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Little Bear Peak

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Northwest Face T 
West Ridge and Hourglass Couloir T 
West Ridge Direct T 

Little Bear Peak  


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Elevation: 14,037'
Page Views: 8,315
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: George Bell on Aug 29, 2007
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The beautiful monolithic East Face of Little Bear ...

Description 

Little Bear lies a mile southwest of Blanca and has a reputation as one of Colorado's most difficult fourteeners. People may therefore be surprised to learn that Little Bear was first climbed in 1888, before Blanca!

The fact of the matter is that there is an easy (meaning 3rd class) route on Little Bear, however the start of this route is on private land and therefore closed (the most obvious start, anyway). Little Bear is therefore almost always climbed from the popular Lake Como access road, and this standard route is one of the most difficult and dangerous of any fourteener.

Getting There 

The Lake Como Road is the usual access point. This road begins in the flat San Luis Valley. 2WD cars are quickly stopped by the vicious "babyheads" at a large parking area at only 8,000'. This is one of the lowest fourteener trailheads in Colorado. 4WD vehicles attack the road with varying success, it soon becomes very steep and narrow but every quarter mile saves you significant hiking. The 10,000' level weeds out all but the most hard core 4WD, which are now creeping along at about the same speed as hikers. This is one of the most famous 4WD roads in the state, and only jeeps and other highly modified vehicles can make it all the way to Lake Como (11,740').

Climbing Season



Weather station 7.6 miles from here

3 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Little Bear Peak:
West Ridge and Hourglass Couloir   4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b     Trad, Alpine, 5000'   
Northwest Face   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Mod. Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 2 pitches, 2000'   
Browse More Classics in Little Bear Peak

Featured Route For Little Bear Peak
Lucas Clarke feeling the exposure near the top of the final headwall.  Approx. 100 ft below the ridge.

Northwest Face Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Mod. Snow  CO : Alpine Rock : Little Bear Peak
Wear a helmet!This climb is a less-traveled alternative to the Hourglass Couloir route on Little Bear that ascends the impressive northwest face of Little Bear. It connects with the Little Bear-Blanca ridge near the summit of Little Bear. Most of the work is picking your way through the 3rd class talus and scree at a fairly high angle. Two points on the route _may_ require the use of pro: gaining the "shelf" above the "Black Hand" on the rock, gaining the ridge close to the summit. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Little Bear Peak Slideshow Add Photo
Mama bear and baby bear tracks outside our tents at 5am before heading up.
Mama bear and baby bear tracks outside our tents a...
Little Bear from Lake Como.
Little Bear from Lake Como.
Steve on long Como Road on way to Little Bear.
Steve on long Como Road on way to Little Bear.
LB from Lake Como
LB from Lake Como
View looking south into the valley from just below Lake Como.
View looking south into the valley from just below...
LB (on the right) and Blanca across the ridge in morning silhouette
LB (on the right) and Blanca across the ridge in m...
Little Bear Peak from the shore of Lake Como at sunset. June 2009.
Little Bear Peak from the shore of Lake Como at su...
LB from the end of the Jeep trail.  The route we onsighted angled up the steep, black streaked gully and onto easier terrain crossed by white dikes before taking on the STEEP, LOOSE upper section to a notch on the ridge and summit.
LB from the end of the Jeep trail. The route we o...
Me on the long Lake Como Road heading to Little Bear.
Me on the long Lake Como Road heading to Little Be...
scrambling up 4th+ terrain on LB
scrambling up 4th+ terrain on LB
More bear tracks on way up Little Bear Peak.
More bear tracks on way up Little Bear Peak.
Steep soloing on alpine rock (read:sketchy)
Steep soloing on alpine rock (read:sketchy)
Little Bear, January 2012.
Little Bear, January 2012.

Comments on Little Bear Peak Add Comment
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By Ben Bruestle
From: Pueblo, CO
Sep 7, 2007
SLV locals Brent Edelen and Steve Arnold climbed the East Face of Little Bear circa 2000. Their route "The Main Vein" went at 5.7 R.
By Brandon Meehl
Apr 16, 2008
Watch out, the hourglass is dangerous. Really make sure there is nobody down climbing before you start to approach the bottom section. (climbing it on a weekday would be a good idea) I almost got hit by a softball-sized rock when some other dude was descending. It is a really fun scramble when the coast is clear.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 21, 2014
At the end of one trip we hiked down the Lake Como Road and passed some gnarly, highly modified jeeps grappling with the boulderfields just below the lake. They were also headed down but very slowly. There are several places along this road where I don't understand how ANY vehicle can pass. A few times I have been tempted to wait just to see how they do it.

Anyway, to make a long story short, turns out we beat these vehicles to our car, which was parked fairly low down. In other words, it is faster to walk this road than drive it, at least going down!