Bishop faithful migrate to the area’s world class desert bouldering with metronome winter timing. There groups from LA and the Bay Area mix like old friends in surrealistic weekend reality. Along with the amazing problems, Gabe’s contagious motivation keeps Bishop on my mind despite my permanently scattered bouldering focus.
I always love meeting new fast friends and working lines together bouldering. If you want to make friends through climbing, there is no better way than grabbing a crash pad, some whiskey to share and finding the crowd. This time we had a great group with Sandy, Cam and Kei rounding out our crew. We spent a couple days taking in the big beauty of the High Sierra backdrop and the small battles of Bishop’s characteristic sharp crimps.
We visited the Sads on day one where Kei and Gabe came close on a couple V-double digit testpieces in the Ice Caves. Usually I wouldn’t be able to help but joining the party, but instead I remained a spectator, saving my skin for more realistic endeavors, like scratching my hairy chest and eating cronuts. It was a good choice. The Sads are new to me and it’s a blast discovering an area’s classic moderates, like the perfectly tall Strength in Numbers (V5).
I’ve now been to Bishop four times. The only line I’ve visited on each trip is Soul Slinger (V9). The Buttermilks gem sits right in the middle of the main area and is hard to avoid. Usually you can find it just by following the sounds of groans and the familiar crash back to earth as another climber gets spit off the desperate top. The problem starts easy before turning instantly hard for a 4-5 move sequence up a friction arete with invisible crimps and horrid pinches ending with a sideways stab to a miracle bucket. The fun opening sequence gets you off the ground and gives the impression of being close when reality is usually less optimistic.
On day two we strolled by and joined the Soul Slinger fun. After a year hiatus, I stood back and watched the show, remembering the moves, zeroing in on the infamous “crimp” and chain smoking a pack of Virginia Slims. Gabe, who sent the line last year, ate a pile of bacon. I tossed on my shoes, hopped on and sent. First try. Every now and then even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.
Other lines Kei, Gabe, Sandy and Cam were working are amazing and it’s safe to say we’d all love to get back soon. Check out a few more photos from the trip as well as a lighthearted aside.
Finally, last year we posted an article on how to improve your Mental Game climbing. We recently got some unique feedback from a reader. Check it out below and read the piece here.