Fall is quickly approaching, temperatures are dropping and the rock climbing season in Bishop is upon us! Well to be honest the climbing on the east side is amazing year round but Fall is when this zone really shines and there are two areas that stand out- the Owens River Gorge and Pine Creek Canyon.
The best two days you could spend in Bishop would be climbing at these two crags. “The Gorge” as locals call it is home to the most concentrated sport climbing in all of California with walls spanning on both sides with miles of high quality routes. The climbing style has everything from technical slab climbing, thin pocketed face climbing and the steepest roof climbing I’ve ever seen with everything in between. One of the other features that makes this area so classic is that because the gorge more or less runs north to south, you’re able to find shade or sun all day long depending on the temperatures, which is a huge luxury for a climbing area. A perfect day of climbing for me is warming up in the sun down at the Bannana Belt with classic climbing like on “Pocket Dance” a 115’, 14 bolt 5.10c and “Love Stinks” another 115’ route with 11 bolts clocking in at 5.11a. Once we’ve got the blood flowing and our forearms are feeling pumped up I like to stroll up canyon to the Great Wall of China or the Dilithium Crystal. Both walls are loaded with more amazing 5.10 and 5.11 routes. To finish the day off we usually end up at the Pub Wall climbing more fantastic 5.10 routes like “Hardly Wallbanger” 5.10c and “The Light Within” 5.10c. After a long day of climbing at the gorge is nice to enjoy a great dinner and quality beer at The Mountain Rambler back in Bishop.
The next morning usually starts at Great Basin Bakery which has the best bagel breakfast sandwiches in town along with all the other best baked goods in town. A trip to Bishop is not complete without stopping there, and where else are you going to find the best Send Cookies!? After fueling up for the day we’ll head out to Pine Creek Canyon which offers and array of different options to choose from as far as climbing styles. Pine Creek has everything from spectacular granite sport climbing to full on traditional multi-pitch routes. The PSOM Slab is home to some of the best moderate multi-pitch routes like “Racing Lizards” a 3 pitch 5.7, to “The Big Deal” a 4 pitch 5.9. And if you’re feeling up for a bigger day you can hop on the “John Fischer Memorial Route” a 7 pitch ultra classic 5.10. If trad climbing isn’t your thing head over to the Pratt’s Crack Area and you’ll find some of the highest quality sport climbing in all of California usually on the harder end of the grade scale with most routes clocking in from 5.10-5.12 as well as a handful of great multi-pitch routes like “Rites of Spring” 5.10d and “Megaplex” 5.11. Well worth checking out!