, or N. Maroon, and, I think, less aesthetic in both the scenery and the climbing. The West "Ridge" route is a snow route, not a rock route. Climb it in May, not September.
If you choose to climb this route in the summer, BRING A HARNESS, a sling, and a 'biner (or ascenders) so that you can self-belay the section with with a fixed line.
Began from a camp below the face. I chose to climb the inital wall to the right of the two distinct black water marks. I think I chose a poor route initially because I found myself in some very exposed and difficult climbing. Once above this I continued more or less straight up towards the first prominant notch below Little Bear's summit. There was plenty of loose rock around, but it is avoidable. Test every hold! Roach's guide mentions that the most difficult and exposed climbing is right below the ridge, however I would say most of the climbing is pretty consistent. The route alternates between hiking up steep and loose boulder fields and 4th class slabs. The final climb along the ridge is airy and exciting.
I reached the summit after about 1hr 40min from my camp and decided to traverse over to South Little Bear. I stayed on the ridge for a short while and then decided to drop down on the west side and traverse across boulder fields until the final scramble to the summit. The views of Blanca and the Blanca traverse were great. On the way back I decided to stay directly on the ridge which involved a lot of 3rd/4th class scrambling. The ridge isn't very well traveled and quite loose. On one steep 4th class downclimb I nearly pulled out a big screen TV sized block on top of me!
Rather than going all the way back to the summit I intersected the West Ridge route above the hourglass. Three fellows from NE/KS were deciding to turn around so I went with them to avoid being in the hourglass with them above me. That was a good idea because they knocked rocks down with every step. Once we were below I raced back to camp, packed up my stuff and headed back to my car.
Fear factor trump card for Colorado's 14ers. Water running down hourglass required class 5 moves to avoid. Tons of fun. 50th 14er!
Moderate snow climb at this time of year, with no sign of any rockfall except one rock on the traverse below the hourglass. If you want to climb L.B. when it's relatively safe and easy, do it when there is good snow cover.
Climbed the Hourglass on the way to the Little Bear/Blaca/Ellingwood Point traverse. 4th classed the left side of the hourglass to avoid some water. We stayed on the ridge crest between Blanca and Ellingwood as well as descending Ellingwood's south ridge for zero relief from exposure all day. I would definitely recommend this variation to anyone as long as the weather and your stamina is holding. Took a rope but didn't need/couldn't use it.
Climbed up perfect snow with my fiancee Sonya (ColoradoSonya). A little ice in the crux in the hourglass - we carried a rope and a couple of pickets and lowered Sonya through the crux on the way down. No rockfall at all - if safety is your priority, consider a late spring ascent.
Maybe the most harzardous of any of the 14ers, especially with verglas in the Hourglass. Although dangerous, it was a very fun climb overall.
I pretty much climbed this peak by accident - I originally just wanted to hike up Blanca but then saw the approach through the gully up to the ridge - really, really fun route but got into some sketchy stuff on the descent when I stayed too high on the ridge. I stayed on the ridge proper a lot of time and the exposure was really something. I also climbed to the peak to the south - does it have a name or is it just part of the Little Bear? The traverse to Blanca looked fabulous, too bad I had too little time...
Excellent adventure! From a technical sense, this was probably the best 14ner I've had the pleasure of climbing. In my short list of mountains, the sustained exposure on this peak (and traverse to Blanca) is unparalleled by any other mountain.