Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Berry and Linnett, 1956
Page Views: 62,910 total · 400/month
Shared By: Guy H. on Feb 18, 2006
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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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"


Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
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. Apr 18, 2006
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Watch in disbelief as the late Dan Osman free solos the 400' route in 4:25 (that's 4 MINUTES!).

youtube.com/watch?v=NCByLWt… Sep 1, 2006
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. Mar 6, 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. Jul 21, 2008
Tom Johnson
Colorado Springs, or Santa Fe
Tom Johnson   Colorado Springs, or Santa Fe
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. Aug 5, 2008
Bruce Willey
Bishop, CA
Bruce Willey   Bishop, CA
The .9 finish is not to be missed. With all that liebacking below, it adds something really special to the end. Aug 24, 2008
bob branscomb
Lander, WY
bob branscomb   Lander, WY
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. Apr 1, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
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. May 23, 2009
Wesley Ashwood
Squamish, BC
Wesley Ashwood   Squamish, BC
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. Jul 20, 2009
Tim Camuti
Placerville, CA
Tim Camuti   Placerville, CA
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. Aug 16, 2009
A great 5.7. Aug 24, 2010
anthony509 Excelsior
las vegas nv
anthony509 Excelsior   las vegas nv
the reach is real; trouble is up to you
more places are no good for pro than usual here, still protectable Apr 30, 2012
Phil McAllister  
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. Jun 25, 2012
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. Jul 15, 2013
Hendo Henderson
Denver, CO
Hendo Henderson   Denver, CO
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! Jul 16, 2013
Robert Shortt
San Francisco, CA
Robert Shortt   San Francisco, CA
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. Jul 15, 2014
Ted Sumers  
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. Aug 26, 2014

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! Dec 17, 2014
MisterCattell Cattell
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
MisterCattell Cattell   South Lake Tahoe, Ca
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. Mar 11, 2015
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
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. May 3, 2015
James Cranston
Boulder, CO
James Cranston   Boulder, CO
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. Jun 29, 2015
Ken Noyce
Layton, UT
Ken Noyce   Layton, UT
Okay route, biggest issue was the poor rock quality, there were quite a few loose flakes on the route. As far as the reach, my wife is like 5.6 and when she got to the top of the second pitch and asked her how "the reach" went she didn't even remember there being any reachy moves. Aug 17, 2016
King Tut
Citrus Heights
  5.7 X
King Tut   Citrus Heights
  5.7 X
I'm really badass and when I went to climb this and was like "where's the climb?" but then I realized I had magically floated to the top and put the send on this bad boy. Super cereal.

Best 5.7 north of Snake Dike. Trad Rad. Dec 6, 2016
Jason Todd
Cody, WY
Jason Todd   Cody, WY
Alex H breaks Osman's time.

youtube.com/watch?v=Mi4iR4c… Dec 8, 2016
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
So good! Thanks for posting that Dec 8, 2016
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
That video just made my day! Thanks for posting! Dec 8, 2016
Kathy K.
Kathy K.   SLT CA
Beware: Rattlesnake in the bushes at the base of Bear's Reach 5/26/17 4 pm May 27, 2017
5/28/17 — we saw a large rattlesnake hanging out just behind the boulder above the 5.9 mantle finish. Other climbers saw it as well over the past few days.

Easy to walk around, but keep an eye out. May 29, 2017
I avoided the rotten first belay by continuing about 10 ft above the ledge. There is a more solid flake that takes hand size pieces and does not feel like it is about to explode. No cushy ledge to sit on, though.

The mantle move to finish is well protected with a BD 3. May 29, 2017
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
If you're a competent 5.9/5.10 leader and finish off with the traverse right up top I would bring 1 #3 for that anchor, otherwise you don't need any gear larger than #2 C4 for the route. I'd actually just bring 1 #2 c4 if I was to do it again. pitch 1 and 2 anchor takes small stuff (.4 and smaller) Jul 23, 2018
Martin Kunz
Martin Kunz  
So far my least favorite route on the East Wall. I dreaded all the hollow, fragile flakes and loose blocks. Obviously they are also all useless for protection. Am still not sure which move was the Bear's Reach, but I am 5'11", so maybe that's a bit cheating. Sep 19, 2018