From Mosquito Flat TH at the end of the road to Little Lakes Valley, head south towards Morgan Pass. Head for Dade Lake, either via the east side of Treasure Lakes (a use trail starts near Long Lake), or via the ridge northwest of Gem Lakes. Above Dade Lake, head towards Bear Creek Spire, turning right at the north side of the base. The ridge to the south is the NE Ridge
, up to the west is Cox Col. In early and mid season, this is a class 2 snow climb, crampons and axe advised. Late in the season it is generally snow-free (depending on winter snow pack), but very loose. Climb the east side of Cox Col to the crest.
The route starts from the west side of Cox Col.
This is the easiest route on Bear Creek Spire, and often used for descents off other routes. The route was used in the first ascent of Bear Creek Spire by Hermann F. Ulrichs on Aug 16, 1923.
The slope on the west side of Cox Col is gentle, many bivy sites are available, but little water (snow available even in late season, however). To the south rises the NW slopes of Bear Creek Spire. A small ridge splits the face in two, and either side can by climbed to reach the summit headwall, though the right side is probably more straightforward. The NW slope is composed of large boulders and talus - the least exciting part of the climb.
As you reach within 100 feet of the summit ridge, the difficulties increase. Up until now it is no more than class 2. The headwall requires some class 3-4 climbing for about 50 feet, followed by a class 4 chimney to the summit ridge. This photo shows the top part of the headwall with two possible chimneys. The one on the left with a large block in the middle is the easier of the two, but not obvious unless you traverse left to look for it.
Once on the summit ridge, it is an easy walk to the summit block. The summit block is not as hard as it looks. There is a good foot position from which you can grab a good hold over the top of the summit block. A friction step with your right foot on the sloping NW side will bring you to the top. The summit block has no flat surface, but a sloping SE face that will handily accomodate several climbers.
As class 4 goes, this route is one of the easiest. If you have never climbed class 4 before, this is a good starter, but you should bring a rope for belaying up the headwall and for the summit block. A few pieces of protection and some slings as well should you bring a rope. In early-mid season, crampons and axe are handy for climbing the east side of Cox Col.
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