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Video: Man fights charging bear on a mountainside

A bear charges at a mountaineer in Japan, Oct. 1, 2022. (Screenshot)
October 20, 2022

A mountaineer recently became the subject of viral attention after he had to fight off a charging bear while scaling a rocky mountain crag.

The mountaineer said he was descending from Mt. Futago in the Saitama Prefecture, Japan on Oct. 1 when a bear charged at him. The mountaineer, who identified himself to PEAKS magazine as Mr. Shimada, captured the heart-pounding encounter on his GoPro Hero10 action camera, which gives an almost eye-for-eye view of what he saw.

The video begins with Mr. Shimada lowering himself down a set of jagged rocks. The mountaineer is focused on the delicate dissent when he suddenly looks up to see a black bear rushing down the rocky crag toward him. Thus begins Mr. Shimada’s battle with the bear.

Throughout the roughly 30-second encounter, Mr. Shimada fends off a series of charges by the bear, letting out his primal screams as he kicks and punches at the bear while maintaining his precarious grasp to the rocky crag.

“Instead of fear, I switched to the feeling that if it was coming, I had no choice but to face it,” Mr. Shimada wrote in his video caption. “Keep screaming and intimidating. Pound with Hammer Fist. Front kick.”

A bear attacks a mountaineer in Japan, Oct. 1, 2022. (Screenshot)

Mr. Shimada virtually side-stepped the bears initial charge, giving it a shove as it tumbled over the rocky hold he was on. As the bear lunged past, it had its mouth agape and very nearly took a bite out of Mr. Shimada on the way by.

Not yet deterred, the bear again came charging back up the rock before Mr. Shimada beat it back with a series of hammer fist blows about the wild predator’s head.

The bear fell back but immediately tried to climb back up the rock. Mr. Shimada stamped out that attack with a pair of kicks to the animal’s face.

The bear appeared to retreat for a moment before turning back, as if in consideration of one final attempt to attack Mr. Shimada. The mountaineer let the bear knew he wasn’t suddenly about to give up and continued to scream at the animal until it finally ran off.

A mountaineer hammers a charging bear over the head with his fist. (Screenshot)

Mr. Shimada believes the bear attacked him because he got near a cub. At one point in the video, an animal’s faint whining sound is audible. Given the chance to reflect on the attack, Mr. Shimada wrote, “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.”

Mr. Shimada said he typically wears a bear bell when he’s out in the wilderness. The bell is meant to create noise to scare off bears, but Mr. Shimada said he muted the bell while descending down the rock because it was too noisy.

A mountaineer kicks a charging bear in the face. (Screenshot)

After the fight, Mr. Shimada said he saw the bear family descend down the mountain. He said he chose to climb back up in the other direction, giving them some separation.

“After taking a breather, I returned the way I came and descended,” he said.

The mountaineer was lucky to get through the battle with the bear relatively unscathed.

PEAKS magazine reported bears have attacked other mountaineers in that area before.

Reviewing the fight, Mr. Shimada said, “my hands were scratched and cut from desperately holding on to the rock” and “my right wrist was slightly sprained after hammering the rock and the bear.”

The mountaineer may have gotten through as well as he had thanks to his experience with martial arts growing up.

“I learned karate when I was a child, but I liked mixed martial arts now, so maybe I could use hammer fist instead of punches,” he said.

A black bear was spotted scaling the barbed wire fence at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida earlier this year.