Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8)
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Sir Chris Bonington,third pitch,BMPM. FoleyPhoto
An excellent description is already published in Jay's Book. Climb starts at cairned slab. The belay stance is in an alcove on a narrow ledge. Rope-up below small tree and stay on slab left of gully to large tree with slings (1st belay). From here you can continue left on 5.7 slab to anchor at base of wall (pass 2nd tree with slings - this tree is 61 meters from the starting ledge). The other choice (preferred) climbs up right from the first belay to a bolted 5.10 slab. The 3rd pitch is stellar. Bring adequate runners for slinging chicken heads. Three choices on the finish. The standard goes direct into the short steep cleft with a finger to hand sized cam protecting the final 5.8 moves. Other finishes go left on 5.7 unprotectable slab with wild exposure or right into the loose gully (5.5?). One of the best 5.8 trad pitches anywhere.
"The top pitch of the Five Eight Variant was pure magic, dramatis, steep and yet with superb holds" Sir Chris Bonnington.
Approach as for Questa Dome but turn left and work way uphill about 50 ft. prior to finally reaching stream. Walk between boulders on faint climber trail to base of Legs (of El Oso).
Standard rack, few extra runners for slingin' necks.
|Photos of Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8) Slideshow
The last pitch of Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre. ...
BETA PHOTO: Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8), The ...
The heavily featured and exposed third pitch.
|Comments on Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre (Original 5.8)
|By Bowe Ellis|
From: Taos, NM
Jun 17, 2008
Peronally I think the crux is the move around the bulge on pitch 1, which is 5.7 with so-so pro. The final pitch is steep, the pro is pretty much all slinging of chickenheads, and there's the amazing airy step-around to get onto the headwall... but the climbing is so bloody easy. I give the final pitch a 5.7 with a + for airiness. Without a doubt the last pitch makes the climb.
|By Chris Wenker|
From: Santa Fe
Oct 4, 2008
The descriptions here and in Foley are just vague enough to keep the routefinding spicy (which is, of course, the nature of backcountry climbing). But, I did waste a fair amount of time puzzling out the bottom pitches, which are brushy and sort of convoluted. If you want a few more tidbits of beta for the 5.8 route, read on. If you don't, then don't read on.
The cairned climbers' trail takes you to a ledge at the base of a slab, with a rock fin behind you; the fin pinches into the slab farther to the left. P1 starts on this ledge, in the crack system immediately left of the 2" diameter tree at about eye level. Foley and MP.com suggest P1 is a 'slab', but this is not strictly slab (i.e., friction) climbing (which caused me some confusion in identifying the start of P1). You actually follow the vertical cracks and fissures up and left of the tiny tree for a while before getting to the bulge. Above the corner system, you pass a 6" diameter bent tree (maybe this used to have slings on it?) and then another little sapling, and just past that is a decent stance for a semi-hanging belay on gear (or, if I understand Foley correctly, he says you can try to make it to the slung rappel tree up higher? but that seems like it would be a real rope-stretcher even with 60m).
On P2, get to the big slung rappel-station tree and continue up, not 45' right as directed by Foley. ~30' up, and then ~30' right will take you to the expansive sloping belay ledge at the left edge of the arete. Gear anchor here.
P3 is straightforward once you find the base of the arete. Beware, if you wander left near the top, it gets thin and runout (scary fun!).
Descent: A 2-bolt anchor at the top of P3 sports a bunch of tat slings and cord (and a screw-link that I backed up with a locking biner). Plan for possibly having to replace some sling. A 2-rope rap (145' according to Foley) takes you to the slung tree on P2. This slung tree may also occasionally need tat removal/replacement, and has a screw-link and a locking biner. Another 2-rope rap from here (minimum 165' according to Foley) takes you to the base of the climb. 60 m ropes will set you down exactly where you started, with no rope to spare.
|By Minesh Bacrania|
May 9, 2009
The excellent final pitch does make the climb. More chickenheads than you can shake a sling at!
I'd say that the crux involved protecting and getting into the final finger/hand crack.
I think it could be done in two pitches (i.e. same way as the rappel). It would probably be a good test of your rope management skills, though.
|By George Perkins|
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 10, 2009
rating: 5.7+ PG13
The above comment of "spicy routefinding" is exaggerated in my opinion, as I found the description in 'Taos Rock' to be plenty good enough, with a photo showing where to go. There are a few options for the 1st pitch; but none of them are going to get you far off-route on difficult/unprotected ground. Chris is right- pitch 2's written instructions are somewhat off- but the photo is unambiguous and there's really only one obvious way to go. Chris's Beta Photo is accurate, as well, if you're concerned- print that and bring it with you.
Leaders not solid on 5.8 and unaccustomed to tying off chickenheads for pro should be wary of leading the last pitch.
The rappel stations appeared in good condition in 5/2009.
Feb 6, 2010
As described in Taos Rock the second pitch climbs the Quality 5.10 bolted slab to the thin hand crack below the ledge.This makes for a much better outing. If you climb 5.10 there is no reason to turn this climb into the lesser quality 5.7 described above.
|By Daniel Trugman|
From: Los Alamos, NM / Stanford, CA
Feb 7, 2010
Thanks for the info, Jay. Are the bolts relatively new or of the old 1/4 inch variety?
|By George Perkins|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 7, 2010
rating: 5.7+ PG13
All bolts on this route are fairly new (3/8") and no cause for concern. The guidebooks warn people about old bolts at Questa in general, but that is really a non-issue on most climbs here, though a few old bolts are still around.
Daniel Trugman wrote:
Are the bolts relatively new or of the old 1/4 inch variety?
The main reason the Bear Mtn. Massacre route is cool is that it's basically the only real climb under 5.10 here, so climbers who aren't up for the main Dome routes can experience this beautiful area. The last pitch is particularly unique and fun, especially for the grade, and is as good as the best 5.7/5.8s at TP. Still, I would recommend one of the main dome routes, especially Question of Balance, even if it won't go in perfect style, if you've only got time for one in the area.
Sounds like I'll have to try the 5.10 variation next time.
Feb 8, 2010
Q of B is The area classic, and of course a better route than this pile. However, my point was this route is MUCH more appealing if you climb the 5.10 on the second pitch.It gives up some great friction moves, an exiting mantle and a short crack as well! Really no reason to avoid this pitch if you are climbing at the grade. And yes, the bolts are fine, but you may want to Bring a 44" runner to sling the plate after the 3rd and final bolt on this pitch. Have Fun!
|By Paul Drakos|
Sep 30, 2010
I agree with Jay's recommendation that you climb the 5.10 var. on the second pitch. It is great 5.10 thin face climbing, well-protected with 3/8" bolts, with a nice finish up the finger/thin-hands crack to the belay ledge. I'm not sure about the long runner - once you latch onto the plate above the last bolt, you are probably not coming off. Overall an excellent route when you want a shorter day than on Questa Dome. Spectacular setting.