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Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Blanca Peak  -  14,345 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,042 feet
Post Date:  06/08/2013
Date Climbed:   06/06/2013
Posted By:  zephyr_pelicante
Additional Members:   philip135792


 Caged the bear   


6/5/2013: Lake Como


Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
Total Time: 2.5 hours
Distance: 6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3900'

Pretty sweet road. Start in the desert and end right at treeline with great views of the valley most of the way.
I can see why this is one of the most difficult jeep roads but as a hiking trail it's a really enjoyable trek.
Notable is the river when you get to about 10,500' where you can fill up with water. Cool Cool.

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Sunset over Como



6/6/2013: Little Bear Peak 14,037'


Start Time: 6:00 AM
End Time: 11:30 PM
Total Time: 5.5 hours
Distance: 3.5 Miles
Elevation Gain: 2300'

This is one seriously cool peak. We had bluebird weather: no wind, no clouds, and no other climbers the entire day. It was just Philip and I so we were able to go parallel up and down the hourglass and the remaining portion of the climb without the danger of rockfall to or from other climbers (we verified this frequently).

This was the mountain I was dreading ever since I made the mental decision to climb all the 14ers. After reading through threads titled "Which 14er do you fear the most?" and seeing Little Bear pop up quite frequently and hearing horror stories about the fear and adrenaline that pulses through a climber's veins while shaking nervously on the hourglass, I was convinced Little Bear would be an utter nightmare.

It is certainly evident that this mountain could produce all of the scary feelings people describe. We are really thankful to have climbed LB the day we did because it was essentially the best possible conditions (mostly the fact that there were no climbers above or below us) The climbing was rock solid and incredibly fun. The mountain had everything I loved about climbing. It also resolved some cognitive dissonance I had regarding my favorite peak. On an hourly basis my thoughts would sway from Longs Peak to the Crestones back down to the San Juans, then up to the Maroon Bells, but now I will have this peak firmly solidified in my mind as the epitome of perfection:
*Awesome hike in
*Awesome peak
*Awesome campsite
*AWESOME COMPANY (Thanks Philip)

Oh, and did I mention I had a terrible head cold the entire time? Yeah, I did. This was a nasty one that normally would have put me grasping for my phone to call in sick, but after suffering from and (still) recovering from 4 years of engineering school, climbing Little Bear with a debilitating sinus infection and sore throat was not too hard.

Did I mention this peak has amazing climbing, stellar views and is an incredible mountain? Don't believe me? I'll just have to show ya:

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Philip and the Bear

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Loving every minute of it!

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Hourglass

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Looking West from LB summit

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Looking North from LB summit

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Looking East from LB summit

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Looking South from LB summit

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Philip on his perch



6/7/2013: Blanca Peak 14,345' and Ellingwood Point 14,042'


Start Time: 6:20 AM
End Time: 12:20 PM
Total Time: 6 hours
Distance: 6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3000'

This was a pretty cool hike too! Hiking farther up the basin is spectacular, and looking back on the bear was a pretty great way to start the day. From the ridge to Blanca sure is cool, there is a bit of exposure to the East and a great view along the way as well.

We highly recommend the traverse!! It is reminiscent of the "Sawtooth" on Evans, but far more spectacular and magical. The trail is actually incredibly well cairned and easy to follow, you'll get over to Ellingwood in no time if you take this route!

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Basin

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Philip and Crater Lake

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Looking West from Blanca Summit

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Looking North from Blanca Summit

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Looking South from Blanca Summit

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Philip on Ellingwood Summit

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Check out that ultra prom!


Last but not least it's worth mentioning that the trip was not concluded until we were back in Golden eating at Woody's, capitalizing highly on the all-you-can eat buffet!

A trip report is fully inadequate to describe how incredible this mountain range is! Like the route description says, save yourself some fear and go on a less crowded weekday.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
TomPierce

Nice report     06/09/2013 01:59
Thanks for posting, glad you overcame your concerns and had a good time on LB. And the pics were good and will be useful, we're going to be up there next week. Thanks!
-Tom


Gerrybear


LB start     06/09/2013 17:13
I too have had LB on my radar with similar thoughts, and I've done Blanca, LB and 36 others so appreciated reading your feedbaxck. (I've read Gerry Roach's comments) Is the start to LB easy to find, wish I had looked but I don't remember seeing its start off lake como. Can you describe where the start is relative to lake como, THANKS!


cszakhem

Hourglass     06/09/2013 17:44
Thanks for the report. I see a rope in one of your pictures in the hourglass. Did you fix that rope or was it already there? The route description says sometimes there's a rope and sometimes there isn't. Also, did you find yourself using it often?


larryrn

Blanca     06/09/2013 23:10
We plan on doing Blanca Tuesday and wonder if we would need crampons or ice axe on standard route?


zombiewolf


Ellingwood-Blanca     06/10/2013 13:04
I am going to hike in on Saturday (6/15) and this TR is most helpful. We plan on doing the traverse. I have the same question as others....Crampons? Ice axe?


zephyr_pelicante


Beta     06/10/2013 14:25
GerryBear:
The start is pretty easy to find. Just hike up the road after lake como until it goes out of the trees and you are hiking alongside a creek. Look for the gully from the pictures, then cross the creek and start climbing up the gully. Everything else is cairned or self-evident.

cszakhem:
I didn't fix the rope nor did I use it. If you need one you must fix it yourself because you never know how long one has been there before and it may be broken.

larryrn / zombiewolf:
We didn't use crampons or an ice axe or microspikes. I'm glad I didn't lug the extra weight although I would recommend microspikes. Waterproof boots for sure.


Monster5


Nice work     06/10/2013 19:52
Way to overcome the 14er fear fest. LB's a blast, provided nobody's above or below you.

The more popular a peak is, the harder it is to gauge its difficulty/danger and how your skills match up. I think Pyramid was my first realization that all those dreaded, terrible peaks might not be as bad as the internet communal mongering suggests.


Brian Thomas


the best climbers     06/11/2013 00:13
Are the ones who had the most fun. Looks like a great trip with good conditions for it. Nicely done!


I Man


What Monster5 said...     06/11/2013 04:19
Good job dude!



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