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Little Bear, April-May

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby screeman57 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:21 am

Last year it was completely snow-free by early June, but that will probably not be the case this year.
"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was." -Dag Hammarskjold

Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby KyleS » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:21 am

Mongoose and ETA Yeah, overnighter is our plan as well. I'll send PMs as we get closer to go-time.

BillMiddlebrook wrote:Is there anyone down in the San Luis Valley area who can post a photo of the Blanca group?
I would but it's been socked in for days.

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby guangxiren » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:42 pm

KyleS wrote:We're going to attempt this as well - not this weekend but possibly the 20th/21st if anyone else is interested... Otherwise, I'll post a conditions report afterward.

Also, looking from the San Luis Valley this morning, the Blanca Massif is getting hammered. Probably the same wet, heavy snow as we're getting on the San Juan side of the valley.



I am interested to try Little Bear this coming weekend (20th/21st), are you guys still going?

Thanks,

-Z

Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby KyleS » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:42 pm

guangxiren wrote:I am interested to try Little Bear this coming weekend (20th/21st), are you guys still going?

Yep, conditions allowing, that's still the plan. Pack in to Lake Como on Saturday, summit and pack out on Sunday. We might even see if there some easy ice climbing to be had at Zapata Falls on Saturday morning.
Sounds like Mongoose and ETA are carpooling down from the Front Range as well.

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby ETA » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:54 pm

I talked with MonGoose and we're canceling plans based on the weather pattern. Long shot I might travel down for some sight seeing, but I can't commit to the drive. If you head out be careful and travel safe.
3 or 4 miles, can't be much further than that.

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby seth0687 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:15 pm

guys.....GET ON THIS MOUNTAIN NOW!!!!!!

Just got back from a freakin awesome trip. Snow is a bit soft in a couple areas, but conditions were still amazing the whole way from just before Jaws 1 all the way to the summit. Snow is still covering just about the whole entire hourglass, save a few rock bands just below the summit. Conditions were awesome. I will try and post some pictures/conditions report either today or tomorrow.

Good luck and safe travels to all!!!

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby guangxiren » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:54 pm

seth0687 wrote:guys.....GET ON THIS MOUNTAIN NOW!!!!!!

Just got back from a freakin awesome trip. Snow is a bit soft in a couple areas, but conditions were still amazing the whole way from just before Jaws 1 all the way to the summit. Snow is still covering just about the whole entire hourglass, save a few rock bands just below the summit. Conditions were awesome. I will try and post some pictures/conditions report either today or tomorrow.

Good luck and safe travels to all!!!

Congratulations!

Did you use crampons? or microspikes?

BTW, I plan to climb it on Saturday and Sunday...

Thanks,

-Z

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby seth0687 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:08 pm

We used crampons and axe from the start of the north gully all the way to the summit and back. I would personally recommend crampons over spikes because on the upper part of the hourglass there is a pretty good portion of AI1-2 ish under the snow, so I was front pointing for a bit before we would re-enter regular old snow. Just my .02

Cheers,

Seth

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:11 pm

seth0687 wrote:guys.....GET ON THIS MOUNTAIN NOW!!!!!!

Just got back from a freakin awesome trip. Snow is a bit soft in a couple areas, but conditions were still amazing the whole way from just before Jaws 1 all the way to the summit. Snow is still covering just about the whole entire hourglass, save a few rock bands just below the summit. Conditions were awesome. I will try and post some pictures/conditions report either today or tomorrow.

Good luck and safe travels to all!!!

Thanks for the info! Would love to see photos as I'd like to get to LB soon...
Only SNOW will end the madness

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby seth0687 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:36 pm

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
seth0687 wrote:guys.....GET ON THIS MOUNTAIN NOW!!!!!!

Just got back from a freakin awesome trip. Snow is a bit soft in a couple areas, but conditions were still amazing the whole way from just before Jaws 1 all the way to the summit. Snow is still covering just about the whole entire hourglass, save a few rock bands just below the summit. Conditions were awesome. I will try and post some pictures/conditions report either today or tomorrow.

Good luck and safe travels to all!!!

Thanks for the info! Would love to see photos as I'd like to get to LB soon...


Here ya go:

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_entry.php?recnum=2142

My partners should have better pictures and information as they are not only better climbers than I am but they are better photographers too haha.

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Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby SHmids » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:47 am

I was one of Seth's climbing partners on LB this past Sunday / Monday. I agree that now or very soon is a good time to get up there. I am so glad we went and I thoroughly enjoyed all (except maybe the last mile'ish of the road hike out :? ) aspects of the climb! Personally, this climb, in these conditions, was my biggest challenge to date and it felt great to have accomplished it! :-D

I agree about snowshoes not being necessary, and ice axe and crampons being strongly suggested. But I would beg to differ a bit with Seth about the depth and softness of the snow. The couloirs ranged from easy, soft kick steps, to full on up-hill swimming in thigh deep snow. The difficulty was never knowing if your next step was going to hold or sink! It was not uncommon to take 3 steps forward and slide 2 steps back. It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make it up the north couloir, a little over 2 hours to traverse to the base of the hour glass, and another hour and a half or so to summit. Made me question my fitness level, which is far from superb, but I would generally consider descent! :oops: I think with the thaw and freeze cycles that will have taken place by this weekend, overall conditions will probably be better than last weekend.

I intended to post a trip report with tons of photos (that I took specifically for beta since I knew people had been asking about this route), but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to put pictures into a trip report ](*,) and I figure a trip report without pictures would not be worth a thousand words! At least I can figure out how to use the smilies!! :lol:

Instead of a trip report, here is a link to my facebook album I put together for the trip. It is geared toward my friends and family as opposed to info / conditions for climbers, but I will be happy to email additional photos of specific sections to anyone who would like to see them.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201082617732231.1073741827.1372164273&type=3

Hope this is helpful,

Mareshah

Re: Little Bear, April-May

Postby KyleS » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:31 pm

I slept in and my skiing buddies left without me, so I took a trip over to the Blanca massif today for a little recon. The Zapata Falls parking lot (9,000ft) had about and inch when I arrived at 1pm and it had melted to spotty 1/2 inch by the time I left around 3pm. I hiked up to about 10,000ft and there was generally 2 inches of new snow with spots up to 4 inches - far less than what NWS was predicting. Furthermore, temps were much warmer than the predicted high and things seemed to be settling quickly. With this in mind, we're going ahead with our planned attempt on Little Bear this weekend. Since we're local, we won't mind turning back if we don't like what we find above treeline.

guangxiren wrote:I plan to climb it on Saturday and Sunday...

If you (or anyone else for that matter) are climbing solo, we'd be happy to team up! I think that 3 is a much safer number than 2 or 1.

In light of the "disclosure" debate going on right now, I'll say this:
If you're planning on carrying a gun - I would encourage it given the recent bear sighting. However, please let us know where it is, in case of emergency. Also, we have chosen to leave our dog at home due to avy concerns and we'd ask you to do the same.

On a side note: There is still some gorgeous blue ice at Zapata Falls, if anyone was wondering. It's only about 20 or 30 feet of WI3, but it was perfect for a beginner like me to test out my new gear.

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