Categories: Climb Like a Local
Bishop embodies the quintessential wide-open West, with hundreds of high-quality granite boulder problems set against an epic backdrop of the Eastern Sierras. Add in 300 days of sunshine a year, and Bishop might just be the perfect bouldering destination.
Photo courtesy of Sean Naugle/blackowlmedia.com
Local Vibe: This community is stoked on climbing—and even more so on mountain living. All that open space and sunshine makes people happy, and it shows. Locals here are psyched to recommend great camping and climbing spots.
Avoid the Crowds: The Buttermilks and Happy Boulders are home to a huge selection of unparalleled problems, but they can get crowded. If you're looking for more solitude, head to Dale’s Camp or Sherwin Plateau, where you’ll find quality problems without the crowds.
Local Pet Peeve: The quickest way to stick out like a sore thumb in Bishop is to set up camp somewhere inappropriate. Sure, dispersed camping is technically allowed, but there are plenty of (dirt-cheap) official campgrounds in the area. Plus, who wants to pitch a tent in the middle of a bunch of boulders? Local climbers make a point of camping only in established sites, so use the opportunity to meet some of them and get some tips.
Watch Out! The Bishop area is filled with archaeological artifacts—think pottery shards, arrowheads, and petroglyphs—and defacing or removing them is a sure way to lose access to great climbing. Some areas with high concentrations of artifacts are clearly signed, but if there’s any doubt, err on the side of caution and steer clear.
Pro Tip: When you visit Bishop, be sure to bring your skin care kit. The Buttermilks have an especially abrasive grain of granite. Give you skin a rest by alternating your days: one day at the Buttermilks followed by a day in the volcanic areas like the Happies or Sads where the rock is slightly less abrasive. Also, for just a few bucks you can get a nice hot springs session, a warm shower, and wifi at Keough’s Hot Springs just south of Bishop. ~Colette McInerney, pro climber and Bishop regular
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