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dberdinka

[TR] Bear Mountain - Beckey/Fielding North Buttress 7/18/2013

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Trip: Bear Mountain - Beckey/Fielding North Buttress

 

Date: 7/18/2013

 

Trip Report:

 

I had the opportunity to spend four magnificent days climbing Bear Mountain with my good friend Owen. We ended up climbing the original Beckey/Fielding North Buttress Route in a very relaxed style over two days with a long enjoyable bivouac high on the mountain. Due to its scale, position, wilderness setting, history and high quality climbing the route stood out as an absolute classic even with the dangerous and loose approach gulley and ledges. Certainly the Direct North Buttress must be as a good a route as you will find in the range.

 

The approach up the Chilliwack Valley is at least as bad as reputation holds. On either side of the border the trail is rapidly disintegrating back into brush and blow downs. Yet it has its rewards offering up some of the most extensive and massive old growth forest I’ve experienced. With heavy packs and several route finding mistakes it took us over six hours to reach Bear Camp. From here we blasted straight up into the alpine gaining over 4000’ through steep forest, more thick brush and finally heather meadows reaching a beautiful high camp eleven hours from the car.

 

Based on the summit register the mountain receives only one or two ascents a year. The last entry via a north side route was by Steph Abegg and Aaron Clifford in 2010. The last entry for the DNB was by Mark Pratt and Robert Meschew in 2007!

 

Fred Beckey’s trip report in the 1968 AAJ is a classic tale of climbing in the North Cascades and captures the essence of mountain perfectly.

 

Steph Abeggs blog post from 2010 offers all the modern beta one might need.

 

Various misdirections about the approach can be found here.

 

 

The Approach

 

Plenty of this

 

bearmtn_21_of_22_.jpg

 

 

bearmtn_19_of_22_.jpg

 

 

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But lots of this as well

 

bearmtn_1_of_22_.jpg

 

 

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bearmtn_20_of_22_.jpg

 

 

bearmtn_15_of_22_.jpg

 

 

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The Climb

 

Approaching the DNB

 

bearmtn_4_of_22_.jpg

 

 

Upper North Buttress

 

bearmtn_5_of_22_.jpg

 

 

The Diamond

 

bearmtn_6_of_22_.jpg

 

 

Heart of the Gulley

 

bearmtn_7_of_22_.jpg

 

 

We got to climb through all that

 

bearmtn_8_of_22_.jpg

 

 

bearmtn_22_of_22_.jpg

 

 

Phenomenal Position high on the ridge

 

bearmtn_13_of_22_.jpg

 

 

Sunset on Redoubt

 

bearmtn_10_of_22_.jpg

 

 

bearmtn_11_of_22_.jpg

 

 

The offwidth corner

 

bearmtn_12_of_22_.jpg

 

 

bearmtn_14_of_22_.jpg

 

 

Take what the world offers you

 

bearmtn_17_of_22_.jpg

Edited by dberdinka

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Great pics; thanks for sharing. Fully agree it is one of the best in the range.

 

I was going to say I had climbed it after 2007 but after checking I realized it was 2005. Guess I'm getting old! :blush::laf:

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The yin and yang of the Cascades - punishing approach and spectacular climbing. Probably nowhere is that more true than on Bear, and I'm always impressed by the folks that make those north side routes happen. That approach gully looks frightening, strong work!

 

I'm with Pete, that is one of the toughest mountains to get to in the range.

 

 

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Great trip! I've been thinking of doing Bear for a long time, not by a north face route but instead just up the NW ridge, and I might actually get out for it this year.

 

Is the final summit a scramble, or is it worthwhile to take a short rope? It's not totally clear from the guides or the trip reports, perhaps because the final summit may feel like a stroll compared to the big routes.

 

 

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To climb the summit block by the ridgeline alongside the north face is class 4. However we downclimbed a south facing ridgeline that was exposed class 3. Skip the weight if you can. Even by a scramble route this mountain will be a wickedly good wilderness experience.

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Great TR! The north wall of Bear Mountain is pretty rad!

man, brings back some great memories of when Sky and I went back in there and did the DNB...good times getting lost in swamps on the way in, and then losing the trail somewhere by the river and bushwahacking endlessly in the dark on the way out!

Outstanding!

 

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Nice work guys!

 

Looking at all that aid gear in your bivi shot makes me think you two had something else in mind up there... The Diamond?

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Good eye Sol. I was curious if someone would notice those circleheads in the photo. So yes we had big plans but a completely unreasonable itinerary in which to complete it. Basically the energy reserves one needs to push a wall were burned up in the fourteen hours of travel it took to get to the base of it. As Fred Beckey wrote "The approach problems seemed too formidable with heavy loads." We climbed a couple pitches to the start of the real difficulties before pulling the plug. I can completely understand why Doorish took as long as he did to pull off that route.

 

A lot was learned. Whether we ever return or not is highly questionable.

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Awesome outing. I've had that one on the list but won't get to it this year.

 

I'm trying to have less type 2 fun (dark, schwackery shenanigans) and more type 1 fun (clean rock, good weather) this year. I must be getting soft.

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