We departed Bishop Sunday afternoon with mixed feelings. No one can deny how uniquely gorgeous this area is, with giant rock eggs scattered across a desert landscape, majestic snowy peaks poking up in the distance wherever you might rest your gaze…
…And yet, let it be said that Bishop is not really a place for first-timers to pop in for a quick weekend of awesome climbing. Expect a couple hours of pleasure followed by days of pain. The sharp grittiness feels like “putting my hands in a blender made of shark teeth” (says Drexel), and I would have to concur. After months of sandstone, I hadn’t realized how baby soft our skin had become. We left with our tails between our legs. All I had sent was a v2 warm-up, and even that, barely, because it was so high off the ground that I locked off and cried little babygirl tears until Drexel sent a rescue helicopter to take me down. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration… the helicopter bit…)
Our first day in the Buttermilks was fun, but humbling. Drexel hopped on Soul Slinger V9 and gave it a good whooping, but took a whooping at the same time. We serendipitously bumped into a couple folks we had met in Joe’s Valley and ended up climbing with Jen (another short strong female!) and her bf Mel, spending a little too much time grating up our skin on Seven Spanish Angels V6.
That night, a demon entered my body. I woke up with an icy wave of nausea, threw myself out of the van, and proceeded to lose my entire dinner. We don’t know why, although my bet would be placed on expired cheese. But one would think that, ridding my body of whatever maleficent creature was haunting me, I would be fine. Not so. Five days later and I still can’t eat anything substantial, and I won’t go into details about the exorcisms I’ve witnessed. I’m a bit peeved that I haven’t felt up to climbing, right when we’re at the end of our climbing road trip, but even doing a single pull-up feels like a really big deal to my body.
Anyways, that’s not super interesting, and probably a bit gross. Drexel has actually been living life, but since he is not an eager blogger (as you may have noticed by the lack of his posts), I will transcribe for him his latest climbing adventures:
Saturday in Bishop, Drexel tagged along with Jen and Mel to get on Fly Boy V8. The stupid sharp crimps were not much of a good warm-up and he said some dirty words and decided not to try it anymore. Mel got stupid close. He swung off the dyno at the top which was kind of scary, but he’s fine. After that, they went over to Iron Fly V9, which Drexel had tried briefly the day before, and he was thankfully able to do it first try since it’s wretchedly sharp (surprise!).
Then they went over to check out Xavier’s Roof V11 and Zen Flute V10, which was at the top of one of the worst roads in Bishop. Mel and Drexel tried it a bit, but were too fried to give either of them productive efforts, and soon called it a day.
While Drexel climbed, I mainly napped or lay in the minivan groaning pitifully, but at one point I forced myself to head out on a quick hike just to absorb as much of the surrounding beauty as possible.
The next morning, we headed back to Lake Tahoe. Our game plan is to stick around Incline Village for a few more days, and then head back across the country to Chattanooga/Boone in time to see our friends graduate. Along the way, we’ll try to see as much scenery as possible, but if this stomach bug persists, we might just zipline straight across. Always open to ideas of places to check out (not just climbing related)!