Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
AlpineMonkey

[TR] Bear Mountain- Ursa Major (attempt) 7/15/2006

Recommended Posts

Climb: Bear Mountain-Ursa Major (attempt, dotted red)

 

Date of Climb: 7/15/2006

 

Trip Report:

11247clip_image002.jpg

(photo by John Scurlock)

 

Last September John Frieh and I climbed the Direct North Buttress (yellow) up Bear Mountain. Having not climbed previously in the North Cascades, it was this trip that showed me what the range had to offer. (Indeed there are other mountains to climb then in the Enchantments.) From our campsite, large peaks surrounded us in every direction, all bearing massive walls. It was quite inspiring. I became fascinated with Bear and the challenges it has to offer.

 

After arriving at Chilliwack Lake at 3:00 am and sleeping for two hours, John and I began the gruesome hike into Bear Mountain. Almost immediately we lost the old overgrown abandoned trail and found ourselves in a knee deep swamp. More then once we sunk up to our wastes.

 

11247clip_image004-med.jpg11247clip_image006-med.jpg

 

About 45 minutes after loosing the trail, fighting brush, and wadding through the bog John busted into an old growth forest and let out a “whoo-hooo” as he stumbled upon the trail. But it didn’t take long for me, however, to start recognizing distinct features. Somehow, and I still cannot comprehend how, John and I got turned around in the bog and walked backwards, the way we had previously come. We estimated this mistake cost us an hour or more on the approach. The excitement of finding the trail was short lived as almost immediately it went bad again.

 

It was here that we crawled (not walked) on all fours across the US – Canadian boarder through the thickest god awful brush I have ever encountered. Occasionally we were able to use our two feet.

 

11247clip_image008-med.jpg11247clip_image010-med.jpg

 

After nearly nine hours of hell, we finally broke into the high alpine environment and found a nice campsite on the W. Ridge of Bear. As always, the views of surrounding valleys and peaks were spectacular. I ate a hefty meal and we both settled in for the night at 2:00 in the afternoon.

 

11247clip_image012-med.jpg11247clip_image014-med.jpg

 

DAY 2:

 

We began our brief approach to the far leftword buttress early morning. It was then that we began to make out our intended route. (dotted red line shows our route and high point)

 

11247clip_image016-med.jpg

 

We started climbing at the lowest toe of the buttress, always staying to the right of the crest. A route had been done twenty years prior, but that party stayed to the left of the crest. We encountered, as did the 1986 party easy to medium hard climbing on poor rock. Due to the nature of the loose climbing, we did not move fast but slowly worked our way upward. On pitch one I think I came the closest I have ever come to dying when 40 meters runnout my handhold broke and my body flew backwards. Just by a miracle did my right hand lunge forward and barely catch myself. (Good thing I have long gangly arms!). On another pitch high on the buttress I was forced to climb up vertical big loose blocks. As John was following this pitch a rock the size of his upper body ripped out on him and they both went flying through the air. Luckily when John stopped the rock kept on going, rather then squishing his head or something else.

 

11247clip_image018-med.jpg11247clip_image020-med.jpg

 

The higher we climbed the more “bs” climbing we encountered. We then that we hit a headwall. We tried to work left of it, right up the middle of it, and lastly to the right, but nothing would go. I dreaded a descent of what we had come up. There were no cracks and the wall was overhanging and loose. It was then that we came to the realization that we would have to retreat. After many raps off of single pins and scary nuts we safely reached the ground below. By far the biggest retreat I have ever had to make.

 

11247clip_image022.jpg

 

DAY 3

 

It felt good to be done.

 

But as John and I sat around our cozy fire for the last night out and discussed the day’s events, I said “You know, I’m pissed that we didn’t make it up this thing, it means we have to come back and try it again.”

 

The adventure was awesome.

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Double rack of cams, nuts, pins, no crampons, ice axe, 70m rope

 

If you go now to do the DNB (route in Nelson Book) you wont need crampons!!!

 

Approach Notes:

Brushy hell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds like you guys have adventure climbing in the Cascades pretty maxed out there (inaccessible region, crappy or loose rock, big rock face). pretty high up to have to bail!...nice try and cool pictures. You'll get'r done next time...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sickness. That descent must have been quite the gut-churner. I'll have to cross that route off of my tick-list (Ha Ha).

 

Serious question - how many of the major buttresses have been climbed? Maybe one of the walking databases that post on this site could draw the existing routes on the photo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember reading somewhere (Kearney's guide?) that one guy alone has put up 4 or 5 routes on Bear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doorish put up Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Diamond Life, and The Diamond all on Bear. Kearney put up DNB and NB west. Beckey has them all clearly labeled in the CAG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow. Kudos to you battling the brush to get to the base from Canada. I would have given up at the swamp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn AlpineMonkey, that is awesome even though you guys didn't get up the route. Better luck next time on it. bigdrink.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is the new start, to the right, to the DNB by the Canadians. Others?

 

Hirvonen route left of N Butt West on same buttress, see Alpine Select

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Astronomy lesson:

 

Both names come from constellations that resemble bears.

 

Ursa Major - "The greater Bear"

Ursa Minor - "The lessor Bear"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×