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.