Little Bear in the Winter

Colorado peak questions, condition requests and other info.
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Camoclimber
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Little Bear in the Winter

Post by Camoclimber »

Anyone have beta for west ridge direct versus the hourglass couloir in mid February for Little Bear?

Also, has anyone done or be able to direct me to trip reports of the LB traverse in the winter?

Thanks!
"All men die, few truly live" -Randall Wallace
"But Ben Lilly was one of the old ones..." -Larry McMurty
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justiner
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by justiner »

Southwest Ridge.
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nsaladin
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by nsaladin »

Camoclimber wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:17 pm Anyone have beta for west ridge direct versus the hourglass couloir in mid February for Little Bear?

Also, has anyone done or be able to direct me to trip reports of the LB traverse in the winter?

Thanks!
Use the advanced search feature on the trip reports page. There are 24 reports for the months December-March (some may not have been in true calendar winter).

Here’s one with the traverse:

https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=21563
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supranihilest
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by supranihilest »

justiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:33 pm Southwest Ridge.
+1
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Tim A
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by Tim A »

I attempted LB a few years ago in early March via the HG hoping that snow covering the gully would turn it into a benign if steep snow climb. It was frustrating to find even on a good snow year that the choke of the HG was exposed WI2 for maybe 30-40’ and that many of the ledges above were not sufficiently buried to keep all their rock in place. We ultimately turned around about 200’ below the summit as once the morning sun hit the Couloir, the already tenuous freeze crust broke down quickly and sinking to our knees on that kind of terrain exceeded our comfort level. The downclimb on the icy crux would not have been possible if we hadn’t spent a few seasons toproping in Ouray.

When I go back for LB it’ll be via the SW ridge.

On an unrelated note, I recently went looking for a YouTube video from the guy that set the record for bagging all the winter 14ers in a single season. His helmet footage traversing from Mama to Little Bear was incredible, but for some reason I can’t find it. Can anyone share it if they happened to bookmark it?
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JtheChemE
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by JtheChemE »

Tim A wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:21 am On an unrelated note, I recently went looking for a YouTube video from the guy that set the record for bagging all the winter 14ers in a single season. His helmet footage traversing from Mama to Little Bear was incredible, but for some reason I can’t find it. Can anyone share it if they happened to bookmark it?
That was Will Seeber (mountainstoke). He didn't manage them all in one winter season, but to that point he set the high water mark.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 1223851405

I know blazintoes, Dadmike, Hamilton did the traverse in winter. I think Monster5 did it(?), others as well I am sure. Of all the traverses it is one of the more reasonable in winter, so long as you know what you are getting into. I think Andrew Hamilton may have done the west ridge direct to LB, but I forget.

I went up the hourglass and found bare ice at the choke, it was "delicate" going up so we decided to go down the SW ridge sight unseen. The SW ridge wasn't overly difficult, and there are some fun bits on the ridge to SLB. It is a long slog back down to como from the SW. Pay attention to the private property getting back to como from Tobin.
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greenonion
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by greenonion »

JtheChemE wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:17 am
Tim A wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:21 am On an unrelated note, I recently went looking for a YouTube video from the guy that set the record for bagging all the winter 14ers in a single season. His helmet footage traversing from Mama to Little Bear was incredible, but for some reason I can’t find it. Can anyone share it if they happened to bookmark it?
That was Will Seeber (mountainstoke).

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 1223851405

I know blazintoes, Dadmike, Hamilton did the traverse in winter. I think Monster5 did it(?), others as well I am sure. Of all the traverses it is one of the more reasonable in winter, so long as you know what you are getting into. I think Andrew Hamilton may have done the west ridge direct to LB, but I forget.

