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The Bear

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bear Arete, The S 
Bear Crack, The T 
Bear Cub Crack T 
Bear Fingers T 
Bear's Choice S 
Beast of Burden S 
Beast, The T 
Black Hole Sun S 
Body Snatcher S 
Brazin S 
Grigio S 
Jason and the Argonauts S,TR 
Jekyll and Hyde S 
Just Bearly T 
Kidnapped S 
Kill Uncle S,TR 
Kodiak S 
Lower Arete S,TR 
Mark's Moderate T,S 
Napa Valley Party Service S 
Old And In The Way S 
Old Ghost S 
Polar Bear Spire S 
Rampage S 
Silverado Squatters S 
Smash n Grab S 
Stone Free S 
Swallow My Pride S 
Theodore Roosevelt S,TR 
Treasure Island S 
Uncle Tom S 
Ursa Major T 
Ursa Minor, aka: Guillotine Crack T 
Wayne's World S 

The Bear Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 3,258'
Location: 38.652, -122.61094 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 18,645
Administrators: Aron Quiter, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Jun 18, 2002

Thanksgiving Day

46° | 33°

45° | 32°

44° | 34°

46° | 38°

48° | 41°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...


The Bear is one of the highest areas on Mt. St. Helena, and it's name probably comes from the fact that it's a pain in the ass to get up to it. The climbing is on a large overhanging face and ranges from 5.9's to 5.12's. On the right side of the main face, there exists 3 second pitch routes that don't see much traffic. They can be approached from any of the climbs beneath because of the sizable ledge at their base. Finally, be a nice belayer and try not to lower climbers into the sharp trees beneath the climbs. Loose rocks above the second pitch climbs make it advisable to always wear a helmet at the base if any other groups are up top.

Getting There 

Approach time: From the bubble: 5-10 minutes.From the road: 20 - 45 minutes.

Per Dodrill's comment. There is now an excellent approach trail to the Bear. Continue up the fire trail maybe 1/4 mile from the bubble, going past the Bear looming above on the left. As the fire trail takes a hard left there is a good narrow trail that traverses back right through manzanita and young pines towards the Bear.

The beta photo on the right is now very wrong. Hopefully our dear administrators will delete it sometime.

Old approach beta that is only here for posterity:
From the switchback at the bubble, continue up the firetrail about 150 yards and look for a steep, loose trail leading up from the left side of the road (its not too obvious). There's a dead tree across the road from the road form the beginning of the trail, but it doesn't really stand out, so we figured we'd supply some pictures.Upon finding the trail, you have about a 5 minute pain in the ass hike up the steep, loose path until you come to the left-most end of the bear. The first climb you'll come to is Jeckyl & Hyde and then Rampage, which begins near the noticable tree. As you continue adjacent to the rock, the Chimney climb, Mark's Moderate is a very recognizable landmark if you become disoriented.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.4 miles from here

34 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',17],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Bear

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Bear:
The Bear Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
Mark's Moderate   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 120'   
Bear Fingers   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 55'   
Lower Arete   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Kidnapped   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Silverado Squatters   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Jekyll and Hyde   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Rampage   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 60'   
Black Hole Sun   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
The Beast   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Uncle Tom   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Beast of Burden   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Smash n Grab   5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 85'   
Stone Free   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Body Snatcher   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Kill Uncle   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Treasure Island   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Swallow My Pride   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Jason and the Argonauts   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Bear's Choice   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Bear

Featured Route For The Bear
Rock Climbing Photo: Jonathan Hans on Treasure Island

Treasure Island 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  CA : San Francisco Bay Area : ... : The Bear
This new line (2012) begins on NVPS, sharing its crux and first bolt then continuing straight up through five new bolts. Step right to finish on Stone Free anchor. The route requires intriguing body tension movement and an improbable thin crux up a steep wall. A bit harder and more sustained than neighboring Stone Free....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of The Bear Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
Rock Climbing Photo: DO NOT USE- historic 2002 approach to the bear
DO NOT USE- historic 2002 approach to the bear
Rock Climbing Photo: Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....
Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear Cliff Topo
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo

Comments on The Bear Add Comment
Show which comments
By Brian Quiter
From: Oakland, CA
May 1, 2004
Um... perhaps i should have written 250 yards up from the bubble. Also, the dead tree is gone, but you can identify the steep start to the trail by the roots on the right side of the beta pict that facilitate getting up the really lose and steep part.
By Dodrill
From: Sebastopol, CA
Feb 19, 2006
The Bear gets morning sun and afternoon shade. In winter it's best to climb in the sun all morning then go to the Bubble, satellites, or Crystal Pockets when it gets shady and cold. In summer the hike can be brutally hot but The Bear is great all afternoon, after 2:pm, until dark. Don't forget a headlamp for the hike down. Bring more water than you think you will need. It gets cold when the clouds rolls in. Bring a wind shirt or jacket.

Bear GPS: N38.39.120 W122.36.657 elev:3258'
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
May 5, 2008
You can get up and down every route at the Bear with a 50m rope.
By Dodrill
From: Sebastopol, CA
Nov 26, 2008
Updated approach beta: Please don't use the nasty erosion slope approach. Walk another couple hundred yards up the road (you will pass the cliff), and watch for the trail to your left that takes you casually to the crag.

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