Real-Life ‘Revenant’ Moment: Man Fights Off Charging Bear!

Written by Jesse Elop
Updated: May 31, 2023
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In incredible footage captured in the following video, an extremely brave and knowledgeable climber fights off a vicious bear attack. It appears that despite the bear’s aggression, the climber escapes unscathed. This heroic bear fight may allow you to recall the 2015 film “The Revenant” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In this film, Leo’s character is in a brutal fight with a grizzly bear and to his crew’s surprise, he lives to tell the tale. Not many people come face to face with charging bears every day. Perhaps this video is evidence of a real-life, modern, bear-fighting, revenant! Check out the cool video of a man fighting off a charging bear then read on to learn more about the “Revenant” fable, how to be safe in bear territory, and what to do if a brown or black bear attacks.

The True Story of The Revenant

Hiking, Bear, People, Men, Grizzly Bear
Surviving a bear attack is a harrowing experience.



Not only is The Revenant an Oscar-winning film, but it is the title for which beloved actor Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar! The movie follows the harrowing story of a fur trader, Hugh Glass, in the 1800s. He accompanies an expedition of fur trappers attempting to navigate through the North American wilderness back to an American fort. Glass finds himself in a battle for his life against a grizzly bear and is betrayed by his men at his most desperate hour. He fights to survive against incredible odds and then seeks revenge on the men that left him for dead.

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The best part of this story is that it is based on the true story of an American frontiersman! It also seems like this bear-fighter movie could have been about the climber in this video!

Bear Attack

In the real-life story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, the infamous adventure begins in 1822 with the advertisement of General Ashley’s 1823 fur-trapping expedition. During the expedition, Glass went on a scouting mission in search of game for his group. He accidentally surprised a mother grizzly bear and her cubs, and the mother charged. Glass had severe lacerations on his throat, face, and across his body. Deep cuts on his back even revealed his ribs. He also had several broken bones from being trampled, including a broken leg. During this epic struggle, Glass ultimately brought down the bear but was left in severe condition himself. His men did not think he was going to survive.

Struggling for survival

Caring for Glass and attempting to transport him through treacherous winter terrain was detrimental to the other men in the trapping party. Two men volunteered to stay with Glass and his son, continue with him as long as he could, and bury him when he died. Glass’s condition was worsening, and he was not likely to survive long. The two men soon killed Glass’s son and abandoned Glass even though he was still alive. They left him alone, with festering wounds, and no supplies in a frozen mountain forest 200 miles away from the nearest American fort.

Against seemingly insurmountable odds, Hugh Glass crawled his way to the settlement after his team had already returned and reported him dead. He had to overcome 6 weeks of starvation in below freezing weather relying mostly on roots and berries. To survive he also cauterized his own wounds, treated gangrene with maggots, and fought in hostile confrontations with native Arikara people. After all of that, he survived the 200 miles to the settlement where everyone thought he was long gone. His nickname, the Revenant, means someone who has returned from the dead.

Seeking Revenge

After making it to the settlement, Glass spent little time for recovery and returned to the wilderness to search for the men that killed his son and abandoned him. There is some discrepancy in the written and oral history of the events that came after, but some say he forgave one man who was simply following orders but had no mercy on the man truly behind the betrayal.

This video of a climber getting charged by a bear isn’t exactly the same as Hugh Glass’s epic survival story, but it is a frightening encounter and brave reaction!

Bear Safety: what to do to avoid a bear attack

Brown bear
Bears are very territorial animals.

©Karin Jaehne/

The story of The Revenant and the scenes in this climber’s video are very cool to see and hear about. Enduring such encounters is not as fun. Every year there are approximately 40 brown bear attacks worldwide, 11 of which are in North America. Black bears in North America kill fewer than one person a year on average. Although it may seem like bear attacks are not very common, there are a number of things people do in order to keep this number low and prevent bear attacks in the first place.

Food storage

One key component of bear safety is properly handling and storing your food when you’re in the backcountry or camping. If you are camping in an area with a sizeable bear population, there may be local rules requiring different food storage methods. These often include bear cans or hang bags. Bear cans, or bear canisters, are cylindrical containers to put food in while camping. The lid locks on similar to a child-proof pill bottle and keeps bears out. The hang bag method describes collecting all your food items and hanging them from a tree with some paracord. For this method, make sure the bag of items is at least 15 feet off the ground and as far from the trunk of the tree as possible.

 For both storage methods, make sure you store all scented items including food, toiletries, sunscreen, gas or fuel, gum, etcetera. Also, make sure the hang bag or the bear can are at least 100 yards away from your campsite. The bear cans and hang bags do not prevent bears from being able to smell the food and other items. They can still attract bears to your campsite if they are kept close by.

Food handling

When in the backcountry camping or when in other places where bears are prevalent, there are precautions you can take while cooking to minimize bear risk. Similar to storing food away from your campsite, cooking and preparing food away from your campsite is also the safest bet. Eating food in or around your tent can leave long-lasting odors in the area that can attract bears. Bears have incredibly keen senses of smell so any remnants of food can attract them. In autumn and early winter, before bears hibernate, they are particularly likely to raid unfamiliar food sources such as campsites.

Bear safety equipment

A highly recommended safety precaution if you are exploring bear territory is bringing a bear horn and/or bear spray. You can also attach bells to your pack, so you do not accidentally startle any bears as you walk by. These items can be purchased at many different outdoor and recreation stores, but some states may have an age restriction on purchasing bear spray.

A bear horn is an air horn that produces a very loud sound to deter bears. It can be used as a preventative measure, especially if you are alone, to ensure you do not surprise any bears. You can do this by sounding the horn intermittently or you can just use it in an active encounter. If a bear is charging, bear spray is also an important tool. Spray the bear directly in the eyes with the bear spray. An optimal distance to spray the bear is when it is 15 feet away, but the spray will be effective at any distance in an emergency.

General safety equipment

Other equipment that you should definitely have in bear territory and that is good to have at all times in the wilderness is a first aid kit, some form of navigation, and an emergency signal. Many first aid kits come in compact, waterproof packages that are easy to bring camping, backpacking, kayaking, or any other outdoor adventure. Different sizes and quantities of supplies are necessary for different length trips but having basic trauma supplies and medications can be very important.

Having a compass and map or a GPS is always necessary in the wilderness. Many wilderness areas do not have reliable cell service so having a navigation plan ready beforehand is crucial. Several first aid kits, hiking backpacks, and GPS devices come with some sort of emergency signal. These include whistles, flashing lights, flares, or SOS signals. Having some kind of emergency signaler, even just a whistle, can be very useful in the wilderness.

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The Featured Image

A brown grizzly bear churning up water as it runs through it.
The grizzly bear has great speed, even when running in water, which helps when it is chasing salmon.
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About the Author

Jesse Elop is a graduate from the University of Oregon now working at the University of Washington National Primate Research Center. He is passionate about wildlife and loves learning about animal biology and conservation. His favorite animals- besides his pup, Rosie- are zebras, mandrills, and bonobos. Jesse's background in biology and anthropology have supplied him with many fun facts that might just pop up in some of his articles!

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