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Ahh...Bishop. I've spent enough time in Bishop that if I ever have children, they should be allowed access to Bishop's public schools. Bishop is an amazing place. It's base camp for so many things. There are dozens of backcountry skiing descents that one can view from Main street. There are numerous sport climbing areas, including the Owens River Gorge as well as Pine Creek, within a 20 minute drive. But the majority of climbers are there to go bouldering, with the Buttermilks and the Happy Boulders and the Sad Boulders within a stone's throw. Ahh...Bishop.


Bishop Bouldering is the only guidebook worth getting for bouldering in Bishop. This is simply the best guidebook for bouldering I have ever seen, and worth every cent of the $37.50 cover price. It also has useful info on food, lodging, etc. in Bishop.

Owens River Gorge Climbs, by Marty Lewis, is definitely THE guidebook for the Owen's River Gorge.

The club owns copies of both in our Library.

Where to Eat

Bishop is a large enough town to feature all the major fast food restaurants. Other places to eat include

  • Schatt's Bakkery. Very very popular!
  • Whiskey Creek. Classy. Huge gift shop. You can get a burger and such for a bit over $10, or a fancier meal for closer to $20.
  • The Looney Bean. A coffee shop (with wifi, see below).


The Pit

The Pit: most climbers bouldering in Bishop say here. It's $2/night/car, and has pit toilets. It's not scenic - it really was a gravel pit before they bulldozed some camp sites. However, it's cheap, and has excellent access to the Happies and Sads bouldering areas, and decent access to Owen's River Gorge roped climbing.

Directions: Drive north out of Bishop on 395 for about 6 miles. Turn right on Pleasant Valley Dam Road. (If you start driving up the long grade out of Bishop, you've gone too far.) After about a mile, turn left on to a dirt road. (If you end up at Pleasant Valley Campground, you've gone 1/4 mile too far.) Follow the dirt road for 1/2 mile or so, it leads directly into the campground.

Water: There is no water available in the campground, but is available 1/2 mile further on Pleasant Valley Dam Road, at Pleasant Valley Campground.

Note that the pit is closed during the summer months.

Pleasant Valley Campground

Located just past The Pit on Pleasant Valley Dam Road, Pleasant Valley Campground is a slight upgrade over the pit, but (in my opinion) not worth the $10/night/car. It's popular with retirees fishing in the creek next to the campground.

The Pinions

Dispersed camping (i.e. no water, toilets, fees, etc.) located above the Owens River Gorge. This is the best access for climbing in the gorge, but less convenient if you plan to head into town. More info is available in Marty Lewis's guide, Owens River Gorge Climbing. This is a very fragile environment, so please leave no trace. In particular, bury your waste, and don't burn pallets, as they leave behind a mess of nails. If you're camping with a larger group, you're probably better off at the pit.

The Buttermilks

Most of the land around the Buttermilks bouldering areas belongs to the Bureau of Land Management, and you can camp almost anywhere you want. Please don't camp right next to the bouldering area.

Mountain Shops and Other Businesses

Wilson's Eastside Sports is the place to buy climbing/camping gear, clothing, etc. They have knowledgeable staff, and an excellent selection of rock shoes and guidebooks. I also believe that they rent crash pads. Located at 224 North Main Street. They usually have the most recent weather forecast (which is often inaccurate) posted near the back of the store.

Rubber Room Resoles is one of only a couple places to get shoes resoled in California. I've had one pair of shoes resoled there, with excellent results. Located at 175B North Main Street; note that the shop front faces away from the street, so I can be a bit hard to find. More info at Rock shoes resoling.

The Mountain Light Gallery is a great place to see worldclass examples of Alpine Photography; all photos are by the late Galen Rowell.

Stealing Wifi

The Looney Bean, on Main Street, has free wifi, and computers you can use ($1/15 min). They also have good coffee, and pastries.


There are many excellent hotsprings nearby. See our Owens Valley Hotsprings page.