Bear Mountain

  • Bear Mountain
  • 2115 m
  • Primary factor 801 m
  • California, USA.
  • Location: North 35.20646, West 118.63961 (GPS on the summit.)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 3 (only last boulder)
  • Climbed September 15. 2018


How to get there:
Locate the small village Tehachapi on Hwy. 58 running south-east from Bakersfield to Mojave. Go a few blocks south in Tehachapi, locate Hwy. 202 running west. Just as the road enters a large flat agriculture area, turn right (north) on Bear Valley Road. Shortly, you will arrive at a gate. The entire area above is called Bear Valley Spings, this is a "gated community", having restricted access. You may / must have a valid reason to visit.
Assuming that you have passed the gate, drive into the area and locate a road going right that will climb the hillside on your right hand side, this iks shortly after a Chevron gas station. Follow this winding road as it gradually turns towards the mountain. The road dead ends at a locked gate, one can likely leave a car there for a short time (I did). This location is at N35.19849, W118.62259, elevation about 1950 meter.
Route description:
Cross the gate and follow the dirt road to the main crest where it meets another road coming from your right. Ignore many smaller side-roads. Turn left and follow the road to the summit area. The road stays pretty much on the ridge all the way. At the summit area, you will (surprise!) see that there are two large boulders that form the two highest points. The boulder to the left is clearly highest. To climb this one direct does not look easy. Walk around and discover a weakness, where one may ascend between the big boulder and the part immediately left. There is an old log there that further facilitates the climb. This is still a few meter of (YDS) class 3. As you get up on this, you can touch the highest point with your hand or even drag yourself up to the very top (class 4 move).
I ended up climbing this mountain despite my plan was to make an attempt the following week. With limited navigational tools, no map, I was actually searching for a road that would get me west towards the Central Valley / Bakersfield area. Suddenly, I came to the gate where they check your authorization to proceed. I understood that I had arrived at the base of Bear Mountain by pure accident.
Being there, it made sense to check if I could get in. I parked my jeep and walked across to the lady in the booth. I told her, that I came from Norway and had heard about this place and that it would be very nice if I could enter and look around a bit.
She nodded and said that this was OK, reminding me that I would have to exit back out at this location. I thanked her and was on my way!
It was easy to drive as high as the paved road went. The locked gate and signs with No Trespassing could not apply to people that had been granted access to the general area, so I ignored them and walked to the summit area in about 30 minutes.
Interesting enough, the summit had two very large boulders and the biggest one defines the summit. This hike went from class 1 to what looked like a short, but hard climb?
Upon further investigation, there was a weakness. An old log had been placed there as well, to further facilitate the final climb. This was still class 3 to a point where one could touch the top with a hand. To haul oneselves up there is also possible, but this is not an easy move. I spent almost 15 minutes, then returned with an easy downhill jogging, - 15 minutes back to the car.
Returning to my original objective of driving west, led me to a long and somewhat narrow dirt road with 3 gates that had to be opened and closed. I did get across and down into the large flat valley that connects to Bakersfield.
Highway 58 would have saved me at least one hour, but it was fun to succeed connecting across where I did. I did not meet a single car along this road, it is obviously (and for good reason) almost never used.