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Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8) T 
Full Repertoire, The T 
No Questa About It T 

Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8) 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 310'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jay Foley, Paul Judges, Donna Longo and Joaquin Kline
Season: All
Page Views: 4,323
Submitted By: Mike Howard on Nov 1, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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Sir Chris Bonington,third pitch,BMPM. FoleyPhoto


An excellent description is already published in Jay's Book. Climb starts at cairned slab. The belay stance is in an alcove on a narrow ledge. Rope-up below small tree and stay on slab left of gully to large tree with slings (1st belay). From here you can continue left on 5.7 slab to anchor at base of wall (pass 2nd tree with slings - this tree is 61 meters from the starting ledge). The other choice (preferred) climbs up right from the first belay to a bolted 5.10 slab. The 3rd pitch is stellar. Bring adequate runners for slinging chicken heads. Three choices on the finish. The standard goes direct into the short steep cleft with a finger to hand sized cam protecting the final 5.8 moves. Other finishes go left on 5.7 unprotectable slab with wild exposure or right into the loose gully (5.5?). One of the best 5.8 trad pitches anywhere.

"The top pitch of the Five Eight Variant was pure magic, dramatis, steep and yet with superb holds" Sir Chris Bonnington.


Approach as for Questa Dome but turn left and work way uphill about 50 ft. prior to finally reaching stream. Walk between boulders on faint climber trail to base of Legs (of El Oso).


Standard rack, few extra runners for slingin' necks.

Photos of Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the "money pitch" of BMPM. J...
Climbers on the "money pitch" of BMPM. J...
Rock Climbing Photo: The last pitch of Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre.  ...
The last pitch of Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The heavily featured and exposed third pitch.
The heavily featured and exposed third pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8), The ...
BETA PHOTO: Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8), The ...

Comments on Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 25, 2014
By Bowe Ellis
From: Taos, NM
Jun 17, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Peronally I think the crux is the move around the bulge on pitch 1, which is 5.7 with so-so pro. The final pitch is steep, the pro is pretty much all slinging of chickenheads, and there's the amazing airy step-around to get onto the headwall... but the climbing is so bloody easy. I give the final pitch a 5.7 with a + for airiness. Without a doubt the last pitch makes the climb.
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Oct 4, 2008
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

The descriptions here and in Foley are just vague enough to keep the routefinding spicy (which is, of course, the nature of backcountry climbing). But, I did waste a fair amount of time puzzling out the bottom pitches, which are brushy and sort of convoluted. If you want a few more tidbits of beta for the 5.8 route, read on. If you don't, then don't read on.

The cairned climbers' trail takes you to a ledge at the base of a slab, with a rock fin behind you; the fin pinches into the slab farther to the left. P1 starts on this ledge, in the crack system immediately left of the 2" diameter tree at about eye level. Foley and suggest P1 is a 'slab', but this is not strictly slab (i.e., friction) climbing (which caused me some confusion in identifying the start of P1). You actually follow the vertical cracks and fissures up and left of the tiny tree for a while before getting to the bulge. Above the corner system, you pass a 6" diameter bent tree (maybe this used to have slings on it?) and then another little sapling, and just past that is a decent stance for a semi-hanging belay on gear (or, if I understand Foley correctly, he says you can try to make it to the slung rappel tree up higher? but that seems like it would be a real rope-stretcher even with 60m).

On P2, get to the big slung rappel-station tree and continue up, not 45' right as directed by Foley. ~30' up, and then ~30' right will take you to the expansive sloping belay ledge at the left edge of the arete. Gear anchor here.

P3 is straightforward once you find the base of the arete. Beware, if you wander left near the top, it gets thin and runout (scary fun!).

Descent: A 2-bolt anchor at the top of P3 sports a bunch of tat slings and cord (and a screw-link that I backed up with a locking biner). Plan for possibly having to replace some sling. A 2-rope rap (145' according to Foley) takes you to the slung tree on P2. This slung tree may also occasionally need tat removal/replacement, and has a screw-link and a locking biner. Another 2-rope rap from here (minimum 165' according to Foley) takes you to the base of the climb. 60 m ropes will set you down exactly where you started, with no rope to spare.
By Minesh Bacrania
May 9, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The excellent final pitch does make the climb. More chickenheads than you can shake a sling at!

I'd say that the crux involved protecting and getting into the final finger/hand crack.

I think it could be done in two pitches (i.e. same way as the rappel). It would probably be a good test of your rope management skills, though.
By George Perkins
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 10, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The above comment of "spicy routefinding" is exaggerated in my opinion, as I found the description in 'Taos Rock' to be plenty good enough, with a photo showing where to go. There are a few options for the 1st pitch; but none of them are going to get you far off-route on difficult/unprotected ground. Chris is right- pitch 2's written instructions are somewhat off- but the photo is unambiguous and there's really only one obvious way to go. Chris's Beta Photo is accurate, as well, if you're concerned- print that and bring it with you.

Leaders not solid on 5.8 and unaccustomed to tying off chickenheads for pro should be wary of leading the (AMAZING) last pitch.

The rappel stations appeared in good condition in 5/2009.
By Jfoley
Feb 6, 2010

As described in Taos Rock the second pitch climbs the Quality 5.10 bolted slab to the thin hand crack below the ledge.This makes for a much better outing. If you climb 5.10 there is no reason to turn this climb into the lesser quality 5.7 described above.
By Daniel Trugman
From: La Jolla, CA
Feb 7, 2010

Thanks for the info, Jay. Are the bolts relatively new or of the old 1/4 inch variety?
By George Perkins
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 7, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Daniel Trugman wrote:
Are the bolts relatively new or of the old 1/4 inch variety?
All bolts on this route are fairly new (3/8") and no cause for concern. The guidebooks warn people about old bolts at Questa in general, but that is really a non-issue on most climbs here, though a few old bolts are still around.
By Jfoley
Feb 8, 2010

Q of B is The area classic, and of course a better route. However, if your looking for a shorter/easier 5.10 this route is MUCH more appealing if you climb the 5.10 on the second pitch.It gives up some great friction moves, an exiting mantle and a short crack as well! Really no reason to avoid this pitch if you are climbing at the grade. And yes, the bolts are fine. you may want to Bring a 48" runner to sling the plate after the 3rd and final bolt on this pitch. Have Fun!
By Paul Drakos
Sep 30, 2010

I agree with Jay's recommendation that you climb the 5.10 var. on the second pitch. It is great 5.10 thin face climbing, well-protected with 3/8" bolts, with a nice finish up the finger/thin-hands crack to the belay ledge. I'm not sure about the long runner - once you latch onto the plate above the last bolt, you are probably not coming off. Overall an excellent route when you want a shorter day than on Questa Dome. Spectacular setting.
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Oct 9, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

A great way to finish this route (and avoid the PITA double-rope rappels) is to climb one more pitch of 5.8 to finish on Questa Flatiron Original Route. To do this, move the belay from the top of the route to the tree with slings on the top of the Legs. Then climb fun cracks and the wild arete to the top of the Questa Flatiron. A short 45' rappel off the summit and into the gully affords you a nice, swift walk off. No need to climb with two ropes on BMPM.
By Greg Gaskin
From: Bay Area, CA
Apr 25, 2014

Just climbed this yesterday. Third pitch is a gem: easy climbing, big holds, great exposure. There is a nice 2-bolt anchor above the tree at the end of the first pitch. Rappelling down from the slung tree, we were able to reach the ledge described by Chris at the beginning of the first pitch with 2 (stretchy) 60m ropes with about 10ft to spare.

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