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The Bear

Routes Sorted
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Bear Arete, The 
Bear Crack, The 
Bear Cub Crack 
Bear Fingers 
Bear's Choice 
Beast of Burden 
Beast, The 
Black Hole Sun 
Body Snatcher 
Jason and the Argonauts 
Jekyll and Hyde 
Just Bearly 
Kill Uncle 
Lower Arete 
Mark's Moderate 
Napa Valley Party Service 
Old And In The Way 
Polar Bear Spire 
Silverado Squatters 
Smash n Grab 
Stone Free 
Swallow My Pride 
Theodore Roosevelt 
Treasure Island 
Uncle Tom 
Ursa Major 
Ursa Minor, aka: Guillotine Crack 
Wayne's World 
Unsorted Routes:

The Bear 

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Administrators: Aron Quiter, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Jun 18, 2002
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BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
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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.

31 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

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

Featured Route For The Bear
stone free viewed from the middle of the main rock on The Bear

Stone Free 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a  CA : SF Bay Area : ... : The Bear
Starting on the right side of the main rock of the bear, this is the last climb on the 1st pitch. Crux is a traversy move between the second and third bolts that's more balance than power. Beware the the prominent roof above the 3rd bolt is hollow, and is REALLY loose on the right side. This section is run out, but is probably only 5.8 or so. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For The Bear
Photos of The Bear Slideshow Add Photo
correct approach to the bear
BETA PHOTO: correct approach to the bear
Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St. Helena
Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....
Bear Cliff Topo
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo
Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
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.