Navigating your way down the cliff of a mountain can be anxiety-inducing stuff with the slightest misstep having the potential to send you tumbling. You can imagine one climber’s dismay, then, when while descending a mountain in Japan earlier this month, they crossed paths with a very angry bear.
Footage that really gets your heart rate going shows the climber moving freely across Mount Futago (a dormant volcano near Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan). Moments later, a bear comes tearing out of the vegetation and attacks the climber, resulting in a bad time all around.
“I was attacked by a bear from behind while descending the rocky ridge of Mt.Futago,” reads a statement on a YouTube video of the incident. “Instead of fear, I switched to the feeling that if it was coming, I had no choice but to face it."
“Looking back at the video, it seems that the bear attacked me to protect the cub. I invaded bear territory, but since they attacked me, I defended myself with self-defense… The bear family went down, so I climbed back up to the summit. After taking a breather, I returned the way I came and descended.”
The climber walked away with scratches, cuts and a sprain, but no doubt feels very fortunate to have survived the unfortunate encounter. While bears are magnificent animals (to be celebrated in all their Fat Bear Week wonder), running into an angry parent is not something you want to experience first-hand.
Should you find yourself faced with a bear (annoyingly, on the day you left your Bear-Fighting Mech Suit at home), there are some tips you can put into practice to increase your chances of getting away safely.
“If you come upon a stationary bear, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping,” suggests the National Parks Service. “Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears.”
“Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Like dogs, they will chase ﬂeeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees. Do NOT push down a slower friend (even if you think the friendship has run its course)."
That said, not much can prepare you for a bear that comes bouldering out from nowhere and is seriously pissed that you’ve wandered into its territory. As such, it’s best to steer clear of known bear country without first checking in with local authorities who may have tips on the best routes for safe passage or specific details on how to handle interactions with the bears native to that region.
Oh, and while you should never slow any decisions for the sake of capturing something for the gram, if you happened to be wearing a helmet cam at the time, do share with the group.