Trip: Bear Mountain - DNB   Date: 7/26/2007   Trip Report: Mark Pratt and I decided to venture into the N. Cascades to climb Bear Mountain after I was inspired a couple of years ago on the summit Redoubt looking at the N. Face and DNB. We wanted a long and challenging rock climb and this route served up the goods. The approach begins mellow enough on a road and after about an hour your start navigating up and over huge logs often using them as elevated passage ways across the forest floor. After reading Mike Layton's and others account of being mired in a swamp I was cautious to always try to find the trail which is very faint in some places as Devils Club and Salmon Berry are quickly reclaiming it. Between Little Chilliwack and Bear Camp it is often best to stay close to the river especially if you lose the trail at large stream slides where there is a lot of sand and rock completely covering the trail. The mile or so between Little Chilliwack and the large slide alder patch (which can be passed on a new trail forming by the river) took the longest as it was hard to keep finding the trail and going was slow through devils club and downed trees. It pays to find the trail once past the big slide alder / washout section as the trail is excellent to Bear Camp. From Bear Camp take the left branch and proceed directly uphill. It is not critical to stay on the path - there are some flags here and there - generally you stay on the ridge crest through heavy timber and enter a burn zone. Don't go too far left as you want to come out on a ridge above Ruta lake and the old fire trail will cliff out to the left. It doesn't hurt to stay right when in doubt. After about 2500 feet of fairly easy going you will enter some tough going through Mountain Azaleas. These are like going through a hound dogs hair from the rear end up. Tough going. After about 400 feet of this hell you emerge onto the ridge crest. In a little less than a mile you will will be able to look down on Ruta lake about 500 feet below. I was thirsty and out of water but we spied snow patches above and chose to keep going. It was hot at this point and we took occasional rests beneath the alpine firs. We rounded one sub-summit and ended up climbing directly up to the largest sub-summit (which you aren't supposed to do) but it wasn't a big deal and afforded great views of the N. Face in profile (although, we couldn't see our route the DNB as it was mostly blocked by the Direct West Buttress) From here it is mostly 3rd class down to the bivies at the col which are visible below. We chose a patch of trees about 100 yards from the Col as it was flatter and closer to running water. It did not spare us from the multitude of mosquitos. Out time from Car to Camp was 11 hours (7AM - 6PM). We made some Ramen, Freeze Dried Potatoes and a freeze dried entree and washed it down with Makers Mark. We awoke around 3:30 AM and ate breakfast and left camp around 4:30. The descent down the Col was no big deal (snow all the way to the top) with Aluminum crampons. We used our headlamps for the first hour of the approach finding our way through a fog that had risen from the valley floor. We were hoping this would clear as we climbed the buttress. It was a bit spicy getting across the moat but uneventful. It was now about 6:00 -- 1.5 hours from camp to base. From here I led out a couple of pitches of 5.7/8 to the base of the really cool dihedral pitch. Mark took this pitch. The next pitch went up and slightly left through some loose ground through good rock and a 5.8 roof. I ran it out to the end of the rope and set up a belay. At this point we were above the clouds. Some more great climbing and lead swaps brought us to the traverse - or at least what we thought was listed as the traverse to the "5.6 Ramp" Mark led out on this and never encountered a "5.9 move" as mentioned in the Kearney guide. We traversed almost 100 meters. I took the lead and headed down and across a chasm and up a dubious looking redish dihedral/face. Nothing really looked like a 'ramp' to this point. The next pitch was one of the scariest I have ever led in the mountains. It was steep and loose (5.8/9) with no opportunity for protection. The rock was in a state of decomposition. I was finally able to create a nest of TCUs in a horizontal crack at my feet before comitting to some very exposed moves to heave my way onto a pedastal where I could get one really good stopper for the belay. This lead took about 1 hour and our pace had slowed. It was now around 11 AM and we still had a ways to go and I was guessing we were off route. Mark took the lead up and left around a corner and shouted down that the ground eased up. So we had entered the 3rd and 4th class ground and could see wet slabs wher the snow patch above was melting. Due to choose and wetness we chose to go left up the crest on 5.7/5.8 ground. Some really good pitches on good granite but probably slower. We reached the snowpatch at around 12:30 PM and admired the views toward Redoubt. I took the rack and had to negotiate the snow patch which had created a deep moat where it layed against the rock. I could see the curving crack above and was dismayed that the upper half looked to be full of dirt and grass. I tensioned over into the crack system and climbed until just below where the crack got clogged. I was then able to reach over and climb up over right. This was steep and here is where the Alpine Select was on and Kearney was off. Take the left most of these cracks (5.9/10) do not proceed up the 5.8 dirt crack without pro. From the top of this pitch it was one more good steep 5.8 pitch to the where the Beckey-Fielding route joins and the stellar Dihedral - fist crack. Mark took the rack and charged up this crack. In my mind this is a sandbagged pitch. Some call this 5.8 and others 5.9. It is steep and probably was the most physical climbing of the climb. It would be 5.9 at Index. Although from below it looks like you need wider gear there are many protection opportunities. A couple more 5.7 pitches led up to the base of the famous offwidth and a great belay. Mark climbed up the offwidth for about 20 feet and stepped out and right to avoid most of the ugliness. The north face off to our left was awesome.     From the top of this pitch we proceeded directly on the crest. There is a fixed station here where the Beckey-Fielding (North Face) route drops down into a chossy gully. The climbing on the crest has sparse protection but great rock and is mostly in the 5.9/8 range. This is about 2 pitches in length. We thought the lower part was harder than then 5.10 - cracks mentioned by Kearney. This looked like the better option than the Burdo variation off the left (overhanging 5.10 crack system). From the top of this section I grabbed the rack without bothering ot sort the gear and stayed on the crest directly... encountering great 5.6 climbing on solid rock. The summit loomed above as we topped out on the ridge 12 hours after we started climbing.   It took about 20 minutes from here to the summit proper of Bear and great views of the Pickets.   The descent to camp is straightforward and cush. Takes about an hour. Go skiers left as you descend and you will pick up some cairns that take you around the bowl. If it seems harder than 2nd class you are probably off route. We were back in camp around 7PM. The hike out the next morning took about 7 hours. We celebrated by taking a plunge into the lake.   Gear Notes: Medium rack to 3" - doubles in TCUs 1-3   Approach Notes: Devils Club and Salmonberry