Yet another Bear Creek Spire NE Ridge TR (pics)


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Ice climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 13, 2007 - 03:01pm PT
Saturday I went cragging with an old climbing buddy in Tuolumne. We did Hermaphrodite Flake to the Boltway (again, climbed it with rwedgee the week before) or at least the first three pitches, then rapped off since he hadn't been climbing in a while and I didn't really want to lead the last pitch again (I think he would not have enjoyed following it + the friction slab walkoff). Anyway, my new doubles needed to be hung down a cliff a couple of times :) We then wandered over to Puppy Dome and toproped some unnamed stuff, then Puppy Crack again. Around 5pm he headed off to get some sleep for his alpine start, and I went to the Whoa Nelli Deli for some jambalaya.

Sunday I got an early start from the Mosquito Flats trailhead (~10200') and headed up to Dade Lake. I broke my foot bouldering about four months ago, so I wore stiff & heavy vibram-soled backpacking boots because I wasn't sure if my foot could deal with all the talus on the approach. In my pack I carried a pair of climbing shoes though in case things got harder than I expected.

From the trail around 7am-ish ?

Near Dade Lake

Snow did not seem to be an issue for either the N Arete or NE Ridge, and I headed up.

Looking up route

Looking down at Spire / Split Lakes (?)

Managed to get some great views of the N Arete (maybe next year)

Jammed my way up the "5.5" section in hiking boots - in retrospect this may have not been one of the smartest things I've ever done, but apparently I survived -

Looking down the route from above the first crux -

As I neared the junction with the N Arete I could see a couple of climbers

Apparently there were two parties, and I chatted briefly with them. The first party of two was led by a dude from Santa Monica, and the second party of three seemed to be guided. Somewhere above the junction I put my climbing shoes on (wimped out, I know :)

I continued up the summit ridge from there. The parties from the N Arete seemed to pitching out the ridge.

After a bit of this & that I made it to the summit

The mantle move was fun, but sadly nobody was around to take the obligatory "straddling the BCS summit block" shot :( and I wasn't really in the mood to wait for the other guys.

Got a semi-decent pic of the Feather Couloir (climbed it in Oct '05)

Hard to beat the scenery on a clear Sierra day

The summit register had a lot of old folded up topos and some business cards, so I added a new notebook to the aluminum cylinder.

I headed back down Ulrich's Route (std descent) and changed back into my boots where it was class 3, then slogged down to Cox Col, and back to the wonderful talus. I'd managed to run out of water just as I hit the summit, but found a nice cold glacial stream about halfway down to Dade Lake.

Endured the talus down to the Gem Lakes (note that pic is from the AM)

Once I hit the trail I zipped back to the car, about 10 hours round-trip.

ps. About 25 minutes from the trailhead I encountered a group on the trail administering first aid to a woman who apparently had suffered a compound fracture somehow. The sheriff had already been called. Anyone know how she is ? I hope the rescue went ok ...

Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 13, 2007 - 03:19pm PT
THANK YOU for the trip report.

I'll be on the North Arete on Friday! yippee!

If you are looking at the North Arete in your second photo which was is the decent in relation to that?

Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
Aug 13, 2007 - 03:23pm PT
Descent for both routes is directly off the back side (out of view), then traversing towards the low point on the right skyline. Finding the right notch (Cox Col) can be confusing, and if you're off a bit you can be looking at some 4th and 5th. Some parties rappel from the notch to skirt this trickiness.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Aug 13, 2007 - 03:26pm PT
Sweet, next time try and do a self-portrait where you hold the camera out in front of yourself and click. My buddy used to be good at that, perfectly framed every time.

Ice climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2007 - 03:44pm PT
There were rap slings / rings in a couple of places near the summit, which (I would guess) make the descent easy. Once you get there, it's hard to miss. There was also a nice use trail to the notch.

I hear you about the self-portrait thing ... but frankly I'm not very photogenic anyway :) certainly not compared to the gorgeous scenery !

edit: There is also a Bear Creek Spire page on summitpost, with some info / pics that may be useful (esp. the Ulrichs route page).

Trad climber
Sep 2, 2007 - 06:07pm PT
Nice pics,

Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 4, 2007 - 12:27am PT

Thanks for the TR, looks like a blast... and The List grows one tic longer. Life is too short!
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