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althoroc

Bear Mountain: The Diamond

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Anyone got any beta on this beast? Repeats, topos, stories, whatever--Beckey's route description piqued my curiosity.

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Posted (edited)

I once tried it.  We had four days to do it in round trip.  That is not nearly enough time!    I believe Peter Doorish and Dale Farnham spent many weeks pulling that one off and I can understand why.  Should mention when they did it the approach trail up the Chilliwack River was still in excellent shape and very popular.

Day 1 we spent 11 hours getting to highcamp approaching form Chilliwack Lake.   The trail through the lower valley is just about gone and there is A LOT of bushwacking.  Day 2, carrying a wall rack, bivi gear and two days worth of water, we dropped down around the north side and climbed the steep snow gully below the face.   We were totally destroyed at this point from the approach.  We climbed two pitches of horribly loose and unprotected rock till we realized we weren't going to pull it off in 1.5 days.  Retreated by bailing upwards on the Beckey North Buttress Route.

Observations

Dialing in the approach in advance to Bear Camp, maybe flagging and doing a bit of brush work will dramatically improve your chance of success.

The approach gully is horribly dangerous.   Timing is a challenge as well.  The gully will melt out to absolute choss by early summer most years.  I'd plan on late June/early July.  Good news is early season there will be running water right near the base of the rock climbing so no need to carry water up there.

It's basically a chossy version of the Sheriffs Badge. There appeared to possibly be some very large rock scars on the face though impossible to say if they preceded or followed the original ascent.    I would get in at least one training climb on the Badge. Expect a fair bit of nailing.  Above the choss we climbed the rock improves.   There are some bivi ledges in that stretch just below a large, detached flake ("The 4th pitch climbs the right side of a split pillar 5.10+").   A 4" cam may or may not protect that, definitely wouldn't hurt to bring one large piece.    The bolt ladder is 30 years old, hope it's there, consider bringing a minimal bolt kit.  Above that the weaknesses it followed seemed reasonably apparent on not the most awesome looking rock.  Dale Farnham (RIP) told me the final chimney pitches were very chossy. 

Ideally you'll climb to the low bivi ledges and fix two ropes above on D1.  Day 2 power up to broken ledges near the top of the face.  D3 summit.   2 ropes, gear to 5", selection of pins and the ability to replace bolts.

 

 

diamond.jpg

Edited by dberdinka
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I still think, all these years later, that the approach to Bear is perhaps the worst I've ever done (and I had a light kit, not the gear needed for the Diamond).  And I've thrashed a lot of them!

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Yeah, a pretty good "retreat upwards" but all the wall gear probably made it not as fun as it might have been. Good epic tale, thanks for sharing.

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At least one of those chimneys is overhanging where it meets the summit ridge, plus it is completely enclosed, bombay style.  I remember climbing up to the top of it and dropping rocks down the Diamond.  They didn't touch anything for a long, long time.  Such a wild area.

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Thanks for the beta @dberdinka! Super helpful. Sounds like quite the undertaking.

(From photos only, I wonder whether there might be an approach on rock, up one side or the other, that avoids the gully in later season...)

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