From my experience I needed those bear stance points more than anything for defense not for DR.
These dr items and lowering bear stance level is more suitable later, when you have most charms, but then you'd have to respec.
At early point of progression I valued maxing defense over other things, so using a RW weapon realy hurts you in that department.
That cb is sure nice and definitely an option.
As I said there are many approaches to this, you could build it differently.
Personally I didn't have problems with insufficient fortress range. What did suck at times was having too low defense early on with 2h weapon, thats why I prefered to start from maxing bear stance. Very early on at level 120 your defense is around 450-500k and with same gear and all charms you have nearly a million with 2h axe, huge difference made by +max skill levels, slvls to runemaster and so on. Keep in mind fortress is only used here to help with some few easier bosses that you can't melee, otherwise its main purpose it to give you ranged skill to apply ow, and help with some single target situation when you both melee and hit with fortress. But it isn't fortress barb, and skill is more of a support than main theme here. There is no single point where you cheese with fortress using this max range, and in for example void fight it is plenty enough range to apply ow even when you dont see rathma on your screen.
Also keep in mind that tu labrys does have 10% cb and 20% slow, which makes it competitive.
Spirit guide route totally didn't work for one reason - you lose defense bonus when you ww to travel. In place like fauztinville, ureh, vizjun, anywhere you rush to skip content, your defense bonus from spirit guide is completely lost because wolves get stuck, and you will have hard time.
It is fine when you walk and kill stuff, which was also my initial idea, this is also what you have to do when you build for example overkill barb (can't use bear). But it will cause you problems when you try to use whirlwind and skip monsters. If you want 1 build to do ALL ubers you have to take that into consideration, and thats why I scrapped idea of going wolf overkill barb.
As for Laz fight. I had mixed results with this, using 2 weapons with slow and without for offhand, sometimes I didn't work, you could definitely see laz barely slowed, and sometimes slowed harder. This is why I recommend using 2 weapons with same slow, or just use titan strike (then only main hand swings), to ensure you always apply max slow you have.