Atari V6 ***
With hundreds of boulders and a lifetime worth of problems, Bishop is one of the premiere bouldering destinations in North America. There are three main climbing areas: the Buttermilks, the Happys, and the Sads; each with hundreds of easily accessible world class problems.
There are also many smaller satellite areas for those looking for a more remote experience, and for the truly adventurous you can explore the beautiful landscape for untapped problems.
Most of the established bouldering is freely accessible and located on BLM land.
Mid October through mid May offer the best climbing conditions. Winter nights can be pretty chilly, but the average daytime high in January is 54 F (12 C). The summers are usually way too hot to comfortably boulder, but if you are desperate you can try and beat the heat by climbing at some of the higher elevation areas in the early morning or late evening.
Bishop sits in the rain shadow cast by the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which results in an average annual rainfall of less than 6 inches (15cm) a year.
The most popular campground is the Pleasant Valley Pit, a BLM run campground open from November through early May. Fees are $2.00 per vehicle per night and the stay limit is 60 days. Pit toilets are provided but there is NO WATER or other amenities. Free water is available from a tap outside of the Public Lands Information Center in town. From Bishop head north on the 395, turn right on Pleasant Valley Road. The entrance will be on your left just over the hill.
There are several other campgrounds in the area and you are free to camp in the Buttermilks, but please set up your tent well away from the boulders, and employ ‘leave no trace’ practices. For those looking for more solid accommodations there are several reasonably priced motels in town.
There are several grocery stores and many restaurants in Bishop. Erik Schat’s Bakery is a popular place to get all manner of excellent baked goods. The happy hour at Whiskey Creek features a selection of half price entrees.
Wilson’s East Side Sports contains the largest selection of climbing gear, and also rents crash pads.
The rock at the Buttermilks is an intrusive igneous rock called quartz monzonite. The Happys, Sads and Catacombs are volcanic tuff and Rock Creek is granite.
Aside from an awesome climbing scene, Bishop doesn’t have a lot going on. There is a small cinema. WiFi is available at the Looney Bean and McDonald’s. Keough’s Hot Springs, south on Highway 395, offers a great place to soak your sore muscles and get a shower. If there’s not too much snow, check out the free natural hotsprings off Benton Crossing Road, between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. Touring Nevada and California Hot Springs by Matt C. Bishcoff on Google books has explicit directions.
Bishop Bouldering Blog