Rock Climbing is a sport unlike many others. Almost all the people who rock climb do it for the fun of it, not to win championships or prizes. It is awesome in a way that you don’t really feel elsewhere. It is similar to hiking and mountain biking in the fact that you can go for as long or as little as you want. The difference is that you are alone on the rock, and you don’t get bored of it. You’re just there, and you can do as much or as little of it as you can. We have been really lucky to have the chance to do a ton of rock climbing on this trip, and it has been spectacular to have so much time to rock climb in different locations.
Our next big climbing stop in Ol’Cali was Bishop, based out of a campground called The Pit. Bishop is a nice little town on the eastern side of the sierras, in an area known as Owens Valley. The bishop that is known to climbers is known because of the spectacular bouldering – climbing low rocks with no rope- in Happy Boulders, Sad Boulders, the Buttermilks, not to mention the sport and traditional (trad) climbing in Owens Valley River Gorge. In our five days staying at the pit, we bouldered at Happy Boulders twice, and we also had a dismal attempt at the Buttermilks due to the freezing temperatures and crazy wind. First though, we shall start out with our happy climbs at Happy Boulder as it is a awesome place to climb, and it is really what the name states, huge, happy, boulders. Happy Boulders and the Buttermilks are home to some of the hardest bouldering routes known to climbers, including Mandala, Evilution, Atari, and the on-the-verge-of-highballing climb, Grandpa Peabody. Even with all the V-13 and up climbs, we only went for V-3’s and down. Here’s why:
Next we went to Joshua Tree, which currently houses the most fabulous grip climbing in the world. Joshua Tree has huge boulders sitting on the ground, most of them looking as if giants in the sky stumbled and dropped rocks down to earth. We were lucky enough to be able to climb there so we took advantage of the situation and climbed most days we were there.
Our first stop in Joshua tree was Bell Campground. Yep, we did climb in a campground, but, weirdly enough, it wasn’t too crowded. We got some nice climbs in behind a lady’s RV before we went back home. Our next climbing spot, was on the BACKSIDE of Bell Campground. I found my niche when I completed a tight and fun 5.9, some parts pushing against both rocks, some parts twisting my arm, and some parts twisting my leg, while Grant, Mom, and Dad went for a nice corner climb. Completing some sport leads and fun climbs, we altogether had an awesome time at Bell Campground. The following day we went to Trash Can Boulders, a spectacular (if a little windy) place to climb. Even though the climbs were short and stout, we found a sweet little obstacle course to play around on. In the winter, the sun sets earlier so the day ended quickly but already very tired from the climbing I knew I would sleep well.
The last day at Joshua Tree, we climbed on the slab known as Outward Bound, a big slab with multiple climbs. We had a splendid time doing several climbs with our company being 1), ourselves, 2), a dog, and 3), two friendly people. We had a nice time climbing in their company, and we completed a couple more climbs before we walked back a couple of miles to the car in the twilight to sleep.
Red Rocks Canyon Nevada, is a spectacular place to climb with (drumroll please), red rocks! Our first and funnest stop was called The Gallery, where Grant completed his first 5.10b lead, and where I climbed a 5.10a without falling! The Gallery is the place where the picture above was taken, and besides the challenges of being on an open wall, the Desert Varnish (black stuff) is really slippery. We had a awesome time breaking our climbing limits and meeting old Gilman friends at Red Rocks Canyon, Nevada. The day after The Gallery, we had a fun but hard time climbing on 5.8's and up, but we did meet some nice people trying to crack a 5.11 a without falling. The next day we quickly made a push into southern Utah, and climbed again on fossilized sand dunes at Snow Canyon State Park, a nice fun place to climb. (Picture of Snow Canyon state Park at bottom, before Cochise Stronghold.)
Places We climbed
The Needles, South Dakota
Smith Rocks, Oregon
Joshua Tree, California
Red Rocks, Nevada
Snow Canyon, Utah
Cochise Stronghold, Arizona