Bouldering in Bishop

It's been a really amazing, relaxing, and fun spring. After Tahoe I headed to Bishop. I had spent some time there last winter but last winter was crazy with snow and in my van I was very limited in where I could go and pretty much just stuck around the Volcanic Tableland boulders as they were the only thing consistently climbable. Being back this year was completely different - everything was in, great weather, consistent sending temps, and all areas near town were easily accessible. When I first got to town I immediately headed to an area called the Buttermilk Boulders which is a world famous area of tall quartz monzonite boulders deposited by glaciers at the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Arriving to the Buttermilk Boulders where I spent almost two months this spring.
Enjoying relaxing, taking the occasional job interview, and meeting lots of people in the camping areas around the buttermilks.

Buttermilk Country

The Buttermilk Boulders Main Area

I had a lot of free time now that I was not working anymore. I learned quickly I couldn't climb all day every day especially not in a place like this. Most of the bouldering follows razor sharp edges and I recall already having raw fingertips after just climbing a handful of boulders the first day. In the first few days there I had climbed some awesome moderates such as Tut which requires some commitment to smearing at the top, Bowling Pin which was a good intro to the taller stuff, and the classic Iron Man Traverse which I'd seen many classic pictures of over the years! A few days in, my fingers were raw and I needed to rest. I slowly settled into a routine of climbing as much as I possibly could then taking a day or two off to heal the fingers, go on a hike, or go rope climbing on easier stuff in Pine Creek Canyon. I spent some time touching up my resume, applied to jobs, did my taxes, cooked a lot, met many great people, hackysacked in the parking lots, and played a lot of guitar on my little Bugera tube amp. Life was certainly good.

(left) The famous Green Wall Boulder featuring multiple classic lines up bulletproof patina. (right) Climbing the amazing Southwest Arete on Grandma Peabody.
The desert is stunning!
On rest days explored some other areas such as the Bardini Boulders looking at some of the mega routes that have been put up there such as A Maze of Death V12 (left) and the highball arete This Side of Paradise V9 (right). Both were definitely above my pay grade for this trip but had a great time scouting for future projects and enjoying the beauty of the desert rocks.
Many days I got to watch the weather blow out of the eastern Sierras and into the desert.
My good friends from Washington were in town for most of the time I was there, they had just finished building their van in December and were living the good life travelling and working. The left picture of some amazing rock we found on a rest day exploration around the southern side of Grouse Mountain, just south of the main Buttermilk area.
After couple weeks of sun and sending temps another big winter storm began rolling through the Sierras dumping many feet of snow in the mountains and a few inches regularly falling at the foothills.
Made many awesome trips to soak at the Hilltop Hot Spring 20 minutes North of town. It gets a bit busy at times but was lucky enough to have it to myself on a beautiful starry night on one of my visits.

Spring Powder

It's not often I get to ski powder in April but this spring definitely provided. When the storm came to Bishop it lined up perfectly with me pulling a huge flapper on Seven Spanish Angels(still sent!) and I decided to head back up to Kirkwood where I skiied 5 incredible days of 1-2 feet of powder on a relatively empty mountain!

April powder at Kirkwood!
I also made it to Mammoth mountain for the first time and skiied a day there.

Back in Bishop

After a great week of skiing I returned to Bishop with my skin healed and ready to climb hard. The nature of climbing in a place like the buttermilks where the holds are generally some sort of razor sharp edge makes everything very dependent on the condition of your skin. If your skin is too soft it wears too quick, if too hard you rip flappers, it's very much a balancing act that requires building up and maintaining calluses. I was finally hitting my stride and starting to get back towards pushing the grades but sadly soon after getting back I tweaked a finger and though it was a pretty minor strain it would take weeks of healing to get back to feeling like I could climb at my limit. Given I was planning to return to Washington in a few weeks this was more or less the end of my trip for hard bouldering but luckily the Bishop area had a lot to offer in terms of roped climbing which is much easier on the skin and fingers.

I spent a good amount of time in an area called Pine Creek 20 minutes out of town that has some pretty good alpine style climbing and cragging with short approaches and amazing views.
Exploring The "Dreamers" bouldering area and the nearby "Rim" area. Lots of beautiful rock climbing off the beaten path and I climbed some of the easier things but mostly was a scouting mission for future projects due to having a strained finger.

I was getting ready to head back to Washington but had been putting it off as a band I love seeing, Phish, would be playing 4 nights in Las Vegas which was only three hours from me at the new venue built by Madison Square Gardens called the Sphere costing $2.3B. The Sphere was said to be epic and Phish was only the second band after U2 to be playing there, I really wanted to be there. The cheapest tickets on the scalper market were running for near $1500 and the app fans use for selling and trading tickets for face value(CashOrTrade) had thousands of fans looking for face value tickets so chances were slim at getting anything there. I made a post on CashOrTrade essentially saying I'd take someone climbing in Red Rocks if they sold me a ticket for Thursday night and to my astonishment I had a message the next morning from a guy named Zach whose climbing partner bailed and had an extra ticket and was willing to sell it to me for the $150 face value. I was in!

After 6 glorious weeks in the Buttermilks I soaked in the last few days before heading to Las Vegas to see Phish at the Sphere. It was hard to leave but I left knowing I'd be back again soon!

Phish at the Sphere

Vegas sucks when you're living in a van but I'd been there the prior spring and knew what I was getting into. The plan was simple, spend as little time in the city as possible and most importantly to see Phish. I spend the night before the show on a great plot of BLM land surrounded by Joshua Trees just northwest of the city and in the morning made my way in for the show. I found a safe place a few miles from the venue to leave the van for the night and caught an uber to the Sphere. It's a great feeling seeing phish fans (aka "phans") everywhere, funny shirts, stickers, inside jokes all over the place, and just generally lots of smiles. I spent a few hours around the venue meeting new people and sharing in the excitement and anticipation for what was to come. Vibes were high heading into the Sphere and I met up at my seat with Zach who had graciously sold me the ticket that got me in! It's impossible to explain with words what seeing Phish at the Sphere is like so you'll just have to go but it was the best concert I've ever been to and I'll certainly make sure I am there the next time it happens.

Camping on some great BLM land surrounded by Joshua Trees 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas.
Waiting in line with other phans outside the Sphere on night 1!
My phone was taking terrible quality pictures, the above 3 pictures are taken from an album of night one pictures shared by Reddit User u/jeffmatch.
Climbing with my new friend Zach in Red Rocks the next day, getting some shade in the The Black Corridor area.

Back to Washington!

After a night of Phish and a day of climbing in the hot desert I was wrecked and as much as I would have loved to try and score another ticket for another night it was time to head home to Washington. Phish would be back at the Sphere soon and I'd come more prepared next time to survive a 4-night run. The drive back was relatively uneventful and have been back for about a week at the time of writing this! It was a really amazing spring being in the Sierras and around Bishop climbing, soaking in the hot springs, and taking in the amazing views the desert has to offer. I got out bouldering the day after getting back and the feel of the Leavenworth granite against my now Bishop calloused skin made me immediately feel at home here in the Cascades.

First week back and already on the classic Snow Creek Wall helping my friend Jeromy who is currently getting very close to finishing up his mega project he and Jake established called Nebula! Nebulite, the easier version is already open for climbing!