Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted: 
Date Climbed:   08/07/2005
Author:  doumall

 Little Bear Peak, West Ridge  

After climbing Ellingwood's SW ridge on Saturday, Gabe and I woke at 3:30 am Sunday morning to climb Little Bear. Our camp at 10,700' would give us 3000'. We were on the trail by 4:30 am. Gabe is a little slow, well really slow, but consistent. We reached the turnoff from the road to ascend the scree gully at 6:00 am. No other climbers were in sight, which was a good sign.

The scree gully took us around 40 mins. Once on the ridge we followed cairns on the ridge's south side to a small notch. Now we could see the first group of the day making their way down the upper slopes of Little Bear. We continued over to below the hourglass, climbing up onto rocks on the east side of the chute to avoid rock fall.

By now the group had just begun repelling the crux, so we waited. After quite a while (30 mins), four more people showed up and waited the repellers out. They waited right in the middle of the lower chute! Crazy! After the repellers moved through the steepest section, six of us climbed together through the crux. This is the most difficult climbing I have yet experienced on a 14er. To avoid water and wet rock, we climbed left a ways from center, entering some class 5 terrain. I didn't expect that but is was awesome. The climbing above the crux is class 4 for a bit then class 3 to the summit.

I was super excited to summit, yelling and full of accomplishment. #50 for me. A few guys summited while we were up there, telling us about how rock fall had hit their friend in the hourglass. A few small ones hit me on the way up. They seem to continuously fall down the chute this time of the year. It's sketchy! We held onto a fixed rope on the down climb as a mental blanket, which has several core shots. We also use the West ridge proper on the way back, which was a fun ridge walk.


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