REI Community
The Bear
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Arete (aka 3-Star Arete) S 
Bear Arete 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 
Jekyll and Hyde S 
Just Bearly T 
Kidnapped S 
Kill Uncle S 
Kodiak S 
Mark's Moderate T 
Moonshine 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 (aka Teddy Bear) S 
Treasure Island S 
Uncle Tom S 
Ursa Major T 
Ursa Minor, aka: Guillotine Crack T 
Wayne's World S 

Mark's Moderate 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a R

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a R [details]
FA: Mark Howe (1998)
Page Views: 2,532
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Apr 30, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (33)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Eric B. on early lead of "Marks Moderate"...


Mark's Moderate begins in the very obvious wide crack in the center of the Bear. Easy chimneying brings you past the first few bolts until the crack gets narrow enough to require a little thought. After the fourth bolt, head a little right to meet the 3 bolt anchor.

The second pitch is pretty fun. It heads straight up from the anchor past three bolts, then follows an overhung crack on a very featured face.

To the right of the crack, the rock is very lose. There's also a lose side-pull block near the third bolt. So be careful and very aware if there are people at the base of the bear.


4 bolts and a piton to 3 bolt belay on ledge, then 5 bolts to 2 bolts up top. The second pitch is a little runout at times but can easily be supplemented with a 1 or 2 inch cam. The top anchors are 20 feet back from the top ledge, and the ledge is full of loose rock. It is wisest to belay from up top and to BRING HELMETS!!!!You can walk off to the left via the crystal pockets area (see area overview map) or rappell off the top of Theodore Roosevelt and do a second rappell from the 1st pitch belay ledge.

Photos of Mark's Moderate Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sophia getting waay up in the first pitch.
Sophia getting waay up in the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: View of upper climbs on the Bear
BETA PHOTO: View of upper climbs on the Bear

Comments on Mark's Moderate Add Comment
Show which comments
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Mar 15, 2006

Moderately sustained. A fall clipping almost any bolt would be a messy, bloody, twisted, agonizing.....well, not good. Made me think a bit though. Definitely not 5.9 like my guide book said. .10a/bR is more what I was thinking.
By Matteo Fiori
From: Mariposa, CA
Nov 15, 2007

I agree with above post; 5.9+ sustained maybe. I took it easy and went with Theodore Rooseveldt on the second pitch. Much less heady for a rookie leader. Surprisingly good rock quality, though the top needs a good sweeping! Look out below!
By daniel c
From: San Francisco, CA
Sep 6, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

With a .75 - 1 cam to protect between third and fourth bolt, I would take away the R but its still a little spicy. Be careful with the lichen on this route - chossiness goes down in the late summer / fall. Sustained 5.9 with 10a move over the bulge. Have fun! Enjoy the view and quiet from top.
By Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, CA
Dec 1, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

I did the second or third ascent of this with Mark back in the day. It was loose and covered in thick lichen. I swore it was .10b, and still haven't been back on it.
By Mark K. Howe
Jun 9, 2010

If you are runout on this climb, chances are you missed one of the camouflage painted bolts, a small cam or nut will take some of the bite out of reaching the waco near the top.
P.S. I always like to point out that the climb is called "Marks Moderate", as in, Mark is moderate...the climb is hard. I remember that Eric B. made short work of the crux bulge on this.
By marc g
From: San Francisco, CA
Aug 31, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

This was a fun, two-pitch route that was probably 5.10a. the last part of both pitches seemed kind of run out. the 1st pitch was an easy end than followed a crack to the right. The second pitch (on the right) ends with a nice arete move about 5 feet over the bolt. The top was littered with small stones that can easily rain down on the bottom belayer(s).
By Floyd Hayes
Sep 21, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

This climb offers a fun variety of climbing techniques, which is why it is now my favorite on Mt. St. Helena. It isn't runout if you use a cam or two. Pitch 1 is well protected with easy chimneying (5.6?) until it narrows at the 3rd bolt, followed by a few moves of 5.9 face climbing on the left side, then easy face climbing (5.4?) which can be protected by clipping the anchors of Lower Arete on the left and Black Hole Sun on the right (and by 0.2-1" cams). Pitch 2 has four cruxes, each steep but mercifully short followed by good stances: (1) face climbing above the 2nd bolt (look for the 3rd bolt to the right; the bolt to the left is for Teddy Bear); (2) crack climbing over a bulge well above the 3rd bolt but easy to protect with one or two 1-2" cams; (3) an arete/crack protected by the 4th bolt; and (4) a wild, slightly overhanging corner protected unnecessarily by the 5th bolt, which I didn't see until after I had placed a 3" cam. It's virtually impossible not to knock off some small flakes piling up at the top of the climb, but fortunately they're small. I recommend descending by walking left for 20' to the anchor for Teddy Bear (aka Theodore Roosevelt) and rapping 75' to the first anchor of Mark's Moderate (more comfortable than the anchor at the base of Teddy Bear), then 85' to the ground.
Jan 3, 2012

Runout?? Maybe the term is height dependent ;) but i didnt feel runout at all on this. I brought a few misc pieces to supplement, but couldnt be bothered to place them. The route is too fun and thought provoking!
Dirty, but very secure the whole way. Also did Theodore Roosevelt while we were up there.
By Bruno Beltran
From: Stanford, CA
Aug 19, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Route is pretty clean now. Clipping a rusty fixed piton makes it no longer feel all that run out. Still a long way to the first anchor from the last bolt, but by then you're on easy fifth class...

Overall, pretty solid route, thoughtful and varied. My go-to for introducing my friends to the area.

Early August 2016 saw an infestation of ants at the Theodore Roosevelt anchors and a couple of the ledges on the way up, beware....
By Christopher Clobus
Nov 14, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Stem up the chimney (there's a few bolts). Clip the old piton for mental health before truckin up an over the buldge to another bolt. After that, scramble up to the right to the three bolt anchor. Great climb IMO. Bring your stem skillz!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About