Just curious, but what kind of bears are you talking about? I know black bears are adept climbers, but I don't think grizzlies and larger (Kodiaks, polar bears) are that good (too big). And if this is a cave bear, I would think the same thing. I've been told it's good to run up a tree from a grizzly, but not a black bear.
Was the shaman concentrating on anything by chance? I was under the impression that there might be something to disrupt.