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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 

The Bear Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 3,258'
Location: 38.652, -122.61094 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 32,216
Administrators: Aron Quiter, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Jun 18, 2002

77° | 59°

73° | 54°

61° | 51°

60° | 52°

67° | 56°

71° | 59°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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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.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.4 miles from here

35 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',18],['2 Stars',12],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Bear

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Bear:
The Bear Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
Bear Fingers   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 55'   
Mark's Moderate   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   
Silverado Squatters   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Kidnapped   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Arete (aka 3-Star Arete)   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Rampage   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 60'   
Jekyll and Hyde   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Black Hole Sun   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Napa Valley Party Service   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
The Beast   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Beast of Burden   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Uncle Tom   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Stone Free   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Treasure Island   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Bear's Choice   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Kill Uncle   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Swallow My Pride   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Body Snatcher   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Jason and the Argonauts   5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Bear

Featured Route For The Bear
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Berghorn leading Rampage

Rampage 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  California : San Francisco Bay Area : ... : The Bear
Rampage!!!!This is sport climbing. Slightly overhanging wall, big holds, big moves! Head up out of the tree, pull a bulge, pinch some tufas, dream of Spain, head left and up to the shuts. A crag highlight for sure!Bolted on the tight side of necessity to avoid a fall into the tree. A great lead for those looking to break into the grade....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of The Bear Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
Rock Climbing Photo: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
BETA PHOTO: NEW correct approach to The Bear. This is the trai...
Rock Climbing Photo: DO NOT USE- historic 2002 approach to the bear
DO NOT USE- historic 2002 approach to the bear
Rock Climbing Photo: Madrone
Rock Climbing Photo: Jason and the Argonauts
Jason and the Argonauts
Rock Climbing Photo: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
BETA PHOTO: Bear Cliff Topo, updated 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....
Kurt Jensen on Black Hole Sun, Bear Cliff, Mt. St....

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 Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, 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 Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, 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.
By flapper
Feb 22, 2016
Left Ray Ban Wafarer's hanging on a bush near Rampage 02/21/2016! Please message me if you find them.
By Andrew Schaeffer 1
Dec 13, 2016
Watch out for rattlesnakes!
Almost climbed over one by polar bear spire!
By Justin Guy
Mar 20, 2017
(originally posted as condition report, adding as info so post remains after 3 months' time)

Approach details:
5-10 minutes up the fire road from Bubble Wall, on the left side of the fire road, there's a pretty low key-looking trail that cuts at a pretty shallow grade towards the Bear Cliff. 3 more minutes up the fire road, literally feet from the left side of the trail, there's a big set of brown rocks (50 ft tall) that are so tall they look like they should be bolted. If you've reached these, you've gone too far and should turn around. The trail that leads back to the Bear looks low-key from the road, but is actually well-maintained and wide enough where you don't need to do any bushwhacking.

Bolt details:
Pretty well-bolted, bolts seemed solidly in the wall. Many of the climbs have only hooks at the top... no hangers, no chains, no rappel rings... so it isn't possible (or perhaps just not advisable) to set up top-ropes on these.

Rock details:
The rock is really hard, but as of Spring 2017 some of the holds felt pretty hollow (down the wall, left of the chimney) and I could hear faint cracks when I weighted them. Grapefruit-size chunks (non-holds) were loose, ready to come out of the wall. Would recommend helmets anytime you're near the wall.

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