Climbers from around the world trek to Bishop, California for world class climbing, beautiful vistas, and to connect with a community of adventure seekers. Bishop and the surrounding area has primarily bouldering routes. However, some of those “bouldering” routes a are extremely high-ball and can put you 30 feet plus above your crash pad.
In those situations, some climbers pull out the rope, others put together a dozen crash pads, and some just watch. One of the benefits of taking a trip and venturing to such a popular place is that it’s easy to find people who can climb an incredibly difficult inverted V13 route. They can pull their whole body up on holds that I can barely see.
By nature, climbing is a very humbling sport. There is a always a “problem” or route that I can’t climb. Even climbs that are within what I should be able to get up require trying a dozen times to figure out a way up. That being said, it shouldn’t be a surprise how friendly complete strangers were. People became friends while trying to tackle a common problem, giving tips, suggestions, and working together to find a way. It was very much like climbing in a gym, but with some of the most interesting problems I’ve ever climbed.
On top of that, we had stunning views in all directions. This was a completely different experience from our ice climbing trip in Ouray, Colorado though. The Sierra mountain range kept us company the whole trip, but we were in the high desert instead of feeling like we were high amongst the mountain tops like in Ouray. Mt. Whitney was a site to see. The blue skies, wistful clouds, and brisk November winds brought a calm, peaceful element to the trip.
There are probably 10 different areas to climb in and around Bishop. We spent about 4 days up there and were able to visit 1 per day. This is definitely a great spot to spend some vacation time. The camping is great, but check the temperature forecast, because it can get chilly at night in the winter.
We climbed this route called the shark fin in Lone Pine. It’s off the road up to Bishop if you drive up from the south. There are a few different routes. We used the 5.6 / 5.7 line as a warm up.
Crashpads are the unsung heros of bouldering. They allow us to push our boundaries and our limits. They make bouldering possible.
There were several groups climbing to the top of many of these climbs without ropes.
On our way, hunting for the next spot to tackle.
There are some places in Bishop that are very crowded and highly trafficked. However, in this spot, we were all alone and had the whole valley to ourselves. It was a truly surreal and peaceful place to spend the afternoon.
Jon is tackling an inverted V4 with incredible tenacity. Chris is making sure he lived to tell the tale.
Jon, climbing up out of a cave.