Bear Creek Spire Climbing

Bear Creek Spire is a gem of the High Sierra, with steep faces of white granite that the Sierra is renowned for. The peak offers two main rock routes that are both excellent for the grade. Stunning alpine lakes, great climbing & incomparable views make this an unforgettable alpine rock-climbing experience!
Exposure while rock climbing bear creek spire above little lakes valley in the eastern sierra of california
Private rock climbing on Bear Creek Spire in Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra
Camping at Dade Lake before climbing Bear Creek Spire in California

Bear Creek Spire is a gem of the High Sierra, packed with steep faces of beautiful white granite that the Sierra is renowned for.   The peak offers two main rock routes that are both excellent for the grade.  

The approach to the climb wanders through the Little Lakes Valley and varies from a wide and well-maintained trail to a rugged scramble through chunky granite talus.  The view is stunning as you walk past numerous high-elevation lakes surrounded by granite spites. We recommend this as a 2- or 3-day trip.

  

Routes

The most classic alpine rock-climbing routes on Bear Creek Spire are: 

Northeast Ridge - 5.5 with a 5.6 move to the summit block. This route follows a striking ridgeline to the summit

North Arete - 5.8 - This route ascents a dramatic arete to the summit and includes more sustained, technical climbing than the NE Ridge

Requisite Experience 

Outdoor rock-climbing experience with the ability to follow multiple pitches up to 5.6 in difficulty is required for this climb, along with being in very good physical condition. Previous backpacking experience is recommended. 

If you're unsure which climbs are right for you, email us and we'll make sure we pick a climb that falls within your physical fitness and technical skill level.  If this is your first time climbing with us, we'll review your experience and make sure we pick something within your limits.

    Exposure while rock climbing bear creek spire above little lakes valley in the eastern sierra of california
    Private rock climbing on Bear Creek Spire in Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra
    Camping at Dade Lake before climbing Bear Creek Spire in California
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Private rock climbing on Bear Creek Spire in Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra
    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Camping at Dade Lake before climbing Bear Creek Spire in California

    Dates

    Available Dates

    June - October

    Prices

    Pricing varies depending on number of people and number of days.

    Equipment

    Gear Guide - Eastern Sierra Alpine List

    Gear Guide / Packing List

    Technical Gear

    • Climbing Helmet - UIAGM certified helmet, Petzl Sirocco, Black Diamond Vision
    • Headlamp - LED headlamp with fresh batteries; Petzl Actik Core
    • Climbing Harness -  Alpine or Rock Climbing Harness; Petzl Hirundos, Mammut Zephyr
    • 3 Locking Carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc
    • Double Length Sling - Sewn Runner; Black Diamond 10mm Dynex Runner
    • Prusik Loop (Optional), 4 ft length of 6mm accessory cord joined in a loop
    • Belay Device - Basic Belay Device; BD ATC Guide, Petzl Reverso
    • Climbing Shoes- Comfortable, all day trad climbing shoes, La Sportiva TC Pro
    • Approach Shoes - Sticky rubber soled shoes, low top or hightop, FiveTen Guide Tennies
    • Crampons - Light Aluminum or Steel Crampons Compatible with your approach shoes 
    • Light Aluminum Axe - Petzl Ride, BD Raven Ultra
    • Trekking Pole(s) - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Alpine FLZ Poles

    Head and Neck Layers

    • Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat
    • Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield
    • Goggles (bring to trailhead, we may choose to leave at the car depending on weather)
    • Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet

    Upper Body and Hand Layers

    • Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody
    • 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & Nano Air
    • Light Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Rab Xenon, Patagonia MacroPuff, etc
    • Hardshell Jacket, Hooded (Weather Dependent)  - Waterproof, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL
    • Wind Shell - Patagonia Houdini, etc (will choose to pack this or Hardshell Jacket)
    • Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour
    • Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic

    Lower Body and Feet Layers

    • Underwear - Wool/Synthetic
    • Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata (1 pair/day, max of 3 pair)
    • Long Underwear (weather dependent) - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”;  Patagonia Capilene Air
    • Light Softshell Climbing or Trekking Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant Pants - Rab Incline AS, Eddie Bauer Guide Pro

    Camping & Backpacking Gear

    • Sleeping Bag - Down or Synthetic Rated to 20F; Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
    • Sleeping Pad - Insulated Inflatable Air Mattress; Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Therm, X-Lite
    • Compression Stuff -  To Pack Your Sleeping Bag; Ultralight Compression Sack 10L
    • Backpack - Lightweight, Simple 50 Liter Pack; Patagonia Alpinist 50, BD Speed 50
    • Route Pack (10-20L) - Ultralight climbing pack for bringing the essentials up the route, REI Flash 18

    Food and Water

    • Dinner - Your Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Night in the Field.
    • Breakfast - Your Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Morning in the Field
    • Hot Drinks - For After Dinner and During Breakfast; Instant Coffee, Decaffeinated Tea, Hot Cocoa, Tang, Whatever You Prefer
    • Half Liter Nalgene Bottle - A Hard Sided Water Bottled that Can Act as your Mug For Hot Drinks and Water Bottle During the Climb Nalgene 16oz Wide Mouth Bottle
    • Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L

    ***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.

    • Water Treatment or Filtration - Katadyn BeFree Filter Connects to Hydrapak Flux Bottles 
    • Bowl - Reuse your Freeze Dried Dinner Bag as Your Bowl, or Bring Another;
    • Spoon - 9” Long Handled Spoon (For Eating Food in a Bag); GSI Essential Spoon Long
    • Snacks - Snacks for Each Day of the Trip

    Other Essentials

    • Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)
    • Lip Balm (with SPF)
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Toilet Paper

    Optional

    • First Aid/blister Kit
    • Chemical Hand Warmers
    • Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus

    Group Gear

    • Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:
    • Slingfin Tents (Designed and Headquartered in Berkeley, CA)
    • Stoves
    • Fuel for Stoves
    • Ropes
    • Snow Pickets (if required)
    • Rock Protection
    • Guide’s First Aid Kits
    • Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

    Know Before You Go

    Location

    Eastern Sierra, CA

    Elevation

    10,000-13,713'

    Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚪⚪⚪

    Climbs on Bear Creek Spire require the ability to follow rock climbing rated 5.5 to 5.8 and a variety of skills including belaying, rappelling.  Your guide can help you manage many of these skills, but prior experience with basic rock skills is recommended.  Depending on the conditions, crampon and ice axe techniques may be required.  

    Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

    You should be in excellent physical condition for an approach with a heavy pack and for climbing steep, technical terrain. High altitude and the ability to move well through rough talus (blocky granite) is  

    Trip Length

    2 Days

    CONTACT US FOR 2022 DATES

    Email us to schedule custom dates for your program!

     

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