If you think rock climbing is a sport for humans only, think again. In this viral video by YouTuber Stephanie Latimer, you can see two bears, a mother bear, and her cub. They climb what looks like a totally sheer cliff in Big Bend National Park in Texas. Check out the video below!
Bears are excellent climbers. We know they can climb trees, but what about cliff faces? With their sharp claws and extreme strength, bears can actually climb much more than just the standard forest trees we see. That being said, the cliff in the video seems to be especially challenging, especially considering that claws can’t dig into rock like they can with wood. Even human climbers would find it difficult to drill and place protection on such a rock face.
The video shows the mother bear leading the way, carefully climbing her way up the rocky cliff. It’s an extreme feat of agility. She manages to reach a safe ledge after a few minutes of climbing. The cub, however, struggles to follow her. At one point, it looks like she is totally spread eagle across the rock face, like in a full iron cross gymnast position. Eventually, the cub nervously negotiates the route and “tops out” in dramatic fashion after about four minutes of climbing. The person filming lets out an “awww yay” at the end (as they should) once they see that the baby bear is safe. Even though bears are incredible climbers, the short video was nothing short of intense.
Some professional rock climbers commented on the video in other interviews. They mostly praise the bears for their skill that rivals a professional human! Cedar Wright, a North Face athlete, and seasoned climber, said:
“These are the best bear climbers I’ve seen since 1999 in Yosemite when I witnessed the impressive free-solo of a 50-foot 5.9 off-width by a bear….The mom employs some masterful stemming at the crux, while the cub realizes that this is a reach problem and is forced to establish a more difficult variation… this cutting edge ascent that in bear grades is a solid B.15”Cedar Wright – Sierra Club
For reference, a B.15 is equivalent to the highest-rated climb by human standards!
Check Out the Bear Climbing the Cliff Below!
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