Route of the Week: Bear’s Reach
Route Type: Traditional
Gear: 0.3 – 3”
Formation: Lovers’ Leap
Bear’s Reach is a mainstay in California climbing and has benchmark for the 5.7 grade for decades. This climb came to a great degree of fame during the 1997 film Masters of Stone IV. During the film Dan Osman speed solos the entire 400ft route in a breath taking 4:25 seconds.
Today this is route is a test piece for climbers wanting to master 5.7 trad and those who just want to enjoy a great multipitch climb.
Find It: Take Highway 50 to East from Placerville towards the town of Southlake Tahoe. Turn off at the town of Strawberry and park near the Lovers’ Leap Campground. Hike up the main trail till you get up the far end of the East Wall. The routes on the wall are easily seen as the lichen as been scraped off the wall from the climbers.
Bear’s Reach starts where a right facing corner meets the sandy East Wall ledge. Hike up a short section of talus and begin your climb.
P1: (160ft) Start up the right facing corner till it runs out on to a short face. Move left to the next crack system for the short 5.7 crux and then up easy flakes and dikes to the belay ledge.
P2: (100ft) A crack and flake system continues up until you reach a series of thin face moves. Step up and left for the “Bear’s Reach” move. The route continues up into a right facing corners with great stemming dike features. P2 finishes on a pillar where three routes come together which can make this belay crowded on weekends.
P3: (130ft) Follow the obvious crack up and right on easy climbing. The crux is a smearing bulge. There are two options to the finish. Either go straight up through a series of easy roofs and ledges or exit the ramp to the right.
South Lake Tahoe Climbing, by McNamara