I have so many emotions when it comes to Bishop. It was one of the first places I ever climbed outdoors and it hooked me. I had been climbing for less than a year and Bishop made me truly fall in love with bouldering. The boulders are tall and scary, but the landings are flat and the approaches short. And the backdrop. It’s just an incredible atmosphere out there. It can also be chossy and grainy and sharp – and I love all of it.
After climbing mostly indoors for the past couple months and setting some new standards for myself, I was ridiculously excited for our Bishop trip this past week. It was going to be as crowded as a Justin Beiber concert because of President’s Day, but we were going with a good crew and planned on just accepting the masses, or running away and climbing in more obscure locations.
Before leaving for Bishop, I knew a few problems I wanted to get on, but nearly any problem in Bishop forces me to face my fear of falling. Spenser had mentioned that I should try the namesake problem on the Bowling Pin boulder. To be honest, I didn’t really take him seriously. I had a clear recollection of feeling like I was eons away from doing it last time I tried. It was decently steep, crimpy, and tall. Oh, and the nice slab finish. Ya right
I did, however, realize that this was a perfect problem for me to project. It is within a doable grade range with moves that I could definitely do and, if I kept my shit together for long enough, maybe even link. I figured out the first couple moves quickly and then Spenser came in with some clutch beta for one of the big moves.
As soon as I linked the first few moves, I knew I could do it. I hadn’t felt that way when bouldering in a long time. When Spenser asked me if I wanted a boost so I could try a specific move, I declined with confidence. I was sure I had it.
The first few moves went smoothly and I was facing the last big throw. I had never tried this part of the problem, so fumbled a bit with my feet. I threw once and didn’t go far enough to hold on to the grainy sloper. I held on to the backswing with my right hand and was able to compose myself again on the two crimps. Push as hard as you can, I thought. Boom. Latch the sloper side-pull, fumble some more with the feet until I figured out the balance, nice big cross to the giant crimp on the slab. I was done with the burly bit.
Then I proceed to catch my breath and allow for my legs to stop shaking for an estimated, not exaggerated, 7 minutes. There was no way I starting up that slab with Elvis legs [AKA sewing-machine-leg]. After regaining my composure yet again, I shouted blessings to the Squamish slab climbing I did this summer as I climbed the last few moves to the top.
Sending Bowling Pin provided a massive confidence boost for me. I was given reassurance that if I tried hard, I could succeed. I could keep my shit together. This stayed with me for the rest of our Bishop trip.
Although I know this trip to Bishop was a personal triumph for me, I am aware of how much more work I have to do, internally and externally. We got back from Bishop on Tuesday night and Thursday we were back in the gym getting one last training session in before leaving for Spain Friday morning. Training gave me the confidence and added strength to send Bowling Pin and to progress on High Plains Drifter, but that’s for another post.
In other news, we just arrived in Spain this morning! My best friend from high school, Julie, is getting married to a French dude (in France) the first week of March, so we decided to extend the trip.
If y’all need a refresher on me and my sport climbing history, see synopsis here. Time to face those rope falling fears head-on! Wish me luck, it won’t go to waste.