Northeast Ridge 5.5

 
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Bear Creek Spire


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10

by BMcC
Friday September 17, 2010 6:32pm
My plans for the week following Labor Day included both solitude and climbing with others. The weather forecast was good. I was acclimatized and rested. For a stretch-my-legs break in my drive to Tioga Pass on Tuesday (9/7), I had done a couple of laps on an easy Lovers Leap route. Followed this the next day with some fun on two of North Peak's three couloirs with special effects provided by high winds and snow flurries (and just what were those crackling sounds and bright flashes of light in the clouds around me on the summit? was the flash on my camera turned on or ... ). http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Tis-the-season-back-to-North-Peak-left-and-right-couloirs-9-8-10/t10762n.html Was greeted Thursday morning by a nice sunrise, cold temps, and some accumulated snow. Hmm? As on my hike the previous month to North Peak, I had found a camera. During my leisurely drive to the Saddlebag Lakes Resort to learn whether they had a lost-and-found, the wind dropped and the veneer of snow melted wherever the sun hit it. Occupied myself during the warm-midday by climbing Boltway on Stately Pleasure Dome. S facing, easily protected, and with a nice, lazy guy's approach.

My sib showed up on Friday (9/10) as planned at 6am and we hit the trail:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The Little Lakes Valley is quite scenic:
Morning reflection - Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Morning reflection - Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The N Arete is the prominent steep buttress, the NE Ridge diagonals in from the left, and the E Ridge follows the left skyline. The bits of snow we encountered were soft and grippy:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Fun scrambling and third classing - some sections blocky and broken, and others wonderfully steep:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Some really finny sections which we mostly took straight on:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The views kept coming with nice exposure in spots:
Looking down and across the NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Looking down and across the NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Some ups and downs, but mostly up:
View down the NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
View down the NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC
Upward - Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Upward - Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The N Arete:
N Arete on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
N Arete on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Looking up towards the merge of the NE Ridge with the N Arete:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Spire Lake and Split Lakes in the distance below:
Spire Lake and Split Lakes from NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Spire Lake and Split Lakes from NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Where we'd been:
Looking down NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Looking down NE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Shoes with sticky rubber (mine) were helpful. Non-sticky rubber shoes require a bit of additional attention and add some thrill to the scrambling:
Some of that fun, steep terrain on the NE Ridge of Bear Creek Spire - ...
Some of that fun, steep terrain on the NE Ridge of Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Joining up with the fourth class upper portion of the N Arete:
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Found some very exposed spots:
Exposure on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Exposure on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The summit:
Bear Creek Spire summit "block" - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire summit "block" - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Got out the climbing shoes for the ~5.6 summit moves:
Bear Creek Spire summit moves - 9/10/10
Bear Creek Spire summit moves - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Another perfect day in the Sierra, blue skies, little wind, and nice views. Feather Peak and its couloir off in the distance... looking kind of appealing. I wonder, what if my weekend partners with their out-of-their-control schedules were to not be available?
Merriam, Royce, and Feather Peaks in the distance - 9/10/10
Merriam, Royce, and Feather Peaks in the distance - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

The sandy trail to the notch and trail back to Mosquito Flat:
On the trail again - 9/10/10
On the trail again - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC

Looking back at Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Looking back at Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
Credit: BMcC


SUMMARY:
Excellently fun route. No need to stand around in the chilly shade, shivering while belaying. Just scrambling along enjoying the movement, exposure, and views. A bit less than a leisurely eleven hours car-to-car with a pleasantly light daypack, without breathing hard or rushing. The NE Ridge is a classic route that I'll be doing again.

  Trip Report Views: 3,210
BMcC
About the Author
BMcC is a trad climber from Livermore.

Comments
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cowpoke

climber
  Sep 17, 2010 - 06:57pm PT
you been gettin' out! lovely.
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
  Sep 17, 2010 - 08:38pm PT
Are those Boreal 'Fire' shoes on your feet in that summit shot ?

Nice TR thankz for the share.

rhyang

climber
SJC
  Sep 17, 2010 - 09:33pm PT
Great pics Bill !
jsb

Trad climber
Bay area
  Sep 17, 2010 - 09:43pm PT
Nice TR! I'm jealous... been wanting to get out there for a while.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Sep 17, 2010 - 11:18pm PT
looks like a great time out Bill
Chateau Rico

Sport climber
Davis, CA
  Sep 18, 2010 - 01:04am PT
Thanks for the great report and awesome photos. That takes me back 20 years when I did that route, not car to car though!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2010 - 04:42pm PT
Thanks to all for your comments. Fun route in a beautiful arena.

TrundleBum - my bro wrote this about his footwear: "Yes those are Fire shoes, resoled twice, very comfy and perfect for occasional alpine rock use."

I used my favorite shoes for the summit block - a pair of Kaukulators, also resoled several times:
Eichorn Pinnacle register - 9/19/10
Eichorn Pinnacle register - 9/19/10
Credit: BMcC

Zander

climber
  Sep 21, 2010 - 04:53pm PT
VEry nice TR BMcC,
Looks like a great day!
Z
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 21, 2010 - 04:59pm PT
Sweet! Tis' a good route for sure.
BrianH

Trad climber
santa fe
  Sep 21, 2010 - 05:06pm PT
Looks like pretty much perfection. True mountaineering!
slabbo

Trad climber
colo south
  Sep 21, 2010 - 05:08pm PT
looks cool. Have you done any of the other lines ?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Sep 21, 2010 - 05:42pm PT
Did the same route in 2007 and really enjoyed it. Thanks for posting the pics. Brought back good memories.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
Author's Reply  Sep 22, 2010 - 03:38am PT
Thanks for the comments, folks!

Slabbo - you asked, "Have you done any of the other lines ?"

Yep - did the North Arete on Bear Creek Spire on 8/27/00.

Had a lot of fun on it and was planning to doing it a couple of days after my Northeast Ridge scramble with my bro, but my partners for the arete got caught short by competing commitments. Will try to get back there with them next summer when the days are longer and a bit warmer.

Meanwhile, since I was already in that neighborhood (near Bishop) and had a couple of days remaining before my planned return home, that freed me up to do another classic route... Feather Couloir.
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Sep 22, 2010 - 11:22am PT
Looking forward to your Feather TR !
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Trad climber
  Sep 22, 2010 - 02:11pm PT
Really cool TR - thanks for sharing. This is definitely on my list of to-dos.
Eddie Rivera

Mountain climber
Ventura
  Sep 23, 2010 - 07:57pm PT
Love the Rt-great pictures
rizzuh

Mountain climber
San Francisco, CA
  Sep 23, 2010 - 10:38pm PT
Prize shots!
nut

Mountain climber
heber utah
  Sep 24, 2010 - 07:37pm PT
Is that guy wearing Fire climbing shoes? They look brand new. I want a pair!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
Author's Reply  Sep 24, 2010 - 11:02pm PT
Hey nut - yes, my bro wore his Fires for the summit block - they're comfy and have been resoled, but are not for sale. The approach shoes he used for the hiking and all of the rest of the scrambling did/do not have sticky rubber. I was appreciating the sticky rubber on my 5.10 C4's.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 15, 2012 - 01:29am PT
That is a crazy looking place.
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Bear Creek Spire - Northeast Ridge 5.5 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from above Dade Lake.
Photo: Chris McNamara
Other Routes on Bear Creek Spire
Bear Creek Spire - North Arete 5.8 - High Sierra, California USA. Click for details.
North Arete, 5.8
Bear Creek Spire
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The route from just above Dade Lake.