Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted:  07/31/2013
Modified:  08/02/2013
Date Climbed:   07/28/2013
Author:  djkest
Additional Members:   Chaos Penumbra
 Soggy Bear and the Unforgiving Road  

Little Bear Peak, West Ridge / SW Face from Lake Como road. 4700' of elevation gain, 10.5 miles RT (best estimate)

We parked at (37.558289, -105.556920), very close to 9500' elevation. Next time I think I'm just going to park at the "Bear Country" sign at 8800'.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
-Helen Keller


Ambition is a double edged sword at times. Ambition inspires achievement, but ambition can also lead to making mistakes, overreaching, or forcing things that shouldn't be. Sometimes the difference between the two is a fine line, a razors edge. And even afterwards, we don't often understand which side we were on.

The list of 58 14ers, peaks of all shapes and sizes. The only thing they really have in common is that they are in Colorado and they all reach a certain height. Last year, I decided that in 2013 I was going to "finish" or complete the list of 14ers. But this year things have happened and trips got cancelled. Summer is only so long, and life also happens somewhere in there as well. So when we found ourselves sitting in a small 2-man tent, raindrops drumming and splattering on the taut rainfly, the decision of what to do was a complicated one. Yes, it's true that the mountain will always be there. It's also true that my wife doesn't have unlimited patience for me sneaking away on the weekends for multi-day trips across the state.

Maybe sitting in a tent for some 14 hours effects your mindset. But we decided to go after Little Bear's summit, to see how far we could go, despite some weather conditions that would have made many pack up and go home- and indeed, some did.

So what were these conditions? Well, it had rained nearly nonstop for 8 hours. There were low clouds clinging to the tops of the mountains and ridges. The rocks had all been bathed in the cold Sangre rain. Last year, we climbed Kit Carson and Challenger point in similar conditions, so we figured it MIGHT work out for us.

Looking down from the first gully.

Looking up from the base of the hourglass gully.

What do you think. Would YOU have attempted Little Bear in these conditions? I think LB definately lived up to it's reputation as the hardest 14er. It was steep and exposed for the last 700 feet of climbing. The wet rock didn't help, but the lack of other climbers certainly did.

 Comments or Questions

yeah, go for it.
07/31/2013 18:51
If I thought I could get up on all positive holds I'd do it but you did rely on a rope and anchor of unknown history/origin on the descent due to the same weather. Nice trip report. Outings in the rain are under rated.

Who leaves those ropes anyway, are there some rogue guide services out there?


07/31/2013 22:57
2 weeks ago, we were face with a similar situation plus an unknown extent of car damage from Lake Como road, so we bailed on Little Bear after bagging Blanca and Ellingwood. We didn't regret it at all. Kudos to you for going for it!


Nice job
08/01/2013 02:51
LB will never let it's guard down. A long haul up Lake Como Road with a pack, loose rock, ice, snow, rain, slick rock, or crappy ropes. It is just a tough mountain. Congrats on the summit


You're getting close
08/01/2013 18:33
Congrats on a successful and safe climb - and I wish you good luck on your few remaining peaks.

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