This route is hard 4th class, and feels like 5th class when wet - which is often. There are usually rappel anchors above the crux, but they were missing when I did it and I was gripped downclimbing loose rock with a waterfall pouring down it
From Lake Como, hike up keeping an eye on the righthand ridgeline for an obvious gully. Ascend the steep loose gully to the ridgeline, which is unpleasant but nontechnical. Traverse along the ridge to the middle of Little Bear's West Face. Head up to the obvious steep gully splitting the face.
Two 4th class pitches ascend the gully to easier but extremely loose rock. The 4th class can be avoided by climbing nice low 5th class rock on either side. Be extremely careful above this gully - everything you knock down between here and the summit funnels into this gully and would probably kill anyone climbing it. A few hundred feet of nasty 3rd class scrambling leads to the spectacular summit.
Do your best the be the first party on this, and try even harder to be down before anyone else starts up the gully. I'm not kidding when I say you can die in this gully - it is probably the most serious standard route on any of the 14ers.
Submitted by: atg200 on 2002-06-20
Route ID: 19474