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[TR] Bear Creek Spire, CA - North Arete III 5.8


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Trip: Bear Creek Spire, CA - North Arete III 5.8


Date: 7/15/2009


Trip Report:

Though Bear Creek Spire is an awesome peak, I would hesitate to call it a spire. It is surrounded on all sides by massive rock faces except the southeast side which is a chossy gully (same Ulrich's choss gully on Mt. Stuart?) to 5th class pitch at the end of the route. Though our plans simply called for a scramble up the North East Ridge with a 5th class finish, upon arrival to Mosquito Flat (which really lives up to its name) I simply couldn't not climb the throbbing pillar that was located at the head of the valley, all red and sticky with alpenglow.


Though our gear was totally insufficient, I ripped the topo out of the pages of the equally worthless Moyner book (I don't really give a shit about climbing history, just give me a decent fucking topo and approach directions) and decided to sleep on it.


The approach up the "glacier" went smoothly and we were on route at about 6:15. The climbing was quick and good although frighteningly loose in many spots. Though I was sure I was on route, I almost pulled several huge loose flakes down.


Climbing progress well and we pitched out all the pitches due to the difficulty of locating the supposed 4th class bypasses which seemed all quite off route. During the climb, we clung mostly the ridge crest where we saw the highest-quality safest rock (though more difficult climbing). The crux was an awkward off-width over huge exposure with some critical holds very loose. Fin Grabs with little pro up higher. After that the climbing was 4-5 pitches of solid mid-5th class climbing to the summit.


The descent was was long and uneventful except for when I tomahawked down the snowfield while trying to make huge running plunge steps down the glacier. Good thing we climbed with an ice axe the whole time. It was a great toothpick. We were back at our tent at 8:30pm. Car at 10:30. Mammoth Lakes McDonalds 10:59pm. Tahoe City: 3:15am.


Overall the route had several amazing qualities; exposure, length, and fun. I counted 11 pitches total. I would compare it closely to the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart in Washington minus the heinous approach (We parked our car at 10,200 feet at Mosquito Flat).


A+++++ would RECOMMEND again


Nice Lake.



There it is. I need it.



That's bigger. I'm scared now.






Pitch 2. The 5.8 hand crack on pitch one got me nice.



Pitch 3?



Le Gendarmerie. Where's all the drunk Brits?



Above a low 5th section with tricky route finding.



End of the sidewalk.



Sierra Granites.




The high plateau after descending the 3rd class gully. Marz?



The route and descent from the col that I tomahawked down.







Gear Notes:

A set and a half of Metolius stoppers

Alienheads (3) up to an inch

Metolius 1" and 1.75" and a 4" (4 is very useful on this route)

15 sport draws

no ice axe unless you plan on spending the night on the route


Approach Notes:

For Christ's sake bring bug spray

Edited by powdherb
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Great pics!! My partner, Mike Dahlquest and I climbed this thing about a month ago. We did the NE Ridge but got off route up higher...and I think we ended up on the upper North Arete. The climbing there was much harder in our climbing boots!


Thanks for the photos.

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