Bear's Reach

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.79940°N / 120.135°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.7
Sign the Climber's Log


This is the 1st multi-pitch that I ever lead, and I lead all 3 pitches. I have been back to do this numerous times, and I take newbies here as well to get a taste of moderate multi-pitch. This is one of the most popular routes at the Leap, and is likely to have a line on almost any summer day.

First climbed in 1956 by Phil Berry and Robin Linnett, two guys I've never heard of, this is a quality outing.


Bear's Reach is on the East Wall, so following the directions from the main page, proceed up the use trail adjacent to the Hogsback, through the brush tunnel, up to the base of the wall. Contour the base to the right (south-southwest) past the double cracks of East Crack to the start of the route.

Route Description

Climb dikes to some flakes, then follow a left-trending rounded ledge upward until it turns vertical, then follow it some more. Gain the bottom of the flake that looks vaguely like the top 2/3 of California, and follow this up about halfway, and then swing right onto the face on secure dikes. Follow these to a fairly comfy belay ledge.

Pitch 2 has limited pro above the belay, so right after you leave the ledge, get some gear in the right-curving crack to protect the belay and keep the fall factor low. Leave the crack and climb fragile flakes that are not viable for pro, and work up and grab the underside of the roof known as the "Bear's Reach". I don't know why it is called that, but after that there is some decent gear. Work up a flake and corner system, kind of chimney-like, and about 25-30 feet up the half-chimney head left out onto the face on incut dikes. Hike up these to the Bushy Ledge, a vegetation-free belay spot with several comfortable stances. This ledge system is the belay spot for 4 routes, Bear's Reach, East Crack, Between the Lines, and East Wall, so expect it to be draped in climbers.

Pitch 3 is mostly 3rd and 4th class, with only one move of 5th class (unless you exit via the direct finish, which has a couple more 5th class moves), requiring the use of a secret hold. This "secret" hold is not much of a secret. While thrutching around on the smooth face below it, you will be reaching ever higher in the crack, and eventually your hand will fall in this hidden incut, and the climb is mostly over. As the rock angle decreases, you may exit to the right via a sloping ramp, or continue straight up an overhanging hand crack for a couple of moves.

From the top of the East Wall, descend eastward into the forest and catch the use trail that skirts around the northeast end of the wall and dumps you out on the Pony Express Trail near where you left it to approach the East Wall.

Essential Gear

Standard trad rack, comfy edging shoes, some descent footwear. See the complete list on the topo.