Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,037 feet
Date Posted:  05/30/2010
Date Climbed:   05/29/2010
Author:  Perea
 The Bear Still In Hibernation!  

Climers Paul Perea, Shogun

Yet another Little Bear report. I don't know about you but I could read Little Bear reports all day long. Little Bear Peak had been evading me for the past two months. In April I planned on climbing it every weekend and every weekend there was a big strom that hit the Sangres. In early May (3 weeks ago) I finally had a weather window. A late start and lack of snow consolidation from the recent storms cost me the summit about 300 yards from the Hourglass. After reading all the recent Little Bear Reports I decided to give it another go.

Michael and I arrived at the Como Road turnoff and he asked if this road is really as bad as they say my short reply was "yes". We drove up a little ways maybe 8900 ft before he decided he didn't want to torture his truck anymore. We parked, packed up, and got ready for the long trek to Lake Como about 5 miles and 2900 ft elevation gain. I kept telling myself If I summit this time I won't have to do the death march again "Real Motivation"!

Our Parking spot

There was a nice cool breeze going up the road a nice break from the 90 degree weather in Denver and Peublo. Once we reached the creek crossing it was going full force and looked for rock bridges or logs to cross it but found none. We took off the boots, rolled up the pants, and walked across the freezing water. According to another group there is an old bridge somewhere but we never found it.

Michael crossing the creek

Como Road was clear of snow all the way to the lake. Around the lake there is still lots of soft snow. Leave the snowshoes at home unless you plan on climbing Blanca Ellingwood. Como Lake was thawing out but still has some frozen areas.

Once at the lake there was maybe 6 tents set up. We didn't take tents just slept in the Bivy and admired the views of Little Bears north face under the full moon before getting a couple hours of not so deep sleep. At we quietly packed up with the goal of being the first ones up to the hourglass. We left the lake at 2:45 and were at the base of the first gulley at 3:00 a.m.

Ready To Go Climb The Bear.

The first gulley after coming down.

Looking down the 1st gulley on the way out

About halfway up the first gulley we saw headlamps below and knew we would have company suprisingly there was only 4 others on LB all morning. We traversed the ridge in the night as the moonlight lit up the skys. Our Headlamps were gravy. As we approached the hourglass the sun was coming up. The crampons went on and we started the steep part of the climb.
Getting ready to start the Hourglass AKA Bowling Alley

Looking at the shadow of Little Bear Peak

First look up the Hourglass

Michael coming up the first section of the Bowling Alley/Hourglass

I was happy at the lack of danger and the perfect conditions but was a little disappointed at the lack of difficulty. At one point I asked Michael are we on the hourglass yet and turns out we had almost topped out. I guess in the summer I could see where it could be dangerous from falling rock but on this day there would be none of that. Another reason to do it in late spring.
Did I mention it was a Full Moon?


Perfect conditions!

Taken from the top of the Hourglass

Signs of minor rockfall

Bucket Holes

Final pitch to the summit

Looking down where we just came from

Last few feet before the small Little Bear Summit

We summited at 6:45 a.m and the views were awsome of the San Luis Valley,Sand Dunes, Spanish Peaks, Lindsey, and Blanca Ellingwood. The wind was blowing and it was cold so we took some summit shots, ate and rehydrated. We waited for the group of 4 to get close to the summit before we headed down in order to not kick anything down on them.

Mission Accomlished!

Mission Accomlished!

Buenas Dias Little Bear!

San Luis Valley in the background


We were back at the truck at 1:00 P.M ready to replace some of the 10,000 calories burned on this adventure. A double bacon chile cheeseburger with fries from Del's Diner in Ft Garland would be a good start. Let me be clear I said a good start I was home in time for dinner and grubbed down again. It was another great day in the mountains doing what I love to do enjoy God's creation. My advice if your thinking of climbing Little Bear this year get out and do it soon you have my guess 2 weeks max left to do it under these perfect conditions. Now what to climb next?
Adios Little Bear

Another look at that first gulley

Time for a double bacon cheeseburger at Del's Diner

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Totally agree!
05/31/2010 21:07
I and 2 others climbed it Sunday, 2 days after you. Conditions were near perfect also, but I agree that the sand is running through the hourglass. (that was a lame metaphor for the fact that there is not much time before it becomes a dangerous climb up the hourglass...)
There were probably 15 summiters Sunday - not as crowded as I feared it would be, but the snow was so solid and rockfall hazard so minimal that the ‘crowd‘ didn‘t make much difference.

I also agree on that road. I made it to about 8750‘ and even that was not much fun.

Congrats on the summit!


05/31/2010 23:15
I was part of the foursome that met you just after you were coming off the LB summit on Saturday. What a perfect day on that sweet mountain! Safest conditions I‘ve ever climbed it in, though of course LB is always a serious mountain.

Blanca and Ellingwood were also in perfect climbing conditions on Sunday, nice hard snow up a sa-weet couloir on Ellingwood and relatively snow-free traverse over to Blanca.

What a perfect way to spend a Mem-day weekend!


It was great meeting you and Shogun!
05/30/2010 19:38
Its crazy there was the same # of climbers Saturday as there was Friday...Kathy and I could have saved the PTO day and had better snow conditions (particularly in the notch gully and traverse to the hourglass). That full moon was sweet, in our tent we couldn‘t tell if it was day or night.

We found the sketchy log crossing about 30 ft upstream, but the brush was too thick to make it through with our full packs.


Way to get it done!
05/31/2010 20:42
It‘s a whole different world up there now.


You‘ve been after the bear a while!
06/02/2010 22:38
Glad you finally got him. A hearty congratulations to you and Shogun. What a different world from when we were up there in July last summer. We had similar conditions on Snowmass this Memorial weekend. Probably the best weekend to climb all year! Again...WAY TO GO guys.


Another one!
06/03/2010 00:09
Glad to see you finally got this one. I‘m hoping to make it soon. I appreciate another look at the conditions.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.