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Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Post Date:  05/05/2008
Modified:  05/04/2010
Date Climbed:   05/04/2008
Posted By:  Carl

 Little Bear Peak snow climb & ski   

Saturday morning Marc and I set out to ski the Y on Pikes. Later Saturday morning we turned around when we got a call from BCdave that the road wasn't going to open to the summit. A few hours later, after a big breakfast and a viewing of Cliff Hanger, we decided to spend the weekend climbing something without a cafeteria on the summit.

Early that evening we neared the impressive Sangre de Cristo range.

Marc had driven the road to Lake Como once before, so he suggested I drive. It certainly lived up to the hype. At about 10,300 we got stopped by a snow drift and had to turn around. And by turn around, I mean head uphill, backwards, through the snow drifts we had previously blasted through, in the dark, until we could navigate a 12 point turn. We enjoyed relatively plush accommodations until approx. 4am.

Anticipation helped us make pretty good time hiking up the remaining 2 miles or so to Lake Como.

The route up to the north facing couloir.

Climbing the couloir with Ellingwood Point in the background. The snow was nice and neither of us felt it necessary to put on the points.

Marc topping out on the couloir.

A couple snowboarders were camped at Lake Como. They joined use on the ridge and we climbed and descended together. Tom standing, Eric putting on crampons, and the pace setter Io closest to the camera.

Marc out on the traverse, followed by Eric and Tom.

Me trying to keep up as the group heads towards the Hourglass.

Tom climbing the Hourglass.

After coming out of the Hourglass, not knowing there was nearly continuous snow to the summit above had we jogged right, we went left and climbed a few hundred vertical of rock.

Eric found his way back to the route we would ultimately ski, while Marc, Tom, and I pushed up a 60 degree slope (measured with my inclinometer) to the summit.

On the summit, pretending I wasn't exhausted.

Marc enjoying the views on a perfect blue bird day.

Blanca Peak

Conditions allowed for a steep and enjoyable ski descent from the summit. Eric dropping first. His 32nd snowboard 14er descent.

Then it was my turn.

Eric following Io through the rocks.

Our line from the summit is visible here. Our ascent route brought us up the other side of the snow ridge pictured high.

Marc riding towards the hour glass with Eric looking up from a point of saftey below.

Flirting with the rope in the Hourglass.

I was absolutely not looking forward to putting the skis back on my back. We choose to gain the elevation we knew we would have to loose and stay on ridge. Looking back at our line.

Still trying to keep up with the snowboarders.

The skis went back on and we enjoyed a quick descent down to the lake via the north face couloir.

Little Bear ridge with the second half of our ski descent visible on the right.

Nevously enjoying the drive home. The smile was posed. The head out the window was not. I think I have about 20 new pinstripes on the sides of my truck.

It took over an hour to navigate the 5 miles back to Hwy 150. An amazing day with perfect snow conditions on a challenging 14er topped off with a ski descent from the summit. If there's a better way to spend a Sunday, I don't know of it.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

that dog     2011-02-04 17:22:14
kicks ass, what a sweet outing and a great day. That peak is something else, hell of a scramble in the summer and a unique mountain with snow. Thanks for the TR.


Amazing...     2008-05-05 23:22:05
what a difference a week made for the snow conditions up there! Those ropes in the hourglass were almost completely buried last Sunday. Nice job catching a ski descent while it was still possible!


Dude,     2008-05-05 23:37:30
what a nice day out! Killer TR, thanks for sharing. Congrats on the summit + ski.

Kevin Baker

what a difference     2008-05-06 07:38:10
I will echo what Jim said in that there has been a lot of melting in a week since we were there! Kudos on what looked like a fine outing. Impressive dog! You better get the snow on LB while it lasts, folks.


Awesome     2008-05-06 07:58:59
climb and ski. Looks like you could not of asked for a better day weather wise. What are your opinions on doing Blanca/Ellingwood right now? Looks like the snow is really beginning to disappear.



Nice report     2008-08-27 18:37:26
Wow, hope that snow in the Hourglass holds for 2 more weekends! It is melting quite fast it seems. Great report!


Congrats!     2008-05-06 09:24:58
NICE! I can‘t belive I missed this trip. My fault for getting my priorities screwed up. NEVER choose yard work over spring skiing. lol


Pretending you weren‘t exhausted...     2010-11-30 10:28:44
I've felt that way on plenty of peaks! Skiing 60+ deg. is a little out of my comfort zone! Great report; what a peak for your first Sangre. And a huge congrats to all of you guys!


skiing the steeps     2008-05-06 19:33:14
Glad you guys enjoyed the TR, we sure had a good time making it happen.

Kirk - Sent you a PM. I‘ll post here if my friend made more worthwhile observations than I as to Blanca & Ellingwood.

Caroline - I misspoke on Sunday evening. Guess I was tired. We climbed the 60 degree slope but skied the route Jim pictured in his TR from last week. 50 degrees is still steep skiing in my book though!


Wow     2009-03-11 10:02:57
Just now looking at this TR, nice job Wesley. Amazing the difference a year can make, and you were 2 months later than our trip! Congrats, this is one of the top 10 in difficulty to ski.

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