Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Quest for Better Friction

In addition to the sheer quantity of bouldering, the variety of climbing available around Bishop is stunning. This is helped in large part by the differing rock types available to climb on. Although not the prettiest rock to look at, the Volcanic Tuff of the Happies, Sads and areas on the Sherwin Plateau provide endless types of holds to crank on.

At the Happies, here is Kristal exercising the full extend of her reach on the aptly named, and super fun, Slap Happy V3.


At the Sads, me desperately reaching for a crimp on Water Colors V7.


At the Catacombs on the Sherwin Plateau, Kristal on Todd's New Standard V4, one of the many pocketed problems in the area.


The Quartz Monzonite of the Buttermilks is entirely different. When we first drove up we looked at each other and said, 'Cool, we're back in Joshua Tree' and although the formations aren't as large or numerous, the rock type and bouldering style is the same. Translating to: have fun climbing anything in the heat.

Here's me demonstrating the first move of Buttermilk Stem V1 as Phil looks on.


We had a few days of really nice temperatures, but also managed to hit a few days that pushed over 100 F in Bishop itself. We employed several strategies to beat the heat of the day, the most obvious one being evening and early morning sessions. Those that knew my schedule in my working days might be surprise to know that yes, I can get out of bed around 5am.

Here's Kristal in the Buttermilks racing the rising sun on Birthday Direct V3.

The differing elevations of the various areas, ranging from 4000 ft to 8500 ft also meant we could escape to higher elevations. Here Kristal is bearing down on one of the micro crimps of Dude V9 in Rock Creek, guaranteed to beat the heat at 8500 ft.


We also spent a couple of days sport climbing in Owens River Gorge, where the cliffs in the shade offered a cool escape from the sun.

Visiting Bishop in the summer has many advantages, unfortunately good friction isn't one of them. If you are interested in having an awesome time, come any time of the year. If you are interested in bouldering hard, you'd best come in the winter.

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