Little Bear Peak

Blanca Massif, Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Little Bear Peak
The northwest face of Little Bear

Amateur that I am, I decided early on not to go up on Little Bear. Furi and Bill came equipped for it and on Saturday morning, Greg and George, 2 friends from Denver, came into our camp about 8:00 am. They came with a rope (just in case) and Furi stuck it in his backpack before they started.

The day before, Furi, Bill and I scoped out the Northwest Face route (shown on the left). Furi thought that might be better than the Hourglass route but Greg and George had other ideas.

I went with them to the foot of the first chute and watched them going up. The rest of this story is a paraphrase of what they had to say when they came back down. And I am indebted to Bill for the photos.

The first chute is nasty: loose stuff, boulders, steep rock. It was so loose that climbing the rock was preferable for quite a ways. On clearing the notch, the ridge leading up came into view. They went around the backside (south side) of the ridge and picked their way up through the rock to the foot of the Hourglass.

The Hourglass is a gully of water-polished granite, 20 to 30 feet wide and maybe 400 feet long, steep. Fingerholds are very thin. They went up it all right and continued on to the summit. The only way to determine which pile of rocks is the summit is to find the cairn with the registry in it. They ate, shot photos, rested and then started down.

When they came back to the top of the Hourglass, most of them hesitated. There were several good anchors in the rock and someone left 150 feet of rope hanging there. Furi (in his cross-trainers) walked down the rock, pulled out his rope and attached it in a matter of seconds to the end of the other rope, then walked back up the rock to the others. George started down and hardly touched the rope. Greg and Bill used the rope heavily. Bill had a problem and Furi came down and helped him out of it. Once Bill was down, Furi detached the rope, coiled it, put it back in his pack, and then walked down the rest of the way.

In the middle of descending the ridge, a heavy thundershower started. By the time they reached the chute leading down off the mountain, the rain had become a drizzle and everything was sticky. They sorted of skated down the loose stuff and were back in camp a little after 2:00 pm.

We celebrated their success, packed our camp and headed down off the mountain. The rest of the story is contained on the 4WD and Wilderness page.

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looking down
Looking down a notch in the mountain
up to the summit
Looking up to the summit
through the gullies
Coming through the gullies
the Hourglass
Furi in the Hourglass
the Hourglass
Greg descending the Hourglass
coming down
Greg and Furi coming down
the first chute
Looking up the first chute
the first chute
Looking down the first chute
summit ridge
The ridge leading up to Little Bear
northwest face of Little Bear
The northwest face of Little Bear
Little Bear Peak area topo mapSierra BlancaBlanca PeakTraversesComo LakeEllingwood PointMount LindseyCalifornia PeakZapata Falls National Recreation AreaComo Lake Road
Little Bear Peak area map logo
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Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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