Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Little Bear

Little Bear
Don, Paul, and I headed out from Parker at 10 AM and hiked into huerfano basin and set up camp next to lake como. We made it two miles past the 2wd section in Paul's Jeep Grand Cherokee. We hiked the remaining road and saw an old blazer take Jaws 1 with no problems. Many camps and jeeps.

We were up at 3:30 AM to start our 4:00 AM climb. We were the first up the loose gully. We kept right mostly, but very loose any way. As we made the traverse below the ridge quest we lost the trail a couple of times, but always made our way back to it.
Little Bear's Backside

Heading up the bowling alley the climbing is a fun scramble and most definitely Class 4. There are many ropes of varying degrees of wear. The trail then leads to the left toward the front face before making its way back to the right. There is one ledge you have to climb to follow the cairns. The last couple hundred feet is easier scrambling as you zig zag up to the peak.

Two guys did the traverse after just beating us to the peak. We had the peak to ourselves for about ten minutes, but it was very cold. My approach shoes worked wonderfully, but I wished I had pant legs rather than just my Pira climbing shorts.

On the decent we hit quite a crowd at the hour glass. Probably 10 people in three parties. I was waiting at the top of the ropes when a rock the size of bowling ball came down from the alley and flew right over my head.

Many cairns
We could have down climbed the smooth section of the hour glass, but since we had brought our harnesses, we decided to use them. Walking down the rock on self-belay was an enjoyable way to get past this part. I seen some folks using the ropes to ascend, which I think is a bit of cheating.

Tricky downclimb
On the way back we again lost the trail a couple of times because there is more than one route which is cairned. Stop building more cairns please! It's not that bad really since you know the general direction you need to go anyway.

Down to Lake Como
Making our way back down the gully to camp was the least fun part of the route. Stay to climbers right so you get some downclimb on solid rock. Otherwise it's a slog down loose rock and dirt that is reminiscent of Columbia's horrid descent.

The hike back down the road with a full pack made for a good end to the workout. We did come across a guy trying to winch his way over Jaws 2. We offered to help, but he felt confident he could get it.

I got a good look at the traverse to Blanca and plan to do an ascent of the hand route with the Blanca traverse in 2013. Would you like to join me?

The weather was great all day.

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