Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted:  09/21/2007
Date Climbed:   09/16/2007
Author:  AxeTheIce

 Little Bear Peak - SW Ridge via Tobin Creek  

Hiked the SW ridge of Little Bear Peak last weekend. Started from a trailhead near the Alamosa / Costilla Country line boundary within the Rio Grand National forest. The boundary of the Arrowhead ranch is marked with private property signs and a fence and is quite obvious.

The ascent is long, arduous, and involves hours hiking on talus above 13,000‘. The technical crux includes two 4th class bits. The first is traversing slabs to get to the summit of S. Little Bear. The second is down climbing a 30‘ 4th-class chimney. The rock is solid in both places and the climbing easy (when dry). The positive thing about this route is that it avoids the loose rock of the hourglass.

In detail:
1. Start at the ‘trailhead‘ and proceed N / NE towards Tobin Creek.
2. Reach Tobin Creek and THRASH through the creek bottom. The creek is not wide, but the density of the brush is astounding.
3. Head directly N up loose dirt and abundant cactus to the SW ridge proper.
4. Follow the SW ridge to 13,000‘ near the base of a steep climb to S. Little Bear. Image Looking back down the SW ridge. Image
5. Ascend S. Little Bear staying on the ridge crest or moving to climbers right as necessary. Summit of S. Little Bear looking back down ridge. Image
6. Traverse to Little Bear Peak along the ridge. Easier variations to the left. Image Looking back to the San Louis valley. Image
7. Reverse and descend. Image

Looking at the route from the valley floor. Image

If you enjoy bushwacking / thrashing / talus hopping with no people this is a great route. It is long, beautiful, and obscure. We had a blast, but are not in a hurry to go back and repeat it.

The only real danger we faced was almost stepping on a rattlesnake at 9100‘ on the way out of Tobin Creek. I didn‘t expect a rattler that high on the San Louis valley. I am sure it didn‘t expect to get stepped on either!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

05/14/2010 02:13
Interesting variation. I‘d like to have seen more photos of the technical areas. Big kudos for attempting (and succeeding!) this likely seldom travelled route.

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