Bear Creek Spire North Arete

Tom's Place, California

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Bear Creek Spire was another of Norman Clyde’s favorite peaks, and for many years he maintained a spring ski mountaineering camp at its base. David Brower wrote much of his classic 1940 Sierra Club Manual of Ski Mountaineering at one of these camps. Clyde described Bear Creek Spire as “an unusually impressive mountain of the Matterhorn type. On all sides, except the west, it drops away in almost vertical walls hundreds of feet in height. The summit itself is a single monolith, only a few feet in diameter, from which these jagged aretes radiate.” Clyde’s route up the northeast ridge provides an enjoyable scramble (Class 4) and is highly recommended. This route joins the north arete for the final knife-edged pitches to the summit. The north arete of Bear Creek Spire is a fine alpine route offering varied climbing on excellent high country granite. The route is deceptively long, as the view from below is foreshortened, and many teams have been caught by darkness while traversing the final pitches to the summit.

Bear Creek Spire: North Arete Professional Review and Guide

"Bear Creek Spire was another of Norman Clyde’s favorite peaks, and for many years he maintained a spring ski mountaineering camp at its base. David Brower wrote much of his classic 1940 Sierra Club Manual of Ski Mountaineering at one of these camps. Clyde described Bear Creek Spire as “an unusually impressive mountain of the Matterhorn type. On all sides, except the west, it drops away in almost vertical walls hundreds of feet in height. The summit itself is a single monolith, only a few feet in diameter, from which these jagged aretes radiate.” Clyde’s route up the northeast ridge provides an enjoyable scramble (Class 4) and is highly recommended. This route joins the north arete for the final knife-edged pitches to the summit. The north arete of Bear Creek Spire is a fine alpine route offering varied climbing on excellent high country granite. The route is deceptively long, as the view from below is foreshortened, and many teams have been caught by darkness while traversing the final pitches to the summit."

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Tom's Place
Class: Class 5.6 - 5.8
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Morgan, Mt. Abbot, Mt. Hilgard
Grade: Grade III
Driving Directions: Directions to Bear Creek Spire: North Arete

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May 2018