My friend and I were climbing Rising Wolf Mountain in the Two Medicine on July 22, 2017 when a grizzly sow attacked us. We stopped about half way to the summit to take pictures and for a short rest before we finish our climb to the summit. We stopped at the bottom of a small gully about 6 ft. wide, with cliff bands up above us. There were some small trees there that we sat under for shade. I removed my backpack which luckily I kept close to me. I had my pepper spray attached to the shoulder strap by a carabiner. After taking a handful of pictures of the area my friend and I heard rocks falling back behind us, followed by grunting noises, and gnashing of teeth – just like the park brochures say and that they hand out at every entrance station warning you of a bear attack. Looking back behind us towards the noise I didn’t see anything at first but I knew we were in serious trouble. I yelled to my friend “pepper spray!! pepper spray!!” knowing we had only seconds to react before the grizzly was on us. At this time the sow grizzly popped out behind a rock and small shrub about 20 ft. above us. She was in a full charge coming down the gully right at us. Being scared for my life all I can say is at this point my muscle memory kicked in, I dropped my camera and took two steps down and to the right to position myself as close to the tree next to me as I could. My friend ducked down at the base of a tree next to his backpack.

What I’m sure was a flash of second lasted a long time in my head. As I turned the bear was about 2 feet away with its paw stretched out in my direction. My friend said I did a bull fighting “Olay” move to get out of her way. I don’t remember this. What I do remember was turning and looking at her and seeing the reflection of the sun in her eye. Time slowed to a crawl. I could have counted the fur strands on her muzzle. As she was charging down the hill, she lifted her body and paw to get ahold of me. Its claw missed me by inches. Luckily bears can’t stop on a dime. Her weight and momentum carried her down the gully, over a rock drop off of about 2 feet and onto some scree. All this punishment did not phase her one bit but this good fortune now had her at a stop and about 15 feet away from us. She slowly turned and was preparing to charge back at us.

Time sped up again and the reality of what just happened started to settle in as I saw the bear slide to a stop. I felt like I was watching an episode of Plant Earth, but the outcome was still unsure. I reached down to my backpack and grabbed my pepper spray. Making sure to take the safety off I walked towards the bear to get to her before she got above the rock drop off she slid over. I held the pepper spray out and waited perhaps a second until the bear reached the rock just below me. As the bear lifted its body and head to get on top of the rock I pulled the trigger. Her head was within 2 feet of my outreached arm. Without taking another step the bear turned and ran down the hill and side traversed the mountain side in a full sprint. At that point I heard and saw the new born cub up above us in the cliff bands. It turned and ran towards its mother. The encounter lasted about 7 seconds from the first noise to discharging the pepper spray. 3 seconds to reach us and another 4 for her to turn around and come back to us.

We survived this encounter without a scratch because your product works well. Thank you, I couldn’t imagine having this encounter without this protection.

Craig Parmelee

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