Buttermilks Climbing

Bishopjosh in bishop 2

The sky was an awe inspiring cornflower blue against a mountain of cream colored smooth rock that melted into the hillside like a slab of warm butter leaving large drips of boulders scattered down the hill. We first saw the two famously large Peabody boulders that from certain angles look perfectly split in two. From a car it is hard to take in how massive their size is, but when they are looming above you, it is quite impressive. The next thing we saw was an intriguing pure white line of chalk like a sideways lightning bolt through the middle of the rock. It makes an excellent landmark as the vibrant white somehow stands out amongst all the other captivating colors. It draws you right in front the start.

Josh was anxious to get to Stained Glass, which is a beautiful V10 climb that is perfectly suited to his interests and style. It was an absolute pleasure watching him send it. Sometimes watching others project a climb can get a little boring. It is fun to project, but honestly the redundancy of watching is much more difficult than doing. This climb was a definite exception. It would have been fun to stay and watch people climb it all day. The sequence and flow is just outstanding. It climbs very nicely with grace and elegance. Each person who gave it a try did something a little different but it pulls each climber into a aesthetic sequence of moves. Each climber made steady progression with pride and psyches running high up to a heartbreaking dyno last move. Each time felt so much closer, but still so far for many of the climbers who braved a try. Several come back day after day to flawlessly execute all moves but the last.

For Josh it took two sessions to make it to the top. I, unknowningly, cursed him by wondering out loud if when he finally touched the right part of the top out he would stick or fall only to be successful on the second attempt. He grabbed the top hold successfully for a moment and then slipped before being able to pull up. The next attempt was successful. You could hear unseen voices from all around because they could see the climb from areas where we could not see them. It was a joyful moment for all those who had invested any time in projecting with us. Everyone was psyched to see someone make it and to know that it was possible.

We traveled over to that beautiful white line mentioned before and in the picture above, which is a classic V4 traverse. If you campus it, it is a V6. If you traverse right, then traverse back left, it is also a V6. If you go right up the middle, it is a V9. This is an area that is rarely left unattended, and rightfully so. The V4 traverse is progressive. It starts off with easy enough slopey hands and a nice wide foot ledge on an angle that provides some difficulty. Then the hand rail gets progressively smaller, the feet disappear, and the end is a tricky but fun mantle over the top.

We tried a plethora of different routes, all of which were fun and interesting. We set our sights on some we will have to come back for. We loved the town. During our time there we checked out some of the local cuisine and would highly recommend the Burger Barn. They have unbelievable tater tots and they make their burgers from scratch. They even make the buns and most of the sauces. They have a wide selection of milkshakes, and some very reasonable prices. It is a little cozy place with an outdoor fire pit that drew us in. Eating there feels like being invited into someone’s home as it is a little room next to the kitchen. The staff were all friendly and the food taste was unbeatable. We wish we could have it sent to us here.

We camped a night in our van at the local campground. The price is $2 a night. They have fire pits built that if you bring the ingredients for you can get going. The have bathrooms, but no showers. However, getting up and walking around at night time makes it one of the best places I’ve stayed. The sky is clear and you feel like you can see every star possible. The moon was so bright, it lit up the mountain as clear as daytime. The look was mesmorizing. I could hardly sleep from being so captivated by the beauty of it.

The wildlife provided for some excellent entertainment as well. One of the times we were driving down the dirt road closer to dusk, our van was surrounded by about fifty mule deer. This included babies and adults. They were beautiful with the black stripe down their spine on an otherwise brown coat. They stared at us with mild curiousity as they continued to chomp on the vegetation. It was a spectacular sight.

Bishop is a place to fall in love with. It was here that we saw the most spectacular moon. It was a full moon, large and clear, surrounded by pinks, purples, and blues. If you think of the best sunset you have ever seen, multiple it by ten and then throw in a gorgeous glowing moon, you may have an image that comes close.

There is so much climbing available, and so much still to be discovered. It would be quite possible to climb there forever.

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