Peak(s):  Little Bear Peak  -  14,041 feet
Date Posted:  06/06/2005
Date Climbed:   06/04/2005
Author:  Gurbi
 Little Bear   

Had an awesome trip up Little Bear this weekend - 6/4

All who have climbed it, know there is nothing little about it.
I had attempt this peak last year, Labor Day Weekend when a rock hit me in HourGlass section and that was the end of climb that day.

We were 7 people in the group, the walk upto Como Lake was gruelling as usual.
Reached the Lake at around 5:00pm and hiked up another 200 feet in trees to find some camping spots which were free of snow.

That night it snowed about 1-2 inches on us- not a good omen.
Next morning we woke up at 4:30am and left by 5:00am

Saw beautiful red sunrise clouds over Little Bear as we started our ascend in the first gully
it was snow packed and we made good progress up it
Crossed over to the East side of the ridge , traversed it and came to the base of the steep gully aka Bowling Alley
It was about 8:45am and the snow was still nice and firm, climbed up the gully thru the Hourglass section.
Here the problem started!! - When we started angling to the left towards the peak , there was ice and snow(from previous night) on the rocks - this panicked some people in our group.
A couple of us climbed over those rocks and threw down a rope to them
This took more than an hour to get 4 people prussiking up and then when we were over the rocky section, the cold (standing in shade over 13000ft) and waiting rattled people and they decided to go back - to come at 13,500 ft and go back what a disappointment!!!

Hoever i decided to keep going alone, and went closer to the ridge, once on rocks, took off my crampons, the going was tough due to snow and ice on rocks - but after some route finding and avoiding ice, made it to the base of the peak. out here the snow and ice were terrible - but found a 50 feet narrow chimney formation which was shielded from snow.
I kept my ice ax, crampons and backpack out here and smeared to the top of it by 11:30am (wish had my rock-climbing shoes), the summit was bathed in sun by now and snow had melted off , scrambled to the top. Was extremely elated to have climbed it solo , but was sad that my friends were not here- said a quick prayer and made my way down. Down climb was more scary than climbing up, slipped in the chimmney a couple of times - decended cautiously to the top of HourGlass Coulior and inspite of my best precautions lossed a rock into it, so if you are not the first party up the Little Bear *please do not climb* due to rock fall danger.
Glissaded down the lower portion of HourGlass couloir, traversed the ridge and glissaded down the 1st snow gully back to camp-site.

The valley looked awesome with All three peaks Blanca, Ellingwood Pt and Little Bear, with snow on them and dark blue skies

A great day and was relieved to have Little Bear behind me.

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