Little Bear Peak Climber's Log

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TM - Apr 10, 2006 5:43 am

up NW face down Hourglass  Sucess!

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!!

Mountain Jim

Mountain Jim - Mar 14, 2006 7:27 pm Date Climbed: Jun 23, 1969

From Blanca via the South ridge  Sucess!

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.


1mvertical - Nov 23, 2005 5:06 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge Route Date Climbed: August 4, 2004  Sucess!

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.


jwproulx - Sep 6, 2005 7:14 pm

Route Climbed: Up W. Ridge/Hourglass, then to Blanca Date Climbed: 3 September 2005  Sucess!

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.


bc44caesar - Aug 29, 2005 10:58 am

Route Climbed: Northwest Face Date Climbed: 28 Aug 2005  Sucess!

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.


doumall - Aug 8, 2005 1:39 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge/Hourglass Date Climbed: August 7th, 2005  Sucess!

Fear factor trump card for Colorado's 14ers. Water running down hourglass required class 5 moves to avoid. Tons of fun. 50th 14er!

mconnell - Jul 23, 2005 9:09 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: May 2004  Sucess!

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.

umbra alta

umbra alta - Jun 22, 2005 2:31 pm

Route Climbed: Hourglass/Bowling Alley Date Climbed: August 2003

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.


hhsilleck - Jun 2, 2005 1:20 am

Route Climbed: West Ridge / Hourglass Date Climbed: May 28, 2005  Sucess!

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.


Mish - Sep 15, 2004 4:09 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: July 25, 2004  Sucess!

Maybe the most harzardous of any of the 14ers, especially with verglas in the Hourglass. Although dangerous, it was a very fun climb overall.


kovarpa - Sep 8, 2004 1:05 am

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: September 3, 2004  Sucess!

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...


jwclimbs - Aug 23, 2004 11:09 am

Route Climbed: Northwest Face Date Climbed: August 21, 2004  Sucess!

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.


xskier77 - Jun 7, 2004 2:47 am

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: June 5th, 2004  Sucess!

Little Bear proved to be a very challenging climb. We drove up the road and camped at about 10,400. Saturday got up and started hiking up to Como Lake at 7:30am. We continued on from Como and went up the West Ridge route. Thankfully there was plenty of snow on the way up which made the hourglass chute very easy to climb and the class 3 climbing to the summit was very fun. We hit the summit at about 2:15pm and thankfully the weather was very nice. My friend Gary thought it would be a fun trip to bring gear to camp so we caried 30 lb packs all the way up Little Bear with the thought of camping on the summit of Blanca.


DaveC - May 21, 2004 9:05 pm

Route Climbed: hourglass Date Climbed: july 01  Sucess!

now this is fear factor. great climb, other than the football sized missiles-from-nowhere that keep screaming all the way down the chutes.


sbkelley - May 12, 2004 6:36 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: August 2003  Sucess!

Wow, this mountain wastes no time rearing up. The route is short, but easy is not a good adjective to describe it. The Hourglass had a good stream of water running down it, which made things a little interesting, especially on the way down, but there was a fixed rope to help with that. It was great climbing though! The backpack up the Lake Como road was not exactly gentle, either, but very scenic.

Larry V

Larry V - Apr 7, 2004 9:03 pm

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: July 1998  Sucess!

This was my second time to climb Little Bear, the first being the northwest face route, years earlier. After camping above Como Lake, we climbed Blanca and Ellingwood in the morning, and finished with Little Bear in the afternoon. After a clear start at noon, threatening weather arrived in the late afternoon. The gully had running water, so we stayed on the dry rock 50-100' to the left - a recommended route!


summiteer16 - Dec 1, 2003 9:00 am

Route Climbed: lake como west ridge Date Climbed: May 2002  Sucess!

A good climb. Trough is known for loose rocks, and believe me they are loose. some water on the mountain makes it slippery in a few places. great view from top.


tetonmaniac - Aug 1, 2003 11:11 am

Route Climbed: a face on the north west Date Climbed: august. 1976

Im suprised to see little bear a popular climb.back in the summer of 76 i was living in Monte Vista. A budy of mine from Oregon had been doing a bunch of climbing around the Vista area.We hooked up with a group of climbers headed to Blanca.after spending a night at lake como we all headed up but the draw of little bear got our attention. Im not sure what route it was or is. there was snow field and a few ledges then steep huge loose boulders. rock fall cut out rope so we were down to 50 foot . 5 pitons and slings for swamies. we hit the ridge at about 400 feet below the summit. i remember it being a knife edge sharp and followed it to the summit. We returned the same way except for we rapped off the other side where we came up to a ledge... i think on the south east side of the mountain. We then found a huge crack in the mountain that lead to the como side of the mountain.down a snow field and back to camp.. its been a long time ago and im not sure of the directions but if anyone knows i would like to know.... My budy never climbed scared the crap out of us both but for me it fueled me for a life time of climbing.


climberkjp - Oct 22, 2002 10:35 am

Route Climbed: West Ridge Date Climbed: June 15, 2002  Sucess!

It was a beautiful morning. Solid climbing and an early start allowed my partner and I to be on the summit by 9:30, and continue on to Blanca and Ellingwood. Great mountain!!!


rmjwinters - Oct 5, 2002 9:03 pm

Route Climbed: Lake Como West ridge route Date Climbed: July 4 1999  Sucess!

My first CO 14er and on my way to Blanca and Ellingwood.

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