Bear Creek Spire NE Ridge TR! (w/beta?)


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 9, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
Not much to say, it was a GREAT route, I enjoyed the heck out of it, and recommend it highly. The approach is kind of strange, the first 3.5 miles took about an hour and gained, like, 800 feet elevation, then the next portion is all going straight up talus for 1600 feet. Was not stoked on that. If you're acclimated already probably plan 3 hours if moving quick, we thought we moved relatively fast and it took 3hour45min to get to the saddle, about 15 minutes below the first tower. So who knows, I am not that fast on approaches but there was at least one other party who were quite a bit slower, so CMac, maybe recommend 3-5 hours? haha. The views on the trail are amazing, though, but I recommend also not hiking out in the middle of the afternoon on a saturday because there were a bazillion people and it felt more like the vernal falls trail.

The climbing was much easier than expected, probably comparable to Tenaya Peak. We brought a 7.7mil ice thong rope and a few peices of gear, and just simul'd with it doubled up. Stopped at a few cool ledges to snack up and took our time, ~2 hours on route. The summit ridge is short but sweet, and I do recommend staying on the ridge the whole route, absolutely! Leave the climbing shoes at home, the wide 4th and easy 5th cracks are more comfortable to stuff a pair of approach shoes in.

If you haven't done this, you SHOULD! I lead easy 5.10 on a good day and if you climb 5.10 trad I would leave the rack and rope at home, its possible to downclimb 4th/5.0 to the northeast of the summit instead of rapping.

The arete, now THAT looks rad...

Day hiking for some acclimitization, kinda pointless because we only gained like 300 feet haha.

the whole approach for the first 3.5 miles is through this GORGEOUS valley

We had a full moon out, so clicked off our headlamps 5 minutes from the car. This is right as the sun is starting to crest and outpower the moonlight.

The route!

Getting a sip and warming up. It was COLD this weekend!

Racking up

The elusive camera man getting ready to FIRE the 5.5 crux!

Its difficult to tell from afar, but the ridge is relatively sharp. Not knife-edge like what you would see on matthis or humphreys, but never more than 10 feet wide that I saw. Very cool.

matt's a boulderer so had to take his shirt off. However, he did set his altitude record on this climb! At the parking too no less!

and the shot of the summy! :D

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Aug 9, 2009 - 04:23pm PT usual.....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 9, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
making my sore back an even bigger pain in the ass....

...I want to go out and do this sort of thing!!
maybe things are resolving... and I will again get to that high sierra list...

thanks for the stoke, and the nice report

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Aug 9, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
"matt's a boulderer so had to take his shirt off."

Awesome. Great Job fellas. Thanks for the report.

Gym climber
Happy Boulders
Aug 9, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
looks like fun. tried this in 2000 in winter but , got shut down.
need to go back.

Aug 9, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
nice gendarme. assuming you're out of site of the belay, next time you come to a big standing flake like that or a chockstone, a fun thing to do is pass it on one side, tie off one of your twin ropes and pick it up after passing it again on the other side.
for selected partners only, if you wind up in ANAM, you didn't hear it from me

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 9, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
Hooblie... thanks... lol! it was his first big mountain route, I can only imagine seeing him trying to crawl over it.

Aug 9, 2009 - 10:49pm PT
I'd go back with ya, 10b4me, you cranky , old fart.

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:08pm PT
that was a fun route... tho the altitude kicked my ka-hooney 'round the summit. felt better the next day (on the arete)
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
You simuled with a thong? Cool!


P.S. Nice TR
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:18pm PT
Good shizz, there, guys!
Awesome views. That one has been on the list for AWHILE.
Nicely done.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:34pm PT
Such a beautiful area. I try to pretend I'm just out hiking until I get to the base




Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Aug 10, 2009 - 12:41am PT
yes, of course, i forgot to say, NICE TR! Good job!
Rich the Brit

Trad climber
San Ramon, CA
Aug 10, 2009 - 01:29am PT

You bring back memories of my first ascent of the spire. A buddy was climbing galen's route, so a another buddy and I offer to take his relatively inexperieinced fiance up the ne ridge, along with my wife.

There is a cool place where the ne ridge joins the buttress with a huge drop on either side. Somewhere along here, there is actually a small keyhole in a gendarme on the ridge about 18 inches square. I couldn't resist. I made the rope and myself safe; untied from the rope, and passed it through the keyhole, safe in the knowledge that my wife would know how to safely bypasss the obstacle.

I never got to see her face as she reached the key hole, but my wife tells she had quite a look of confusion on her face for some time.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 10, 2009 - 01:36am PT

Oakland: what's not to love?
Aug 10, 2009 - 02:08am PT

Thanks GDavis. I agree - a fine, fine route.

Ed, you mentioned a high Sierra list - care to share? Post it up!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Aug 10, 2009 - 02:13am PT
very nice, with humor to boot!

Aug 10, 2009 - 02:17am PT
Jim Hefner and I walked in to do the East Arete one morning, but the altitude got the best of him. So we stowed the gear and soloed the NE Ridge instead. What a GREAT route. If you have not done it, I highly recomend you do so.
We went back and didthe E Ridge car to car in about 9 hours or so. No world record and not a world class route either. The North Arete or the N E Ridge is a much better outing , by far.
Nice TR . Thanks.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 10, 2009 - 02:53am PT
Thanks much for the fine TR. I realize it's been 30 years since I've been in Little Lakes Valley (to do the NE Couloir on Abbott). After viewing and reading this report, I want to go back and do that ridge!

Thanks again.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 2, 2010 - 05:59pm PT
Bump... someone come climb the NE Arete with me in july!
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