|Peak:||Little Bear Peak (14er)|
|Route:||West Ridge and Southwest Face|
|Range:||Sangre de Cristo|
|Date of Information:||04/15/2013|
Granted this is just my .02, but the conditions right now are perfect! The snow is a little soft in areas from the road up to the summit, but nothing to worry about aside from the occasional post hole. Thanks to a great driver and a standard clearance F-150 pickup we made it to within 3-4ish miles from where we camped. We chose to camp on the far side of the lake at the base of the north gully. From the road to the campsite there were some minor post holing issues and we all had snow shoes but no one ever needed one. I repeat....NO SNOW SHOES WERE NECESSARY AS OF THE 15TH. However, if you pack like a boy scout then toss them in just in case.
North gully was full of great powder with some sugar underneath. The conditions were soft at times and we sunk in a little bit but overall the snow was firm and accepted great half boot sized steps all the way up. The traverse from the north gully to the hourglass was easy and straight forward with great snow, NO ice.
The hourglass was in great condition. I truthfully didn‘t even realize that I was in the steep section until I looked over and saw a little bit of the "fixed" rope sticking out from underneath the snow. In order to stay on good snow you do have to zig zag a little bit, as the snow is getting sparse over a select few rock bands. Still, it is completely possible to stay on good snow for about 99% of the hourglass to the summit. There is a smallish portion of Alpine ice 1 or 2 under some snow so I would recommend crampons because you will want to front point through this section. Again, nothing would warrant two tools or anything, but I suppose that‘s all personal opinion.
I would advise an early start so that you are on the hourglass up and down by early morning light so the snow doesn‘t heat up too much.
Any further questions hit me up. I don‘t have the best beta pictures, but one of my partners should be adding a trip/conditions report with better beta photos soon.
pic 1 is road just a short distance from the lake
pic 2 is the bear standing on the lake
pic 3 is looking up from half way up the north gully
pic 4 is looking up the steep portion of the hourglass
Photos (click for slideshow):