Bear Creek Spire is found in the Eastern Sierra past several alpine lakes and a mile of talus where the North Arete (5.8, 10 pitch) starts above 12,000 ft. It was also my first date with Sadie Skiles on a failed attempt back in 2016 and we’ve been thinking about it ever since. Now with Little Lakes trailhead 45 minutes away from our new home in Mammoth Lakes we were excited to take another crack at it in non-wind advisory conditions.
The trail up to gem lakes goes quick. A little wet and mosquito populated, in just a couple hours you can cover its three miles and 500 feet with backcountry gear.
Starting at 11,000 ft I could feel the altitude shortening my breath which is why our non-altitude trained lungs slept Friday night at the lake south of Dade Lake since we were unsure if we could move fast enough to do the entire route and hike in a day.
From Dade Lake we hiked up another half mile and 1,000 feet to 12,600 ft at the base of the North Arete.
The first couple pitches were long (60m or 5x the avg. indoor gym route) and the had some of the more tricky rock. At one point I was climbing up along a hollow tree-like columnar flake that was kinda like hugging your way up a tree that made grinding noises at the top.
Then Sadie and I took a heady 5.4 step across to gain a
From here you tunnel through to the NE Arete around 13,000 ft when my headache started from either altitude or sun exposure on our clear High Sierra day.
Next was several super exposed
Descended down some scree, made two raps and then stepped-slid down snow back to Dade Lake. Starting at