After a wonderful month at home, I’m back to the dirtbag lifestyle. With winter clearly on the way in, I fled Washington on Monday, November 26th, still recovering from a cold, and sporting a healthy Thanksgiving weight belt. I stopped through Bend, OR, and spent a few nights living like royalty at the house of some dear family friends. I had an excellent time catching up with them and exploring the town, but quickly realized my secondary goal of climbing at Smith Rock was not a likely one. The winter weather seemed to have followed me, and the only option for climbing was $14 for a day-pass at the Bend Rock Gym. I did a couple day hikes, checking out Smith Rock State Park and Tumalo Falls, and hit the road again Friday, answering the call to migrate south for the winter.
The 11-hour drive to Bishop seemed the equivalent of traveling 2-3 months back in time. It is difficult to think much on the approach of winter or Christmas when you are getting daily sun burns. I am still getting thrown off by the Christmas carols and decorations surrounding the local coffee shops of Main Street. I am very excited to dig in for another 6 weeks and have the chance to acclimate to the climbing here. The technical climbing of the Buttermilks, the drastic temperature changes between sun and shade, and the elevation all take time to get used to. A couple days ago I went on a hill run that had me sucking air like an impaired vacuum cleaner. It felt horrible.
Dirtbaggin’ in Bishop is quite comfortable. With $2 camping at The Pit, natural hot springs, and incredible rock everywhere, this place is every climbing bum’s dream. I am very lucky to be here with a great crew and am excited to hear that more friends will soon be heading down to join the fun. See you guys soon!