Little Bear Blanca Traverse
Little Bear West Ridge - Class 4
Traverse to Blanca - Class 5
Partners: Kristi Henes
Little Bear and Blanca from Fort Garland. Our plan was to traverse the knife edge ridge between the two peaks.
Getting ready for the 5 mile hike up the gnarly Lake Como road.
Yummy raspberries were the only redeeming factor of the hike to Lake Como.
First look at Little Bear
Little Bear from the tent
Little Bear in sunset
Our day of climbing started at 4:00am. You can barely see Alex at the top of Little Bear's first gully of loose scree.
Walking the ridge after the first gully... we had a full moon.
Kristi getting close to the infamous "Hour Glass"
Kristi climbing in the "Hour Glass". This section has a reputation for deadly falling rock and terrain so steep that it is virtually impossible to avoid falling debris.
Alex in the "Hour Glass"
Alex in the "Hour Glass"
Alex in the "Hour Glass". There was a fair amount of water running down the middle of this gully making the climb a little tricky.
Alex getting close to Little Bear's summit
Kristi approaching the summit of Little Bea
A view of the Crestones... we did the Peak to Needle traverse in 2009.
From Little Bear's summit a view of the 1.5 miles of knife edge ridge that would consume our next 4 hours. The scariest part of the day was looking at the ridge and deciding to go.
Alex descending Little Bear's steep summit.
A view along the ridge. 1000 foot drops would be on either side of us for most of the traverse.
Looking back at Little Bear. From the summit we climbed down the spineof the first pitch... then onto the side with the circle of green rock... then back onto the spine.
Kristi taking a breather. The focus required for this traverse was intense
The most challenging parts of the day were when we had to leave the knife edge and scramble on heavily exposed ledges below the ridge. Most of the day was spent scooting with one leg on each side of the ridge and 1000 foot drops on either side.
Looking back to Little Bear. Kristi layering down
Looking back to Little Bear. Kristi enjoying a mellower section.
Looking to Blanca. The first 1/3 of the traverse seemed to take forever. We moved slowly and carefully.
Looking back to Little Bear and the ridge we just scrambled across. The exposure was intense.
If you look closely there are 2 climbers gaining on us. These guys were studs... they took 2 hours to complete the traverse... we took four.
Kristi with Little Bear in the distance
Looking ahead to Blanca and it's 3 towers. Skirt the first tower on the right... climb the second and third towers
Alex with Little Bear in the distance
Alex with Blanca and the remaining sections of the traverse in the distance.
Looking back to Little Bear
Kristi reaching the top of the second Blanca tower.
Kristi at the top of the second Blanca tower... we were about to hop on the knife edge again
Kristi approaching Blanca's summit. Little Bear in the distance.
Alex celebrates on Blanca's summit
Ellingwood Point from Blanca's summit. Alex climbed this peak along the ridge the day after Little Bear Blanca.
Alex on Blanca's summit
Kristi on Blanca's summit... proudly displays the traverse
Heading back to camp... there were plenty of lakes
and the scenery didn't suck
The locals were friendly
Looking back up the valley... Blanca on the right
From Ellingwood... A view of Little Bear and the traverse to Blanca
Looking at Bivwacko's tower on the traverse.
the light was incredible
Sunrise before Ellingwood