I went up the hourglass and found bare ice at the choke, it was delicate going up so we decided to go down the SW ridge sight unseen. The SW ridge wasn't overly difficult, and the fun bits were relatively short. It is a long slog back down to como from the SW. Pay attention to the private property getting back to como from Tobin.
Is the Will Seeber video him going up West ridge direct or across from Mama Bear to LB via SW ridge route?
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by blazintoes »

Another TR about LB, Blanca and Ellingwood in winter: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=17665

Keep in mind that Danny, Monster and Arthur are super fast climbers. Also I know Monster has been up LB by every route and I think in winter? Correct me Marsters if I'm wrong but he has been up the HG, ridge direct (TR above) SW ridge and he even went up the north face. I remember him saying that the SW ridge was his least favorite route up LB.

What is your goal? Do you just want to climb LB in winter? If so here is a picture of the HG in February 2016. I didn't find it technical or scary but I typically carry 2 ice axes if I'm going on a steep couloir. If LB was my only objective that day the snow in the HG was sable enough that I would have felt comfortable down climbing but faced in. Hope this helps you.
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SnowAlien
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by SnowAlien »

Hourglass was kinda fun in winter with another ice tool for a few icy patches and we rappeled most of it on the way down. Lower anchor was buried though so we had to downclimb the bottom. Postholing was much more of an issue than ice. Kicking steps is so much better in consolidated snow in spring!
https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=16798
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andrewhamilton
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by andrewhamilton »

JtheChemE wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:17 am Andrew Hamilton may have done the west ridge direct to LB, but I forget.
In winter i went up the hour glass. It wasn’t too bad, icy in spots. I think the info on this thread has been pretty good as far as what to expect.

I continued across the traverse which was relatively dry due to the constant wind preventing much snow from building up.

Just going up the gully up to the west ridge was one of the more scary parts as i was afraid of triggering a slide. So i was careful to stay right up on the rocks on the right side as much as possible.

I have never done the southwest ridge but from what i hear that is probably the safest route in winter.

Feel free to send me a message if you want any more details from my experience.
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Monster5
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by Monster5 »

Thanks for the shoutout, Amy. Some thoughts:

-W Ridge Direct (climbed March in moderate avy rating): Most fun way up and goes pretty quick. Only elevated objective hazard is the gully up to the ridge (shared with Hourglass approach) and then however one descends which is likely Hourglass or Traverse. Slab crux can be interesting in crampons, and the upper headwall apparently has a bypass, though why do a "direct" route just to bypass?
-SW Ridge (climbed Feb? in low avy rating): Bit of a slog but neat up high. By far the easiest route with least hazard overall.
-Hourglass (climbed Feb in mod avy rating): cruiser easy snow but highest objective hazard. It requires traversing avy terrain on a few different aspects, so make sure forecast is good and early start. Good avy conditions are common in the Sangres so no need to push it. For us, a late day traverse from base of Hourglass to the west ridge was the most questionable slope on the mountain.
-NW Face (climbed Feb in mod avy rating): cold Feb sugar snow slog for us. I think we roped up for a spicy pitch near the Hand. Might be able to bypass.
-Traverse (climbed March in moderate avy rating): super cool, one of CO's premier winter mountaineering routes and test pieces with reasonable objective hazard IMO.

Sangres overall generally has better avy conditions and weather than the rest of the state, so there's a lot of opportunity.
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Camoclimber
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Re: Little Bear in the Winter

Post by Camoclimber »

blazintoes wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:08 am Another TR about LB, Blanca and Ellingwood in winter: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=17665

Keep in mind that Danny, Monster and Arthur are super fast climbers. Also I know Monster has been up LB by every route and I think in winter? Correct me Marsters if I'm wrong but he has been up the HG, ridge direct (TR above) SW ridge and he even went up the north face. I remember him saying that the SW ridge was his least favorite route up LB.

What is your goal? Do you just want to climb LB in winter? If so here is a picture of the HG in February 2016. I didn't find it technical or scary but I typically carry 2 ice axes if I'm going on a steep couloir. If LB was my only objective that day the snow in the HG was sable enough that I would have felt comfortable down climbing but faced in. Hope this helps you.
Very useful, thanks! Just trying to assess and gather beta for a possible traverse attempt this febuary.
"All men die, few truly live" -Randall Wallace
"But Ben Lilly was one of the old ones..." -Larry McMurty
"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." —-Ernest Hemingway
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