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 Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
 Post Date:  06/06/2009
 Date Climbed:   06/05/2009
 Posted By:  piper14er

 Little Bear, the Marlboro Man and whats wrong with bagpipes?   

Little Bear Peak - West Ridge and Southwest Face - Standard Route
14,037

Myself and Scott a.k.a. the "Marlboro Man"

9.5 miles from where we parked - 4,200 feet.
3.5 mile roundtrip from camping at Lake Como - 2,300 feet.
Perfect conditions albeit some slushy snow on the descent back to Lake Como.

Camped at Lake Como and we were the only camp there Thursday night. Left at about 5:30 a.m. and started for the gully. There was some snow from the far end of the lake through the trees to the creek crossing below the gully.

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The first look at the gully.

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Morning on Ellingwood and Blanca.

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Looking up the gully and Scott ahead.

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The morning snow was pretty good with kick steping up the gully and only occasionally breaking through.

The top of the gully and looking at the start of the ridge towards Little Bear.

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Scott on ridge.

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Scott on the ridge downclimbing the trail to below the ridge.

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It does take a little time to cross the ridge and get to the bottom of the hourglass. It took us 1 hour from camp to the top of the gully and another 1 hour to the hourglass.

Traversing some snow before the hourglass.

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Scott at the bottom of the hourglass. We donned crampons at this point although in retrospect it may have been easier to have put them on before that. I cut out a seat in the snow to put mine on.

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Looking up the hourglass. After reading a report from realhillboarding that was posted on May 20 I had thought maybe now was the time to go. That is what the report said and I have to say that was good advice. I don't know that I would really want to go when the rocks are free falling down the houglass or if was real icy. I was hoping that even though it was two weeks later the route would still be okay. As it turns out it would appear that it had snowed quite a bit up there since that report and the snow was great. Really no ice and just right to step your points into the steep slope going up. Definitely a steep climb and on snow.

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Looking down.

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We took off to the left but probably a little too far left.

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I located some cairns and headed back to the right. Scott continued up the rocks toward the summit. He got there first. That was a bit steep also.

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Ellingwood and Blanca with the traverse from Little Bear to Blanca. Wow and cudos to those who have done that. I had seen that traverse from Blanca but in the summer. The view today was great.

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Looking west and down at Lake Como.

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Then in a reprise of his now (maybe) imfamous roll (on Ellingwood, a peak close by) as the "Marlboro Man". Revealed to the world in the "Halfway to Heaven", book here is Scott.

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So what about bagpipes. Well I was with Scott on Ellingwood that day when (Halfway to Heaven) Mark was there, did not play my pipes there, it was on another 14er. So Scott gets two paragraphs and there was only the one word "bagpipes" in the book. Mark had talked to me about playing the "pipes" sometime after that hike and probably did not realize I had met him also. Maybe I would have got some press. I mean a pack of cigarettes only weighs about 3 ounces I guess compared to 10 pounds of bagpipes to carry. I bet I could smoke a cigarette but who could play the "pipes" at 14,000+ feet. Ah well maybe in a sequel.

Ahem, okay back to Little Bear. Looking at South Little Bear. That was quite a climb for DHatfield and company after looking at his report and then seeing that ridge they climbed in person.

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Now for the descent. Looking down from the summit.

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The snow really slushed up fast as the sun had hit the top and was working its way down towards the hourglass. There are some pretty good steps down there now. We traversed back across the snow below the hourglass and on the way back to the ridge. Some waist deep postholes there. Reached the top of the gully, started downclimbing and then quickly glissaded down or should I say slushadded. Back to camp at 1:00 and back to the truck at 2:45.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (11)
killingcokes


Hmmm     2011-02-04 17:22:15
Is there continuous snow off the summit through to the hourglass?

Congrats on a sweet climb.


piper14er


Snow     2009-06-06 17:21:33
Yes there was continuous snow.


susanjoypaul


Quite a climb     2009-06-06 17:32:59
It really was quite a climb (the southwest ridge) but this ”standard route” up LB is no cake-walk either. It looks like your timing was spot-on with the good weather and great snow conditions.

No press for the pipes? Maybe you should have climbed the hourglass in a kilt


susanjoypaul


Double     2010-11-30 10:28:46
post! That's what I get for double-clicking...


piper14er


Kilt     2009-06-07 18:13:53
There is an idea, although it would have made the glissade a bit uncomfortable.


susanjoypaul


Bit uncomfortable     2009-06-08 07:59:58
Yeah, I guess. Not to mention the guys climbing up behind you.


piper14er


Airy Summit     2009-06-08 09:52:58
Also gives new meaning to the term ”an airy summit”.


Oman


Smokin!     2009-06-08 14:20:07
Fun to see you guys again. Thanks for the great TR.


MarmotFamily

Advice for party heading into that cluster Sunday?     2010-11-30 10:28:46
We have a party heading into that cluster starting this Sunday June 14th for a few days. A couple of questions if you have a few minutes to reply:
Sounds like you started lower on the road. Do you believe it was possible to drive higher up the como road with the current conditions? if so, would there be parking at that higher point with the current conditions? We have a 4wd Honda Pilot.
We also want to pick up Blanca and Ellingwood while we are there. I have read some late May miserable reports about postholing. Do you believe we would need snowshoes for any of the 3 peaks at this point in the month?
Do you think the conditions warrant avi equipment?
Have read reports that refer to a "cabin" at the lake. Do you know where that is on the lake?
Guess I should have asked this question first, but do you believe this coming week will be too late? ie will it be just rocks covered in ice instead of a snow climb at that point.

Appreciate anything you can share.

Thanks


piper14er


Advice     2009-06-10 12:43:45
I drove to what would be the first small jaws rock. I probably could have manuvered over that one and gotten another maybe 1/2 mile. I have a Pathfinder. I just parked there at a nice switchback with a good area to park. 9800‘ more or less. There is parking higher up in several spots. There is no snow on the road at all.

There is still a lot of snow so snowshoes would be helpful on Blanca up to the ledges and maybe above. It is warm down there and so the snow softens up fast. Did not need them for Little Bear as there was only a short snow section.

I did not feel like I needed any avi gear on Little Bear. We were up early and back down early. I did not get over on Blanca or Ellingwood so I cannot say for sure there. Maybe someone else can help with that. It was melting fast.

The cabin is just to the right where the road hits the lake. There are camp spots there too. Did not need the cabin as I have read people use it in the winter.

There was continuous snow when we were there and only a few rocks showing. It was melting fast. I would guess it may still be okay and not much ice but propbably more rocks. Only a guess now. I was suprised at all the extra snow as I said in my report from the report two weeks earlier. Have to think that in the last week it probably has not snowed.

Hope this helps a little. Maybe someone else has been there since?


MarmotFamily

Advice     2009-06-11 16:52:46
Thanks for the reply/info

I was thinking you parked lower and came in 4200 gain fron the car to the lake. Makes sense to me now that I rethink it. We had planned on using the same parking than. Just scared me for a minute if we had a 9.5 mile approach to the lake.

Really do not want to carry my snowshoes in. We will have to think thru that one.

Appreciate you taking the time to do the trip report and taking my questions. Definitely helps us prepare for this next week.



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