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Bear's Reach 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Berry and Linnett, 1956
Page Views: 24,707
Submitted By: Guy H. on Feb 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (296)
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The runout section on the first pitch...

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This is one of the classic 5.7 climbs at the Leap that should not be missed.

P1: Start in a short right facing flake for about 20ft, Do a short unprotected traverse up and left to another lieback flake. Continue upwards into a left facing flake system, which will take some larger gear. The short runnout at the beginning of this pitch, though easy climbing, has resulted in a couple helicopter rescues, claimed a few ankles and caused a few good falls over the years. Climb slow and keep under control with an alert and competent belayer, or choose another route until you're 100% confident.

P2: The "reach" pitch. Follow fun cracks and face holds to the large reach. Continue up on solid 5.6 overlaps to a good ledge.

P3: Follow a right leaning crack system with a wide crack over a roof/bulge to the top, or traverse right up a low angle sloping ramp to the top.


gear to 3.5"

Photos of Bear's Reach Slideshow Add Photo
Bear's Reach.
Bear's Reach.
Reaching on Bear's Reach.
Reaching on Bear's Reach.
Finishing the first pitch.  Note the anchor up hig...
BETA PHOTO: Finishing the first pitch. Note the anchor up hig...
1st Pitch! Great climb!
1st Pitch! Great climb!
Bear's Reach.  I've only climbed it once, so let m...
BETA PHOTO: Bear's Reach. I've only climbed it once, so let m...
The 2nd pitch of Bear's reach
BETA PHOTO: The 2nd pitch of Bear's reach
All smiles on the first pitch.
All smiles on the first pitch.
just below the bear's reach move
just below the bear's reach move
heading up the first pitch
heading up the first pitch
Second pitch above the "reach".
Second pitch above the "reach".
Anne starting up the 2nd pitch
BETA PHOTO: Anne starting up the 2nd pitch
Charleen on "Bear's Reach", first pitch....
Charleen on "Bear's Reach", first pitch....
The direct finish.
The direct finish.
Jason just after the "Bear's Reach" move...
BETA PHOTO: Jason just after the "Bear's Reach" move...
Looking down the steep and dreamy 2nd pitch
Looking down the steep and dreamy 2nd pitch
Jim Bridwell on "Bear's Reach". Photo by...
Jim Bridwell on "Bear's Reach". Photo by...
Brett making his way up the flake section  on the ...
BETA PHOTO: Brett making his way up the flake section on the ...
Dana starts up the Bear's Reach.
Dana starts up the Bear's Reach.
Second pitch of Bear's reach, nearing "The Bu...
Second pitch of Bear's reach, nearing "The Bu...
Dana a bit higher on P1 of Bear's Reach.
Dana a bit higher on P1 of Bear's Reach.
scott muir on bear's reach, lover's leap. best 5.7...
scott muir on bear's reach, lover's leap. best 5.7...
Be forewarned, 3 popular routes converge at this b...
Be forewarned, 3 popular routes converge at this b...
Top of pitch #1
Top of pitch #1

Comments on Bear's Reach Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 29, 2015
By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Apr 18, 2006

One of the funnest 5.7's in you will ever do. It's a classic. Great potection. I didn't have much trouble on the "reach". My wife 5.2' did not have trouble either.
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 1, 2006

Watch in disbelief as the late Dan Osman free solos the 400' route
By Evan1984
Mar 6, 2008

Not to be missed!!! You are cheating yourself if you go through Tahoe without stopping to do this. Also, check corrugation corner if bears reach has a line; IMHO more intimidating, but very reasonable.

Dan's video is what got me into climbing and getting to do this climb was very exciting for me.

This climbing feels like a 5.7 and gear is good even for chickens like me.
By GMBurns
Jul 21, 2008

The reach on P2 isn't so bad, but I was worried while climbing the flakes. They provide a definite lack of security and make this climb a bit heady. Even so, it's jugs nearly all the way up. The 5.9 beached whale finish is a worthy last move at the very top.
By Tom Johnson
From: Colorado Springs, or Santa Fe
Aug 5, 2008

Super fun route. Would have to disagree with Floridaputz about the reach. I'm 5'8" and I struggled to get it! Still doable, but it takes a bit more creativity to stand up high enough. And if you're used to sandstone, tapping on all those hollow flakes will scare the crap out of you.
By Bruce Willey
From: Bishop, CA
Aug 24, 2008

The .9 finish is not to be missed. With all that liebacking below, it adds something really special to the end.
By bob branscomb
From: Lander, WY
Apr 1, 2009

Where else but Lover's Leap can you be on a 5.7 and look straight to the deck for 300 feet between your heels? Great route.
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
May 23, 2009

I'm 5'6" and have a negative ape index; I didn't feel the reach was that bad. In fact, I wasn't even sure I had climbed the "reachy" part until I was done with the pitch.
By Wesley Ashwood
From: Squamish, BC
Jul 20, 2009

Great route! The reach is fun with plenty of good feet is you are not as lanky as someone like me. The 5.9 move at the top is definetely worth it, though it felt a little more than a 5.9 after waiting at the 2nd belay for 45 minutes for a group from east face to finish up. Its worth bringing 2 sets of cams, I had to run things out a little more than I would have liked.
By Tim Camuti
From: Placerville, CA
Aug 16, 2009

