So ends another trip to Bishop. Danica and I have made it a tradition we do every fall, to kind of close out the climbing year. This year was unlike last year (I will get to that later on in this blog post) but was still amazing none the less. This year we decided to go down a day early so we could have an extra day in paradise. We left on Thursday and came back home on Sunday. The drive down to Bishop was beautiful except for the fact that we took a wrong turn at the 88 / 89 junction near south shore and ended up driving almost all the way back to the valley! No bueno.. All in all it added about another 2 hours to our drive but by far had no adverse affects on our trip. The psych was still very much high! And now we know: from 50 take a right on 89 and a LEFT on 88 followed by another right on 89 to get to 395 mono basin. :)
We still made pretty decent time and got into our campsite at about 2pm on Thursday. If you have never camped at Mill Pond I suggest you check it out. They have a ton of campsites available. Each campsite comes with its own parking spot, fire pit, water spigot, etc.. And the campgrounds have bathrooms and pay-showers! Pretty bad ass and much better than 'the pit' from what I hear. Here is the link for Mill Pond. As a word of advice if you try and call ahead of time to book a reservation and no one picks up the phone have no fear. As I said they have a ton of campsites and rarely fill up so you can drive down there w/out a reservation with no issue.
After we setup camp we headed over to the happy's to get some late day climbing in and I am super glad we did. We got to the happy's at about 3:30pm. There was a ton of shade and hardly anyone there. We pretty much had the place to ourselves which was awesome. I managed to get up a few V1's which was a huge improvement for me from last year where all I could send was some V0's. I know V1's dont sound like much (I climb V6 in the gym) but anyone who's bouldered at Bishop before knows that V1's are super hard. At least for me they are. A standard V1 in Bishop has little to no foot holds and tiny 2 finger crimps or single mono's for hand holds. A problem like that in the gym would be V5-V6 for sure..
On Friday we decided to take a rest day and go investigate the hot springs situated around Crowley Lake we've heard so much about. The picture at the top of this blog post shows me at one of them. It was absolutely amazing and I HIGHLY suggest checking them out if you have time. They are warm, very secluded, and have some of the best views Bishop has to offer. What more could you ask for? ;)
By the time Saturday rolled around Danica and I were itching to climb. Our plan was to head to the Buttermilk's for a full day of bouldering. Plus, it was Danica's birthday so I wanted it to be extra special and figured whats better than bouldering at the Buttermilk's on your birthday?? Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. We rolled up to the Buttermilk's at about 10:30am (which we thought was early) and to our shock it was PACKED. We counted at least 34 cars and more were rolling in every few minutes. Every boulder was packed with crowds of at least 15-20 climbers. I think we counted almost 100 people! We didn't even turn the ignition off... We just turned around and headed back to camp. Completely bummed of course! There was no way we were going to sit and wait 20 minutes or so between climbs while everyone takes their turn. The lower-grade boulders were especially packed so wait times Im sure would have been even longer. This was so different from our trip to the Buttermilk's last year where we climbed on a Saturday and saw hardly anyone there. I think this really illustrates how much the sport has grown just in this past year.
Our experience at the Buttermilk's highlights the rise in popularity of the sport. Which, is both good and bad. Don't get me wrong... I just started climbing about 3 years ago so I am definitely part of the 'new generation' of climbers and would classify myself as a 'gym-baby' no doubt. I think the rise of the sport is good but at the same time crags are going to increasingly become crowded so you have to adjust your plans to account for that. Next year we've decided to plan our trip exclusively for a week day. No more weekend climbing at Bishop. This point was highlighted by the fact that the happy's on Thursday were a ghost-town. Two days later on Saturday the Buttermilk's were packed. We ended up salvaging our climbing trip on Saturday by heading to a lesser known spot we found in the guidebook called 'Pocketopia' located up the 395 close to Crowley Lake. It took a fair amount of time to get there and the climbing was so so. But it was empty so at least we could get several routes in before calling it a day.
All in all the trip was still amazing. Any day I can spend in Bishop is a good day regardless of what we are doing. And to get to share that experience with my amazing fiance Danica makes it that much more special. Oh thats right, for any of you who actually read this, I got engaged over 4th of July weekend! I am so lucky to have found someone who shares my love of the outdoors. Even without that commonality she would still be the most amazing woman I've ever met. But that fact that we can enjoy the outdoors and climbing together just makes it that much more special.
Our trip to Bishop this year was full of ups and downs and a fair amount of surprises but it was still fun none the less. All in all I think this pic pretty much sums it up:
I'd love to hear about other people's experiences down in Bishop so feel free to sound off in the comments section!