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.
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.
Weather station 2.4 miles from here
34 Total Routes
['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',10],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]
Browse More Classics in The Bear
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Bear:
Kidnapped 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, 1 pitch, 50'
Lower Arete 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'
Rampage 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, 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'
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'
Kill Uncle 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'
Featured Route For The Bear
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 moves and an improbable thin crux up a steep wall. A bit harder and much more sustained than Stone Free....[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Latest Regional Forum Messages
BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
DO NOT USE- historic 2002 approach to the bear
Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo
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.
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'
From: Oakland CA
May 5, 2008
You can get up and down every route at the Bear with a 50m rope.
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.