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The Bear
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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 

The Bear Crack 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Wade Mills and Forest Shute
Page Views: 2,277
Submitted By: Jerry Dodrill on May 17, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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Bear Crack


This is THE crack climb in North Bay (which isn't saying much). It features hand and fist crack climbing, with some lie-backing, wideness, and good exposure. There's an old Star Dryvin bolt half way up. Don't clip it. Instead put a good 2.5" cam in the crack then fire the crux.


Scramble up the gully right of the Bear sport routes, 4th class, up through oak trees to the base of the obvious crack that splits the upper face.


Bring 2 each, cams 1"-4". Three #3 camalots is a good idea. There is a two bolt anchor on the ledge to the left at the top.

Photos of The Bear Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear Crack
Bear Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Lava and Lichen fest - yea!
Lava and Lichen fest - yea!
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack on the right as seen on the approach from th...
BETA PHOTO: Crack on the right as seen on the approach from th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Class 4 start
BETA PHOTO: Class 4 start
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of route
BETA PHOTO: Start of route

Comments on The Bear Crack Add Comment
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By daniel c
From: San Francisco, CA
Sep 6, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Crack often opens up in the back, making for great jams but tricky gear placements. 1-3 inch hexes would be perfect. Otherwise, load-up on larger cams but bring at least one .5 for near the top. Look for and pass two bolt anchor to climber's left, climbing up class 5 section to ledge with two bolts separated by ~2 feet. Two raps - first to the ledge, then to ground (be careful not to rain rocks on climbers below). Route gets very little traffic which adds to the chossiness but also the adventure factor. Do it if your jonesing for some trad! Well worth it.
By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Jul 26, 2010

Rope solo with a few pieces. I was in need of some excitement. The crux is at a bulge about 2/3 up--a # 4 camalot fits here. One or two fist moves for me. After that, much easier.
By Floyd Hayes
Oct 29, 2013
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

More physical, sustained and challenging than I thought it would be. For me the crux was hanging on while spending like 2-5 minutes trying to figure out how to fit each cam that I placed in the gnarly cracks (to my dismay I had to rest three times). It was harder than a lot of 5.10a trad climbs that I led, although I'll admit it was easier than a few "5.9s" (specifically pitch 2 of Traveler Buttress and pitch 2 of Reed's Pinnacle Direct, so if you think they're typical 5.9s you can consider this climb a 5.8!). You can rap down with a single 60 m rope.
By Rude Boy
From: San Francisco, CA
Nov 14, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I used 2-#1's, 2-#3's and 2-#4's to lead up to the crux. Under the roof crux there is a perfect "divot" at the top of the wide crack that fits a bomber #4. If you find that you're golden, otherwise the placements seemed kinda sketchy. After the crux there is a nice splitter 5.7 hand crack that I placed one .75 in at the start and then ran it out 50 feet to the chains to make it more exciting. Can rap to the ground with one 60 m or go half way to another set of chains at a ledge to climbers left and do 2 raps. I'd say the crux is 5.9+ or maybe 5.10a for a couple of moves. I usually don't wear tape when crack climbing but the crux of this thing has some razor sharp hand jams. Wear tape.
By grabski
From: N California
Jun 27, 2016
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Yeah the route feels like low 5.10. Though with the FA decades ago I can understand the .9+ grading.

An adventurous climb worth doing. Not for the wary leader. The pro is there, but it's not obvious due to the nature of the crack and loose rock in places. There's a spot for a sling around a big chockstone before the bulge, and maybe another thread/sling opportunity beforehand. I'd recommend your belayer wear a helmet, especially when lowering from the anchors since the face is dirty. 70m takes you fully to the ground from the chains on the left at the top, looks like 60m will too.

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