Here is a long overdo blog entry… I think I have been lazy about my blog because this winter was so long and rough 😦 Enjoy!
So many thoughts and emotions flood my mind when I think of ways to describe my last trip to Bishop. Let me just start at the beginning… A few weeks ago (ok it was actually over a month ago, I have been slow to get this blog post out), I was sitting in my office watching the rain pour down out my window and looking at the 10 day forecasts for all my local climbing areas and seeing nothing but rain… It has been a pretty rugged, cold, and wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest, which has meant very few outdoor climbing days… I started scrolling through my Instagram (not my most productive workday haha), and found the pics and videos from my last trip to Bishop for the Women’s Climbing Festival. That trip was amazing in many ways, but as far as climbing, I left a lot of projects undone. The thought then occurred to me that there really wasn’t anything keeping me from packing up and working remotely for the week from California… So I got to work at convincing my husband, boss, and coworkers that this would be great idea! Three days later, my car was packed and I was making the gruesome 15 hour drive down to Bishop solo (to be fair, the drive wasn’t actually THAT bad… aside from a loose plastic barrel rolling in front of my car, which I narrowly missed, and the hitchhiker that flipped me off, the drive was fairly pleasant and scenic).
From social media, I knew a girl (@tammyfaye) who lived in Mammoth (near Bishop) and I had contacted her when I decided to go on this trip to see if she would be up for climbing with me at all. I texted her on my way down, and she graciously offered me a place to crash for the first night so I wouldn’t have to find a place to camp in the dark. What a wonderful human! I made it to Mammoth by about 7 PM, chatted with Tammy’s husband for a bit, then crashed in their guest room.
The next morning I woke up bright and early, made myself some coffee, then headed down to Bishop. I got to the boulders by about 8 AM, ate some breakfast (I packed an enormous amount of food for my trip so that I wouldn’t need to go out much… my climbing snacks consisted mostly of different pies haha), then I began my first solo climbing day in the Milks. I warmed up then headed over to one of the projects I had in mind for the trip (the Croft Problem). I worked on this for a bit then wandered around and scoped out some other stuff. This wasn’t the most successful day of climbing, but I was able to manage a flash of Devoted Traverse with the encouragement of a girl crew I came across! After 9 hours of climbing, I headed into town to find my AirBNB that I had booked. My plan was to stay a few nights in an AirBNB so that I could get some work done in the mornings and evenings (and rest days, although I ended up taking none!) without having to spend hours lurking in a coffee shop, and then to camp a few nights. As it happened I actually ended up camping zero nights because my AirBNB host offered to let me stay an extra night at no charge (she was great!!), and then I stayed my last night at Tammy’s in Mammoth to cut off the extra time for my drive home. This is a really great example of why I love the climbing community! Whenever I travel, I always am so grateful for how generous climbers are!
The next few days I had the great pleasure of climbing with Tammy and some of her other climbing friends (including Hannah, who is a badass and accomplished multi-discipline climber). It was so great to be able to climb with strong, positive, and fun women! I had some mellow days where Tammy and I struggled to get off the ground of some problems (lots of grunting and laughter were involved), and then I had some more successful days that included some proud sends. A couple highlights included a flash of Bowling Pin Sit (which I attribute exclusively to extensive beta spray from Tammy before me leaving the ground), and then a session out at the Pollen Grains with Tammy and Hannah working Cindy Swank. I was able to get up the problem purely do to all the psych from the ladies and then they gave me tons of much needed support and encouragement for the scary down-climb!!
On day 5 of my trip, Tammy and I got blown out of the Milks due to incredibly high winds (there was literally a point where I had to hold onto the rock to not be blown away!), so we corralled her two little pups and headed out to the Sads. We gave some efforts on Pow Pow, but then Tammy had to head to work and a large crowd came to Pow Pow, so I decided to go wander around. There was a crew of team kids from the Circuit over at a problem called Water Hazard, and I saw a young girl get a send with some unique beta, so I decided to try it. I did the right variation first go, and then after many efforts, I sent the low start (which was nice because I definitely felt like a creeper trying to climb with the kid crew haha, so this made it worth it).
The next day (my final climbing day), one of my best friends from high school (who currently lives in LA) met me for the day. It was great to catch up and climb with her. We started out at the Milks and she got up some great climbs (even though she hasn’t climbed in months), including some taller climbs! I’m always impressed with newer climbers who show so much raw talent and determination in climbing! We then got blown out of the Milks and headed over to the Sads. I was still psyched about my send of Water Hazard and wanted some documentation, so I asked Chy to get some video of me doing the moves of the climb so that I could show my husband, but also document the beta for my fellow 5’2” climber friends! I ended up repeating the climb first try, so I was psyched to have a full video (even with a slight foot dab haha).
This trip really rejuvenated my psych for climbing! I was happy to have some success climbing, but more than that I was so excited to meet new friends and get some lady climbing time! Regardless of whether we got up the problems or not, everyone was psyched and had a great attitude! Climbing is about these moments and adventures, and not solely about the sends… Always a good reminder 🙂
Here is a summary of what I learned on this solo trip:
- Driving 15 hours by yourself is not the worst thing, and shouldn’t preclude anyone from taking a solo adventure!!
- I am way more likely to make new friends when I am travelling by myself… when I am with Josh or other friends I don’t really go out of my way to make connections with new people
- Pie can fuel you for a week of climbing 😉
- I had really good success climbing everyday with doing light yoga/foam rolling/magnesium baths in the evening for recovery
- Climbers are some of the best people!!
- Bishop is magical!