Peak:  Little Bear Peak (14er)
 Route:  West Ridge and Southwest Face
 Range:  Sangre de Cristo
 Posted By:  seth0687
 Date of Info:  04/15/2013
 Date Posted:  04/16/2013

Granted this is just my .02, but the conditions right now are perfect! The snow is a little soft in areas from the road up to the summit, but nothing to worry about aside from the occasional post hole. Thanks to a great driver and a standard clearance F-150 pickup we made it to within 3-4ish miles from where we camped. We chose to camp on the far side of the lake at the base of the north gully. From the road to the campsite there were some minor post holing issues and we all had snow shoes but no one ever needed one. I repeat....NO SNOW SHOES WERE NECESSARY AS OF THE 15TH. However, if you pack like a boy scout then toss them in just in case.

North gully was full of great powder with some sugar underneath. The conditions were soft at times and we sunk in a little bit but overall the snow was firm and accepted great half boot sized steps all the way up. The traverse from the north gully to the hourglass was easy and straight forward with great snow, NO ice.

The hourglass was in great condition. I truthfully didn‘t even realize that I was in the steep section until I looked over and saw a little bit of the "fixed" rope sticking out from underneath the snow. In order to stay on good snow you do have to zig zag a little bit, as the snow is getting sparse over a select few rock bands. Still, it is completely possible to stay on good snow for about 99% of the hourglass to the summit. There is a smallish portion of Alpine ice 1 or 2 under some snow so I would recommend crampons because you will want to front point through this section. Again, nothing would warrant two tools or anything, but I suppose that‘s all personal opinion.

I would advise an early start so that you are on the hourglass up and down by early morning light so the snow doesn‘t heat up too much.

Any further questions hit me up. I don‘t have the best beta pictures, but one of my partners should be adding a trip/conditions report with better beta photos soon.

pic 1 is road just a short distance from the lake
pic 2 is the bear standing on the lake
pic 3 is looking up from half way up the north gully
pic 4 is looking up the steep portion of the hourglass



Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions

Great pictures!
04/17/2013 03:56
I can't wait to do the climb!!!!

Thanks for sharing!



04/17/2013 12:39
How much snow was on the traverse along the ridge, before reaching the Hourglass? Might be up there soon.


04/17/2013 17:14
Just curious, how much of the road would you say could be skinned up/ skied down? I've heard horrible, horrible things about that road, and if I could do that instead of hiking over baby heads, I'd prefer it. Thanks!


Here ya go
04/18/2013 01:45
Bill, my partner (another 14er's member), has those pics and she will post them pretty soon. There was a good portion of snow on the traverse to the hourglass, but not enough to cover all the boulders etc....

Greg, I would say not much of the road can be skinned as a lot of snow melted out just in the short time we were there. You would probably be able to skin the last mile to the lake etc...

Hope this helps. Give me a shout if you need anything else. Good luck!


Link to facebook album of trip with Seth
04/18/2013 14:49
I put together a facebook album on this trip. It is geared toward my family and friends as opposed to beta for climbing, but it has enough photos that it should give you a good idea of the conditions. I have plenty of additional photos of specific sections. If anyone wants them, let me know. I set the privacy to 'public' for this album. Let me know if you can view it or not...



No skinning
04/18/2013 16:15
I second what Seth said about skinning. The difference in the snow on the lower road from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon was unbelievable! Sunday felt like a winter hike and Monday felt like full-on spring trail conditions with half of the width of the road having snow on it and the other half being a mini-stream. If it got below freezing where we camped just shy of 12K, it was not by much, so snow melt down lower was in full swing!


hourglass rappel
04/20/2013 19:44
Did you guys rappel the hourglass on the way down or did you feel comfortable downclimbing it? If you did rappel, what was your anchor setup?


04/22/2013 05:58
We did not rappel the hourglass, we just down climbed it. The hourglass was cake to down climb....the upper portion above the hourglass had a couple rock bands you had to be careful of.


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