/ Must Do's in Bishop, CA

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Andy Clarke - on 01 Aug 2012
I'm one of a small group making a 4 week US road trip mid-Sep to mid-Oct. Plan is: fly into SF, 2 weeks in Yosemite, drive down to Red Rocks, back west for a few days in Joshua Tree, fly out of LA. Assuming the Tioga Pass is still open we could drive via Bishop, where I'd really like to climb. So could you suggest some must do's, either routes in the 5.7-5.10 range, or crags. Just trad/sport rather than bouldering please. I know this is a terrible sin of omission given where we are, but not all the group are boulderers and we'd probably only be there for 2 or 3 days. Recommendations for a campsite and good bars/diners would also be very useful. Thanks
kenr - on 02 Aug 2012
You might want to purchase this guidebook:
California Road Trip, by Tom Slater + Chris Summit (Maximus, 2009)

which has much around Bishop (and other places along the way you might not have thought of)

or more specifically ...
for Sport climbing near Bishop:
Owens River Gorge Climbs, by Marty Lewis (Maximus)

with some Trad options (in addition to that Boulder + some Sport stuff):
Bishop Area Rock Climbs 3rd edition, by Peter Croft + Marty Lewis (Maximus 2008)

btw - It's pretty hard to get between Yosemite and Red Rocks/JTree _without_ going thru Bishop (even if Tioga Pass is _not_ open).
mit - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Must do:

www.erickschatsbakery.com

Camping try:

http://www.inyocountycamping.com/millpond_campground.html

kenr - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to kenr:
Correction -- actually it's fairly obvious to avoid Bishop if Tioga Pass is closed. Tho it depends on how bad you want to get there ... could drive north from Yosemite to Carson Pass or rt 50, then south down along the Eastside Sierra on rt 395 (surely more spectacular than driving down the west side).

If someone in your party happens to be into high-mountain free-solo climbing, might want to consider the NorthEast ridge of Bear Creek Spire (4181 meters) - not more than an hours drive from Bishop in the Rock Creek valley. Traditionally side to be "class 4", but the recent McNamara eays it's hard to find a way to avoid a few "class 5" moves.

An easier free-solo alternative might be the East ridge of Mt Russell (4294m) - but that requires a _long_ approach up North Fork Lone Pine Creek -- and almost two-hour drive from Bishop.
. (Up by Tuolumne Meadows + Tioga Pass are a couple of harder and more famous high free-solo routes.)

Mt Whitney (4419m) is the highest summit in the lower 48 states -- and the East face of the Mt Whitney group is about the most spectacular alpine rock wall in the USA - (Trailhead almost two-hour drive from Bishop). But to do a technical climbing route on it is pretty tough without an overnight permit and equipment to make a high camp.

Ken
Andy Clarke - on 02 Aug 2012
Thanks for replies so far. I think if the Pass is closed we will probably take the unspectacular route to the west of the mountains, just so we can get down to the desert as quickly as possible. I'm aware of the guidebooks - but I think we'll wait till we're out there before picking up a copy. What I'm most looking for is personal recommendations of classic single pitch or short multi-pitch roped routes in the immediate vicinty of Bishop at anything from 5.7-5.10.
Michael Ryan - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:

You will be spoilt for choice down the Owens River Gorge: sport climbs of all grades.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/owens-river-gorge/105843226

I can also recommend Cardinal Pinnacle: multi-pitch granite climbing above Bishop: try the West face and Cucumbers...both moderate 5.10's, 3/4 piches...and it is virtually roadside but at 9,000ft.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/cardinal-pinnacle/105862805

If you have time, as above, I would recommend Bear Creek Spire...4/5 miles walk in, but do The North Ridge 5.8 ..... early start, but OK to do in a day.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/north-arete/105806102

Horton Creek campground is good that time of year

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop/camping/horton.html

Make sure you visit the hot springs after climbing, take some beers and relax. (the ones near Mammoth, near the green church)

Mick
kenr - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:
I know you don't need guidebooks, but indulge me one quote from
"California Road Trip", page 308:

"Lovers Leap - The best multi-pitch traditional granite climbing crag in Northern California"
(next page shows 80% of the routes are in the 5.7-5.10 range)

alongside one of the roads I mentioned as a north + east side alternative to Tioga Pass.
Michael Ryan - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:

You should be OK accessing the Eastern Sierra from Yosemite via the Tioga Pass in October. Then a 4 hr or so drive from Bishop to Vegas by Route 168 to Interstate 95....an interesting drive.
Andy Clarke - on 02 Aug 2012
Great info: thanks both. That's certainly whetted my appetite. Now all I need is an extra couple of months out there so I can fit in everything I want to do!
EarlyBird - on 02 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:

You should check out the Mountain Light gallery in Bishop on a rest day.
SGD - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke: Hiya Andy.... :)

You guys will get all that done in a couple of days, after all you have the Timinator with you and he 'Absolutely will not stop' :)
Andy Clarke - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to SGD: Unfortunately, speaking as Titanium Man, I think big walling with the Timinator may have given me metal fatigue by that point in the trip. Anyway, shouldn't you be massaging statistics - or are you on a tea break already?
jon on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke:

Drive down to Lone Pine, then up to Whitney Portal and do the best finger crack on the East Side:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=107176
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=107175
In reply to jon:


Looks fantastic, how come we missed that? Grade please!


Chris

;-)
jon on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:

10c Chris, if I remember correctly. The hardest part is the thin slab to get to the crack. It's on one of the white granite buttresses on the right just before Whitney Portal. Here's another gem from there: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=160986
SGD - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke: :) I was watching blue bars on my screen....I do a lot of that....
Andy Clarke - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to jon: Whitney Portal looks very good. Trouble is, we'll never arrive in Red Rocks if we're not careful. I can feel a 2013 trip coming on.
SGD - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Andy Clarke: It does doesn't it.....I'd be up for that, if I can pursuade the boss....
In reply to jon:

10c - them were the days!

Looks great, vaguely reminiscent of the blobtastic stuff on Dome Rock.


Chris

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