Not worth the hype.
The climbing was unremarkable and the high number of rotten flakes meant that I trusted only about 3 pieces of pro per pitch. I was comfortable on the climb, but the poor rock condition greatly diminished any "classic" value this has. Many better climbs on the East Wall.
By Blitzo
Aug 24, 2010

A great 5.7.
By anthony509
From: grass valley, ca
Apr 30, 2012
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

the reach is real; trouble is up to you
more places are no good for pro than usual here, still protectable
By Phil McAllister
Jun 25, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The reach isn't so bad. i'm 5ft8in - the obvious holds are the flakes (i was expecting the reach to be between two huge jugs bit flakes') my arms were just a little bit too short - until i got my feet on the much smaller face holds - they're allover the right side of the 'reach holds' and perfectly decent holds.
By Mitchell Rhodes
Apr 11, 2013

On-sight free-solo. Jugtastic.
By grega
Jul 15, 2013

Not sure which move was the "reach". For a 5'10"+ climber there was nothing "reachy". Besides with all the fixed gear on the 2nd pitch, the crux was kind of like a sport route.. :-). I felt the hardest move was at ~30ft off the ground on the first pitch.
By Hendo
From: Denver, CO
Jul 16, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Some of the most unique climbing I've ever done. A must do for sure. I was pretty exhausted from the 9 pitches I'd done in the last 24 hours (with minimal sleep), so the burly moves were more of a chore than fun at that point. But I can see how this is a classic! I almost lost my precious #3 C4 on this route as well. So yeah, I need to try it again - fresh and without pesky stuck cams!
By Logan Swartz
From: Davis, CA
Sep 9, 2013

Watched a guy deck yesterday while I was belaying from the base of Scimitar. I had a cell phone so we helped call 911 and he got helicoptered out. I think he might just end up with broken ribs. He luckily landed on the cleared off sand patch instead of the talice. He fell on the left facing flake 3 pieces up ~40ft up on the first pitch. He pulled a cam from the flake and a nut. I haven't climbed it but from looking at it and word of mouth beta I think he probably was wailing on the flake he placed the piece of gear in. So be careful with those flakes they maybe wobbily!! Also he bumped his head and his belayer got hit in the head by the cam he blew! The climber was not wearing a helmet! Wear helmets!!
By Crimpanzee
From: San Francisco, California
Jul 15, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I recommend climbing very delicately on this route. Spread out body weight and try not to yank with all of your might. Use dikes and face holds over hollow flakes if you can. As a local told us, those flakes do come off. The reach move isn't bad at all (5'7" climber here). If you've ever climbed small face holds in a gym or on a sport climb, there's a few of these you can use, then it's just a small hop up to grab the jugs. If you're going to clip any of the half-dozen or so stuck gear pieces, just check them first. The 5.9 finish is fun. I pulled on the left corner with both hands, put both feet out on the left wall, used friction on the top with my left hand and then heaved my ass up and plopped it down on the corner to avoid the beached whale. A #4 will protect the move.
By Ted Sumers
Aug 26, 2014

IMO this climb is really overrated. The start's kinda runout; the first pitch is full of terrifying hollow flakes and the first anchor is a complete POS.

The second pitch has some fun movement, but not enough to make up for the first, and the one-move-wonder third pitch is shared with several other classic lines, so you'll definitely get to do it another day.

I'm not surprised people solo this-- I kind of felt like I was, and my followers were, too.
By Muscrat
Dec 17, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Partner and i are of a mind that East Crack is a superior line, and might even be easier. Certainly less heady, the start on Bear's can be freaky for nubes. The easy 5.8 on East Crack protects well, the fall is clean, and it finishes on the shared 3rd pitch
That all said, this is one of those easy classics one must do at least once. And imagine doing it in 4 minutes! OUCH!
By TradladReno
From: South Lake Tahoe, Ca
Mar 11, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Now having done this climb, I can't really see myself ever repeating it. There are so many better routes at the Leap, and even for people just getting into multi pitch, there are many better options to do if you are venturing out here. Sure, everything is worth doing once, but the climbing was mediocre at best. Still a great day out, though.
By WadeM
May 3, 2015

Not a surprise for the locals, but bolts will not be found on this route. New climbers - avoid building a high belay on p1 in the hollow flakes.
By James Cranston
From: Boulder, CO
1 day ago
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This was my (third?) outdoor lead on gear (I got pitches 1 and 3). As I was following up P2 I remember asking the party behind us who got to the first belay, "Is this move up ahead the bear's reach move?" and got as a reply "nope, you already passed it!" so basically I didn't even notice what the "bear's reach" was, since there are plenty face holds to use nearby.

I though the most difficult part of the climb was the 5.7 lieback on pitch 1, which if I remember is about 30 feet or so off the deck. I had a good stopper to protect it but the liebacking was a bit scary especially (for the beginner 5.7 leader). The "runout" at the very beginning feels trivial especially with all the dikes (see the 5.6R on Scimitar P2 for scary).

This route is super popular, and we were not the first party on even for getting up at 5:30am. The pro is OK... there are a lot of "thin" flakes to put gear in. There were even some larger blobs of stone that decided to move on me as I was going up (I think P1?) so just be careful. Use long slings for the traverse right at the end.
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