Climers Paul Perea, Shogun
Yet another Little Bear report. I don't know about you but I could read Little Bear reports all day long. Little Bear Peak had been evading me for the past two months. In April I planned on climbing it every weekend and every weekend there was a big strom that hit the Sangres. In early May (3 weeks ago) I finally had a weather window. A late start and lack of snow consolidation from the recent storms cost me the summit about 300 yards from the Hourglass. After reading all the recent Little Bear Reports I decided to give it another go.
Michael and I arrived at the Como Road turnoff and he asked if this road is really as bad as they say my short reply was "yes". We drove up a little ways maybe 8900 ft before he decided he didn't want to torture his truck anymore. We parked, packed up, and got ready for the long trek to Lake Como about 5 miles and 2900 ft elevation gain. I kept telling myself If I summit this time I won't have to do the death march again "Real Motivation"!
Our Parking spot
There was a nice cool breeze going up the road a nice break from the 90 degree weather in Denver and Peublo. Once we reached the creek crossing it was going full force and looked for rock bridges or logs to cross it but found none. We took off the boots, rolled up the pants, and walked across the freezing water. According to another group there is an old bridge somewhere but we never found it.
Michael crossing the creek
Como Road was clear of snow all the way to the lake. Around the lake there is still lots of soft snow. Leave the snowshoes at home unless you plan on climbing Blanca Ellingwood. Como Lake was thawing out but still has some frozen areas.
Once at the lake there was maybe 6 tents set up. We didn't take tents just slept in the Bivy and admired the views of Little Bears north face under the full moon before getting a couple hours of not so deep sleep. At 2.am we quietly packed up with the goal of being the first ones up to the hourglass. We left the lake at 2:45 and were at the base of the first gulley at 3:00 a.m.
Ready To Go Climb The Bear.
The first gulley after coming down.
Looking down the 1st gulley on the way out
About halfway up the first gulley we saw headlamps below and knew we would have company suprisingly there was only 4 others on LB all morning. We traversed the ridge in the night as the moonlight lit up the skys. Our Headlamps were gravy. As we approached the hourglass the sun was coming up. The crampons went on and we started the steep part of the climb.
Getting ready to start the Hourglass AKA Bowling Alley
Looking at the shadow of Little Bear Peak
First look up the Hourglass
Michael coming up the first section of the Bowling Alley/Hourglass
I was happy at the lack of danger and the perfect conditions but was a little disappointed at the lack of difficulty. At one point I asked Michael are we on the hourglass yet and turns out we had almost topped out. I guess in the summer I could see where it could be dangerous from falling rock but on this day there would be none of that. Another reason to do it in late spring.
Did I mention it was a Full Moon?
Taken from the top of the Hourglass
Signs of minor rockfall
Final pitch to the summit
Looking down where we just came from
Last few feet before the small Little Bear Summit
We summited at 6:45 a.m and the views were awsome of the San Luis Valley,Sand Dunes, Spanish Peaks, Lindsey, and Blanca Ellingwood. The wind was blowing and it was cold so we took some summit shots, ate and rehydrated. We waited for the group of 4 to get close to the summit before we headed down in order to not kick anything down on them.
Buenas Dias Little Bear!
San Luis Valley in the background
We were back at the truck at 1:00 P.M ready to replace some of the 10,000 calories burned on this adventure. A double bacon chile cheeseburger with fries from Del's Diner in Ft Garland would be a good start. Let me be clear I said a good start I was home in time for dinner and grubbed down again. It was another great day in the mountains doing what I love to do enjoy God's creation. My advice if your thinking of climbing Little Bear this year get out and do it soon you have my guess 2 weeks max left to do it under these perfect conditions. Now what to climb next?
Adios Little Bear
Another look at that first gulley
Time for a double bacon cheeseburger at Del's Diner