Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber


      Thanks for visiting Cascadeclimbers.com.   Yep, we are still going!    Just put a new coat of paint on the site. Still the same old community of climbers, skiers, and people who love to get outdoors. Hope you had a great 2021, and wish you the best for 2022 and beyond.  Thanks again for stopping by.
Sign in to follow this  

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

Recommended Posts

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











But lots of this as well

















The Climb


Approaching the DNB





Upper North Buttress





The Diamond





Heart of the Gulley





We got to climb through all that








Phenomenal Position high on the ridge





Sunset on Redoubt








The offwidth corner








Take what the world offers you



Edited by dberdinka

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

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