Vikki and I are now nearly three weeks into our Bishop stay. It has changed since I first came in 2004. Weekends now consistently see 100-car days in the Buttermilks. The Loco Frijole (aka Terrible Taqueria) is now Holy Smoke, a tasty Texas BBQ joint. There’s a taco truck at Barlow and 395. There are piles of feces to be found all over. Some petroglyphs were stolen. Black Sheep just moved down the street.
Much remains the same. All of the land around Bishop is spoken for by various government agencies, so the town will remain quaint. Schat’s is still making people fat, Looney Bean is still run by adorable underage girls, and the Pizza Factory still has the best arcade in town. The sun still casts hyper-saturated colors on the clouds when it dips behind Mt. Tom, and deer are still a common sight around Buttermilk Mountain.
Every Bishop trip prior to this one, was marked by the same longing for more time. It felt like home, yet it never could be. We always had to return to our cities.
Now we have planted our temporary roots to join the “seasonals,” a loose network of obsessed boulderers hoping to unlock the secrets of strength and badassery. Now we live here.
We’ve been climbing mostly with our friends Steve and Angie. Our abilities and psyche match up quite well. There are also our Canadian friends in the Pit, whom we also climbed with in Joe’s Valley; there are many long-term Pit-dwellers; and of course, every weekend brings dozens of Bay Area climbers.
Climbing-wise, it’s been a bit bi-polar. Vikki totally destroyed her long-term goal, Fly Boy Arete (which, by the way, is one of my favorite V5s in all of Bishopdom). She crushed it so convincingly that it was anti-climactic. She’s now tackling some loftier rigs, such as Fly Boy Sit, Green Wall Center and the perennial favorite High Plains Drifter. She’s also nearly sent Serengeti, which will be great for her to do so she never has to do it again.
I made it my goal here to get good at crimping, come hell or blown tendon. So far I haven’t hurt fingers, but I still feel awful on small holds. I must remember that strength is a long-term, cumulative thing.
I have managed to do a couple of cool things, though. Xavier’s Roof went down fairly easily for Steve and I (and the homie Jeremy Ho is stupidly close). We both managed to send Beefcake, which for me was one of the most frustrating projects ever. Two distinct cruxes with a terrible, awkward, dabby topout meant I was consistently getting reasonably close but feeling like it was miles away. The Beef cave is now a friend, and we will be using it for training. We also did Slunk, a rather attractive line above the Sads upper parking lot.
While we have succeeded on many projects, others continue to elude. Haroun and the Sea of Stories will not go down easy, nor will The Mystery. Yet both require crimping, hence I shall throw myself at them until my elbow shatters.
Speaking of which, we are crunchy. Vikki’s had a hard time doing her physical therapy, and I have been less than diligent as well. My elbow now makes a sound like penguins dancing in a bed of pea gravel. Vikki’s left shoulder is tightening up. We try to adhere to a day on/day off schedule, but even in this modest task we often fail. When I split a tip the other day, we decided it was time for a break.
So now we’re in Mono Lake, staying at a friend’s cabin. The week will be spent doing rehab, organizing and editing footage, and relaxing. We’re even taking a break from caffeine.
We’ll be back in Bishop for the weekend, when many friends descend upon the boulders and we all climb hard. I can’t wait to climb with our renewed psyche and refreshed muscles! It was starting to feel like we were forcing ourselves a little bit…the balance was out of wack.
Oh, and keep an eye out for some videos! Here are some more photos for your enjoyment: