Northeast Ridge 5.5
Trip ReportNE Ridge on Bear Creek Spire - 9/10/10
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:
The Little Lakes Valley is quite scenic:
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:
Fun scrambling and third classing - some sections blocky and broken, and others wonderfully steep:
Some really finny sections which we mostly took straight on:
The views kept coming with nice exposure in spots:
Some ups and downs, but mostly up:
The N Arete:
Looking up towards the merge of the NE Ridge with the N Arete:
Spire Lake and Split Lakes in the distance below:
Where we'd been:
Shoes with sticky rubber (mine) were helpful. Non-sticky rubber shoes require a bit of additional attention and add some thrill to the scrambling:
Joining up with the fourth class upper portion of the N Arete:
Found some very exposed spots:
Got out the climbing shoes for the ~5.6 summit moves:
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?
The sandy trail to the notch and trail back to Mosquito Flat:
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.
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Other Routes on Bear Creek Spire