// Bishop Wrap-Up//
Bishop is winding down and I’m getting ready to head out to Joe’s Valley for the next month or so. I’ve really enjoyed having the time to really delve into the nuances of climbing in the Buttermilks as well as being able to truly project the classic test-pieces.
One of the things that struck me about climbing in the ‘milks is that it’s so skin dependent. Rather than abrading or puncturing the tips like Hueco or other areas Bishop bruises the tips, making climbing a true test of pain tolerance as well as self control. In Hueco I found myself climbing to exhaustion, barely able to move by the end of the day, while in Bishop I was only able to try my projects a handful of times before my tips were shot.
This was initially really difficult to accept, making my days feel largely unproductive in the sense that I wouldn’t be able to try many things in a session, forcing me to ration my tips. It was also a challenge because after burns on Mandala or The Swarm I would need at least a full rest day, if not two, before being able to give convincing attempts on the next day out. By the midpoint of the trip this schedule began taking its toll on my motivation, making goes on the projects as much of a mental endeavor as a physical one. In response, I had to set the projects aside in favor of wrapping up some of my old projects and opening some more skin friendly ones.
This worked out well, especially with the recent break of the Mandala, a huge game changer. While I regret giving up on the projects I feel like it was the right call. Maybe with more time I would be able to make something happen, but as it stands these problems still felt somewhat distant. By letting them go I was able to tick off Xavier’s Roof and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, two longstanding projects, as well as Maze of Death and Social Distortion. In the end I think this was a fair trade though Mandala and The Swarm will definitely be the top priority next time I’m in Bishop.
I had a great time spending the month in Buttermilk country and can’t wait to get back next season. It’s always refreshing to bump into all the people you keep seeing while out and about, it seems like Bishop is the natural gathering point for climbers the world over. I really enjoyed being able to spend more time with some familiar faces from Hueco, apparently on a similar trip schedule. All told, Bishop was the perfect blend of amazing climbing, great friends, and stunning scenery. As usual, it was hard leaving, but Joe’s will be another chapter in what’s already become an incredible journey.