5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
*Note: this route warrants a "Difficult" Mountaineering difficulty rating.* Thanks to a demanding Class 4 climb with extreme rockfall danger, Little Bear Peak is renowned as one of the most technical 14er summits in Colorado.
In addition to the technicality, it's an objectively beautiful summit that provides a satisfying objective for climbers. The hike begins by following the rough Lake Como/Blanca Peak 4x4 road, until eventually splitting off onto a singletrack trail.
After climbing through some talus and good rock, you'll approach the southwest face, where the climbing gets dramatically more difficult.
Once you pass 13,300 feet, [14ers.com](https://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=litt6&peak=Blanca%2C+Ellingwood+and+Little+Bear) directs you to "locate the 'Hourglass' gully." You'll then climb this technical gully, following a fixed rope or two to reach the upper anchors.
The rest of the route to the summit "is loose and dangerous, and there's no obvious line," according to 14ers.com.
Proceed with caution and carefully pick your line to the summit. Due to the dramatic amount of loose rock on this climb, helmets are highly recommended. Once on top of Little Bear Peak, it is also possible to [traverse to nearby Blanca Peak](https://fatmap.com/routeid/1791959/Little_Bear_to_Blanca_Peak_Traverse_Route), but this exposed, rocky ridgeline requires 2-5 hours of class 4 climbing and traversing (if you forgo ropes and protection).
While coveted by Colorado climbers, this traverse is not mapped as a part of this adventure. Sources: https://www.summitpost.org/little-bear-peak/150456 https://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=litt6&peak=Blanca%2C+Ellingwood+and+Little+Bear