Trip Report
Bear Creek Spire, NE Ridge TR
Monday August 17, 2009 1:00pm
Today marks two years since I broke my neck. Yesterday I climbed the Northeast Ridge of Bear Creek Spire again - did it a little over two years ago (trip report).

The day dawned chilly and I set out from the trailhead around 6:30am, hoping the rock would be warm by the time I got there.

Someone in the parking lot had lost her sleeping bag near Gem Lake, and she asked me if I'd look for it when I got up there. No dice, sorry :( She was heading up to Temple Crag the next day, hopefully Wilson's had one she could rent ..

I think I've almost got the talus wired from Gem up to Dade Lake .. serious droolage ..

Ah, more talus to actually approach the peak. I noted the North Arete with some jealousy. I think I saw the climber at the base near the summit on my descent.

The snow in the morning was hard and suncupped .. actually better than the adjoining talus & scree.

At the start of the route I stopped to catch my breath. I was feeling pretty weak. The Spire Lakes looked inviting -

I headed up the first section of blocky third class, which was tiring.

Finally near the first tower some fourth class !

I was having to stop and catch my breath for minutes at a time. Two years ago it was not like this -- I jammed my way up the 5.5 cracks in this stuff in hiking boots -

But this time I went around to the left and found some more modest fourth. It was still fun and thrilling though.

Finally I was getting close to where the NE Ridge and N Arete join up -

Time for a snack .. I think this was around 13500'-ish.

The climbing was getting seriously fun. Fourth and maybe a few moves of easy fifth in places. Finally the ridge traverse -

The fourth class ramp -

In 2007 I went up some kinda 5.6 face stuff, but I wasn't really feeling up for that this time -- opted to thrash up the fourth class chimney instead.

Finally, the summit block !

If a climber mantels the summit and no one is around to take his picture, did he really do it ? No matter .. suffice it to say it was just as fun as last time :) The notebook I placed in the register in 2007 was still there .. lots of interesting entries. Mike Dahlquist's note about the east ridge was very enthusiastic, and I can see why -

Looks like the Feather Couloir is in good shape, though not ice yet -

Finally, the descent .. back down the chimney (a little easier than going up :) lots of loose third, then the sand and talus.

I headed down Cox Col proper (I think) this time .. pretty loose. The snow was heavily suncupped and there were steps, so it made for a nice descent actually vs. the nasty talus further north.

I refilled my hydration reservoir with some snowmelt about halfway to Dade Lake, then gingerly headed down the talus past Dade, the unnamed lakes, and finally Gem came into view .. sweet relief !

The trail hike back to the car went uneventfully. 11 hours round trip this time vs. 10 in 2007.

  Trip Report Views: 1,108
About the Author
rhyang is a climber from SJC.

Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
Super TR, Rhyang!
Seriously good pics, too.
Gotta love it!

Boulder, CO
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
Thumbs (necks?) up!

Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:40pm PT
Nice dude! That was me and a buddy who you saw on the N. Arete, think we ran into you at the summit as well.

Oakland, CA
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
Gorgeous pictures, thank you!!

Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
great pics

what an awesome looking day

splitter blue sky and white rock

thanks for the tr

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Aug 17, 2009 - 02:21pm PT
Brave, brave Sir Robin:

What a tremendous day. Dare I say it (all whimpering aside), that looks FUN! OK, OK, I'll wait...

-Princess Buttercup

Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
Way to go, looked like a great day

  Aug 17, 2009 - 02:56pm PT
Great stuff. Thanks for the incredible shots...hard to go wrong with that scenery!

Thanks for the looks, rh. Nice job getting out.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Aug 17, 2009 - 03:09pm PT
Nice job, that looks like a full day!!!
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Aug 17, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
Nice TR and Pictures. Also did this in 2007 and really enjoyed it (though I got pretty tired of the talus on the way down). Thanks for posting, made my morning at the office.

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Aug 17, 2009 - 03:35pm PT

Random Nobody
  Aug 17, 2009 - 03:45pm PT
Seems a bit intense!!!

Thanks for the post.. Great photos too!

Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2009 - 04:02pm PT
Excellent and inspiring!

Had great fun on the N Arete a few yrs go. High time to get back in there and do the NE Ridge.

Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2009 - 04:04pm PT
Hoots - totally jealous of you guys :)

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 17, 2009 - 04:11pm PT
Inspiring. Great job getting over the demons and getting back out onto the high lonesome. Especially solo. Well done.

Mountain climber
Northern NV
  Aug 17, 2009 - 05:54pm PT
Nice, Rob!
That's Papajoto to you son!!!!!

Social climber
Oatmeal Arizona
  Aug 17, 2009 - 07:46pm PT
Very cool! Nice Pics, I love that route.


Trad climber
  Aug 17, 2009 - 07:57pm PT
And people thing Temple Crag looks loose! Its gorgeous but I was struck by how many death blocks were in balance on that ridge.

Trad climber
  Aug 18, 2009 - 01:06am PT
Very nice climb and done with style. Awesome photos! Amazing all the blocks and fins on that ridge. Just the lakes view makes me want to plan a trip.
Thanks for sharing.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Aug 18, 2009 - 01:09am PT
Hey Rob - way to go! An inspirational life!

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Aug 18, 2009 - 01:10am PT
Great stuff - thanks for sharing!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 18, 2009 - 01:11am PT
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Aug 18, 2009 - 11:19am PT
i added a link to the route beta page

  Aug 18, 2009 - 11:29am PT
Nice pics rhyang!
Looks like a cool route. You had a beautiful day for it.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Aug 18, 2009 - 11:51am PT
Nice hike!

Mike Dahlquist

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 19, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
Thanks for the shout-out. Definitely do the East Ridge, it's my favorite BCS route and I've done both the NE Ridge and the N Arete. Spectacular exposure, Matthes Crest-like at the top. I first saw the ridge as a striking sun-shadow line from Mt. Tom two years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, the late autumn sun low in the sky left the South Face ablaze in light and everything on the north side dark. It was then I knew I had to climb this line, and it did not disappoint when I finally got around to it last October. Definitely bring your soloing hat for this one, a rope won't do much good in some of the spots but the rock was awesome an the routefinding challenging in spots. I really don't understand why this route doesn't get more action...

Author's Reply  Aug 19, 2009 - 06:04pm PT
Mike: a friend wanted to try this route this past weekend, but his partner bailed. I've seen your and fossana's pics on SP here -

Did you guys do it car-to-car or from a base camp ?

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
  Aug 19, 2009 - 06:14pm PT
Really stunning scenery and such great weather!

Trad climber
Sunnyvale, CA
  Aug 27, 2009 - 02:49pm PT
Bump fpr a great photo-tr. It inspired my friend and I to get out there for the North Arete car-to-car this past Tuesday, TR coming soon!

Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report