Tom Helvie on Tension Tamer.
Bear Crag is the best summer, "steep" crag on the eastside. The rock quality isn't the best, but it is fun to climb on. Usually the bad rock is limited to the first few meters of the climb. The climbing is mostly steep jughauling on blocky, volcanic rock. The climbs are well protected with bolts. Logistically this cliff is somewhat of a nightmare. It is located inside the Reds Meadow area of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. What this means is that you must get up early (gate closes at 7am) to drive in or you will have to take the shuttle. There is also a $7 per day use fee. If you get up early enough and make it to the parking area, you're then faced with a confusing hike on faint trails. If you actually make it to the crag, you'll probably be rewarded with solitude.
Take highway 203 past the Mammoth Ski Area, through the pay gate and down to the Reds Meadow, and the Rainbow Falls Trailhead parking. Start down the Rainbow Falls trail. After a (dry) streambed, cut left on a very faint path that connects to the stock trail. Follow the stock trail until it crosses the creek. Take another faint trail on the left, through the burnt out area and up to the crag on the left. Actually, get Marty Lewis' Mammoth Area Rock Climbs guide or you will probably be wondering aimlessly for days through the charred forest.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Bear Crag:
Featured Route For Bear Crag
|By Tim Steele|
From: Bishop, CA.
Jan 24, 2007
Props to the route developers here. Fun crag!
|By John Robinson|
From: Elk Grove, ca
Jul 30, 2011
An alternate way to get to Bear Crag is don't turn Left where Marty's book says, continue on the Rainbow falls trail till it crosses the bridge at Boundary Creek. 50' after the bridge go left and continue 100 to 200 feet and look for a use trail. This use trail disappears in spots but does go all the way to the crag. This alternate has more vertical gain/loss but has less bushwhacking and a "better" defined use trail.
The climbs we did 7/11 were excellent and the rock is excellent. This area stays in the shade till at least noon and some of the cliffs till 2 pm
|By Kyle Townsend|
From: Oakland, CA
Aug 23, 2012
For a comprehensive guide to this area, please refer to Mammoth Area Rock Climbs by Marty Lewis and John Moynier, Chapter 6: Reds Meadow Area, Bear Crag (pg. 135).
Marty has contributed immensely to the development of the Eastside Sierra, and even with the advent of technologies such as Mountain Project, it's important to have integrity with our values as climbers and support the people who make climbing such incredible routes possible.
Thanks to Marty Lewis, John Moynier, Peter Croft, and all the other great climbers who have not only established some of the most fantastic world-class routes in the Sierra, but also for making such arduous efforts to proliferate this information for all to enjoy.
Climb on, climb strong!