Bear Creek Spire

 

Bear Creek Spire

 

Summary: Ever since moving in to my cabin in Tom Place, at the base of Rock Creek, I have been obsessed with the idea of climbing the North Arete of Bear Creek Spire. In a push. From my cabin. And using no motorized transport. Tales of grand climbs accessed in the old fashioned way (pre-automobile) inspired me. But I couldn convince anybody to hop on a bike at 3am, ride 10 miles gaining 3,000ft, hike for another 3-4 hours on trail and talus, then climb 10 pitches up to 5.8. Until I mentioned the crazy idea to my friend Annie. We left at 3:30 am, arrived at the trailhead at 6:30am, got to the base of the climb at 10:30am, selected poorly on the micro-route-finding on pitch 2, leading to one of the most difficult leading adventures of my life, topped out at 5:30pm, and finally made it home at 11:30pm. Things we learned: that was an ambitious plan; it incredible how much Nike Air Max 24-7 Men we can put our bodies through; and even a half moon Air Max 90 Shoes can provide ample light to navigate a talus field..***In the climbing world, we often speak of proud ascents we did "car-to-car," which is to say, in a day, or in one big push. But when you live at the foot of some of the most spectacular peaks in North America, why not eliminate the car altogether? It is an old idea, not a new one. Bear Creek Spire North Arete was a classic I had to climb. But being very popular, and certainly well within my ability, I wanted a bit more from it. Perhaps there is some http://www.airmax90js.com/ ego in there I don want to admit, or maybe it was a desire to put myself out there, push to my limit. Find my limit. I spend so much time watching my clients push themselves to the max in a completely new and intimidating arena (simply for lack of experience), but rarely do I experience the same in the mountains. My climbs are careful, responsible, and calculated, especially when guiding. I wanted to experience my very limit. Until I mentioned it to Annie, a guide for Sierra Mountain Guides. We live eerily parallel lives, and yet had not, up to that point, spent much time together. We set the date for Thursday, September 16th, which would give us that Tuesday to climb together and get to know one another a bit. Annie mock guided myself and a friend of mine up Cathedral Peak on Tuesday -- it went swimmingly, and we had a blast. Game on.3:00am Thursday morning, Annie arrives. Sore butt bones are relieved to hand the baton to the walking muscles. Our legs are jello-y but welcome the change of motion. 6:45am We on trail, watching the day warm and brighten in front of us. The first light hits Bear Creek Spire, the air is perfectly calm and crisp.

 

10:30am and we at the base of our climb, racking up. No words can explain how we felt, having already been going for 7 hours, as well as this photo: As Annie had already done this route, I was going to treat it as a mock guide, leading all the pitches and working on some guiding techniques. Ultra classic climbing on great rock. I belay Annie up to the ledge, and we scope the next pitch. We had a bit of difficulty deciphering the drawn topo, but had a good idea of which way to go, so I chose what looked like the obvious line and path of least resistance. I chose wrong. The crack Nike Air Max 2012 Men system steepened, giving Air Max 90 me no good foot holds, awkward smearing on rounded flakes, then opening up into a series of steep offwidths. It was a maneuver somewhere between offwidth technique and chimney technique using the wall to my left, all obscured by my uncomfortably large pack (which was really not that big), and made more heady due to a lack of gear (I had brought a light rack, not anticipating having so much trouble with the climbing). The topo started to match the climbing toward the top, and I knew I was on route again, but unsure what had happened. I guess cycling, hiking, scrambling, then trying to lead 5.7 with a pack was just too much. I was mildly crushed, but satisfied at having gotten through safely. I had found my limit, and pushed through. I expected to see her pop up on the ledge in no time. But she didn move as quickly as usual. When she finally reached the top, we both agreed it was probably some weird variation, and probably went at 5.10. I was knackered, but we had a long ways to go. We simul-climbed the next 2 pitches of 3rd and 4th class climbing, reaching the base of the crux pitch, which would not end up being the crux for our "variation." Interesting flakes into a chimney, and we were done with most of the 5th class climbing. Now I could feel the mental and physical fatigue setting in. Time to move. Must keep moving. We picked our way along the ridge, and finally arrived at the summit at 5:30pm, which greatly exceeded our time plan (by about 2 hrs). That second pitch had rattled me a bit, and we lost a lot of time there and afterward.

 

A lovely moment at the summit, perhaps a few too many, enjoying the impeccable weather, beautiful views, and admiring the lengthening shadows. oh. Shadows.

 

Down the notch, across a short snow patch, and into the talus. We Cheap Air Max 90 didn beat the darkness to the trail, so we picked our way through the talus by the light of the half-moon. Easy for everything but our hands, which we stopped to warm up and shake out every 20 minutes or so.11:30pm Back at my cabin. A team of time-hardened men. The real mountain men. I then see things turn to crisp color, bold blues and ghostly grays, and two figures moving up the rock. They are two young female climbers, mountain guides. No climbing involved but lots of bike and hike. Always hard to find people game for such outings. We left Big Bear Lake on our mt bikes at 4 or 5am. Rode up and over the ridge line between Snow Summit and Bear Mountain and down the other side into the Santa Ana river canyon. From there we rode up past Jink lake to Poop Out Hill, stashed the bikes then proceeded on foot to the summit of San Gorgonio, a hike itself. We returned to our bikes then rode up hwy 38 past Onyx Summit 8443, then down into Big Bear city just as it got dark. Hiking and biking together, was over 11,000 feet of elevation gain over more than 40 miles. It was a great day! BTW, I lived in Grenoble France for 4 wonderful years and got to spend lots of time in the Alps. You a lucky girl, your doing all the things I dreamt of doing (I got to do a lot in the past, and plan on more adventures. Currently on the list, Whitney MR in spring (if I find some takers), East Face in July with some rock women, and hopefully 2 summits in the Alps next summer with an old Grenoble buddy who is a french de haute montagne In the mean time I may read more of your adventures and live vicariously. BTW when I lived in France I read some GREAT climbing novels of the early conquest of the Alps, and Edward Whymper book on the conquest of the Alps, both in French, great books, if you speak french you would love them. Maybe you saw the German adventure/drama about the 1930s attempts on the Eiger. It on Netflix. They rode their bikes to the mountain from Bavaria. All the Best, Heather

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