While the Lake Como Rd.
is seldom officially closed for the winter, even fewer cars will be able to make the trip if there's snow present. While this route is doable in the winter months, it's extremely difficult already, and generally avoided.
While dogs may be able to summit Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point
, they will not be able to do Little Bear Peak without being placed in a backpack. If your goal is this mountain, leave Fido at home.
This is a challenging hike for even experienced mountain folk. Due to steep grades, exposure, and loose rock, this is not a runnable route.
Note: this description is for Little Bear's standard route (West Ridge/Southwest Face, AKA the Hourglass) as ascended. For a description of the reverse and alternative ascent routes, see Tour de Little Bear
From your camp at Lake Como, head east on a clear, flat trail just north of the lake. Wrap around down to the south before heading uphill into some trees. Pop out of the trees at around 12,000 ft, continuing along a crushed gravel path. Take the first clear gully to your right, crossing a stream and then starting up steep, loose talus to reach a ridge descending from Little Bear's summit.
Pass through a notch in the ridge, turning left at around 12,800 ft. Continue on the right of this ridge along some talus. There isn't much of a trail here. In about 0.25 miles, the talus gets steeper. Staying just to the right of the ridge will take you to a clear gully to your left. This is the "Hourglass." If your helmet isn't already on, don that bad boy. You are likely to need it.
The Hourglass is a steep, loose, and narrow gully, often crusted with verglas. While there is usually a fixed rope at the top, it is seldom maintained or checked for frays, so it should be avoided. The scrambling here consists of large rock steps, usually about 4-6 ft in height, with good foot and hand-holds. Continue up, one climber at a time so as to minimize rockfall risk, for about 400 vertical ft. This puts you just underneath the summit of Little Bear. Continue on some ledges covered with smaller rocks and loose gravel for another 300 ft or so to reach the summit.
Seeing as you'll be on rock within twenty minutes of leaving camp, don't expect to see much in the way of plants and critters.