We visited Bishop and Yosemite in the same trip, but I wanted them to be separate pieces to give each the respective attention deserved. Also, this is was our second time to Bishop, so while initial thoughts have been shared, we had some new experiences and Bishop is just so amazing why not continue discussing it’s awesomeness?
Bishop, as an entire town, has captured my heart. Even if one day I woke up and lost interest in climbing (like that will ever happen), I would still want to visit Bishop and think of it often. It appeals to my comfort levels as someone who is a small town girl through and through. It is a place where in the short span of a week, you get to know those who live there so well, you feel like a local. From the man who seemed to front every hotel we stayed at, to the guys eager to exchange stories with you at Eastside Sports, to the entertaining and super kind servers at the Burger Barn, people will talk to you like you’ve been friends forever. It’s also easy to imagine getting wrapped up in the routine. I could easily visualize myself having a daily cup of coffee (more specially pumpkin pie latte) at the Looney Bean every day, and waiting patiently for the nightly movie at their theater which is only open for a couple showings a night. I’d be more than happy to shop at Von’s groceries each week, and I could never get tired of all these glorious sunsets and star scattered night skies. Upon seeing their lakes, I’d most certainly take up fishing, if for nothing else but to marvel at the colors and sparkle.
Of course, I’d also be bouldering until my skin couldn’t take it anymore. That passion alone would take plenty of time with the plethora of climbs available in Bishop. Maybe one day I’d even be able to fight past the fear and try one or two of those high ball ones. Probably not, but even so there would be more than enough to enjoy a couple of years or so. Bishop rock might not be the absolute best quality in the world. Now that we’ve been to Yosemite, I can admit to that. Some of the climbs are polished to smoothness and to the point of making the climb feel worthy of grade increase, but some are also destructively sharp and gritty. None of that seems to matters, to me at least, because they are so much fun and so visually appealing.
I spent a majority of my climbing capability on the V4 Cave Problem pictured above. The bottom I was able to figure out relatively quickly, and I was crazy about it. It was so much fun I couldn’t wait to just do it over and over again. Instead of projecting the logically way of just starting before the crux, I continued to just do the whole thing because it was that enjoyable. However, the end is a substantially big move for my T-Rex arm span, and I was unfortunately not able to send in this trip. You can be sure that I will return for this though.
I vicariously reveled in the thrill of Josh sending The Pope’s Prow (V6). I’m not there yet as a climber, but once I am, I dream of doing this climb. I have no real reason why. There is something aesthetically pleasing about it to me, and the description, which makes it sound like a real problem solver, is intriguing to me. I’m just illogically drawn to it.
I enjoyed watching Josh do a lot of sending, though not the ones he really hoped for. He did get on some super fun climbs though. Who couldn’t love having these views?
I also took a try at a lot of different climbs, though many weren’t photographed. We were busy climbing, after all.
We also traveled over to the Happy’s which are a bit more my style. I love the pockets and low traverses. We met a man from England who traveled there from town by bike. The bike had sadly failed, so we gave him a ride back. It was fascinating hearing a different perspective of the area. He liked the area just as much as we did, but everyone comes from different types of rock and that is interesting to learn about. We actually met lots of different climbers from different areas. Each had a different style of traveling too. Some were there for a brief vacation like us, and some were there for month long trips which we were envious of their ability to do. Some were living out of cars/RVs, some camping, some at the hostel. Whatever way you go about getting there and however long you are staying, it is worth being there.
What’s maybe even more interesting was the people we already knew. It seems some times like climbing is such a big thing. It’s done in so many different countries, by so many different people. Yet at the same time, it’s such a small community. We ran into people we climb with back at home, and had no idea would be there. We didn’t plan it together or know of each other’s plans. It seems every trip we go on, no matter how far, we see friends from home. That’s not a complaint by any means. It’s always nice seeing a familiar face and having that bond. It is fascinating though. I don’t know of many other sports where I can imagine that happening so often. It seems climbers are intrinsically drawn to traveling, exploration, and experiencing different rock.
Our real adventure of the trip was hunting down A Maze of Death (V12). It is an absolutely beautiful climb that is worthy of seeing and doing. Getting there was very confusing and quite a hike. It took us some tries to find it, and when we actually did find it, it was a bit unbelievable. It felt like we might never get there. Once you know where to go, getting there becomes substantially easier. However, the hike never feels quite as casual as the guidebook suggests. Perhaps, we never found the way they are writing about. Every climber we met up there was dedicated for sure. No one wanted to leave until they were sure they gave it every ounce of strength and thought they could muster. It might be as bad as the complaints, or it could be how much Bishop spoils you with multiple boulders that scarcely require much energy to get to. Maybe we are just babies because the Buttermilks is all right at the road. We sucked it up and went up there a few times.
Please note that above tree has nothing to do with this climb. I just felt like it was cool looking and this spot is as good as any to toss it in.
Moving on…one night we splurged and stayed at the Creekside Inn. Wow! What a hotel! Creekside is expensive by the dirt bagging climber standard. But it is actually really reasonable compared to average hotels around the country. It was like $130 a night, I think. They give you a decent spread of breakfast food, there is free soup each night (this just blew my mind), and free cookies! You can eat something free any time of the day or night at this place. It’s all so good too. That soup made my life. I’m a person that loves soups and they held up to my standards.You can have as much as you like too. I won’t embarrass myself with how much I took advantage of this fact. The snickerdoodle cookies were only topped by the Doubletree in Vegas, and only because those cookies were warm like they were right out of the oven. They also have a large, comfy hot tub, and this elaborate and unnecessary but beautiful man made creek set up. The beds are like a soft, fluffy clouds, and the decor is cool because a lot of things look like trees. I was impressed and could move in to this place if I had that kind of money.
I’ve said it before, but it must be said again. There is just no excuse to not eat at the Burger Barn if you are in Bishop. If you don’t eat there, you are really denying yourself an out of this world enjoyable eating experience. It’s also very affordable and can easily fit into even a dirt bagging budget. Even if it can’t, you should still scrounge up the cash and make it happen. Those tater tots are everything! I would ship them to myself on a regular basis if I could. Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat them every day I was there, because then I’d be too heavy to climb, but I ate there as much as I could. The burgers and shakes are also good. There are a lot of cool options. The place is awesome looking. The staff is very nice. It’s just where you need to go when in Bishop. Even if you’re not a beef eater because they have veggie burgers, salmon burgers, and turkey burgers. Also those tater tots! Sweet potato fries if you’re not a tater tot person. Though I think you’re crazy if you don’t at least try them.
Before this little ode to Bishop turns into a novel, because believe me I can talk that long about my love of this place, I will wrap things up with a few more pictures.