Bishop! Beta on go-to's and must-do's


As a first travel post and since my blog is climbing oriented, I thought I’d write a short guide to Bishop for the first-timer! I’ve been there quite a few times over the last 4 years and still discovering spots.

The following highlights should cover the basics and then some:


Camping and Lodging:


The town of Bishop offers a number of motels, but there are few camping spots around and notably, BLM to camp on.


Here are my go-tos:


The Pit Campsite: Located about 10 minutes outside of town, you can get a campsite at The Pit for a few bucks. It’s the go-to climber spot. It offers designated campsites, fire pits, tables, and bathrooms in the center... as if the pit has a pit of its own. Be ready for the occasional windy night if you’re camped on the rim; so tie your tent down. The Pit puts you about a 10 minute drive from the main entrances to the Happy and Sad bouldering fields! Culturally, The Pit is known for having large climber Thanksgiving get togethers and drunken firepit nights!

BLM Land: It’s a bit all over the place from the tablelands behind the Happys/Sads to the Milks! You can sleep off of most roads just fine or pick a secluded spot to set up camp at.

Motels/Hotels: No need ‘cause you can shower elsewhere!


Showering and Hot Springs:


At about a 15-minute drive south of Bishop are the Keough's Hotsprings, a public hot spring. It’s $9 for a shower-only or $12 for all-access include swimming in the large heated “pool” or the hotter tub. I hear that the showers at the laundromat are better and only something like $5. I typically don’t shower and just hot spring it.



There are natural hot springs near Mammoth, about 40 minutes north of Bishop, which offer views and a good place to unwind with friends and some beers. This is a great, online guide for the mammoth area springs and more (remember to leave-no-trace at these spots and keep it nice for the next group):





I’m pretty sure the gas is cheapest at the Shell right next to Safeway/Von’s. I could be wrong.

If you’re headed north and back across the Sierras thru 88, gas is typically cheapest in Coleville.

Most of the other towns going north or south of Bishop have more expensive gas than in Bishop proper.


Food, Shops, Places!


Schatt’s Bakery is a must! ‘nough said!



The sandwich and jerky spot: Mahogany Smoked Meats.. Get it!


The Gear Exchange is great if you want to sell some stuff or buy used clothing and gear. East Side Sports will have all of your other outdoor needs. In between the two, you’ll find Black Coffee Roasters. It’s a good spot to chill at on rest days. They have wifi and you’ll run into folks from the crag.


You’ll find a lot of climbers at the Rambler Brewery after dark. They also have good food!


For all of your resoling needs, make sure to bring your old pair of shoes (and your friends’ old pairs from back home) for quality resoles at The Rubber Room. It also saves you from having to ship things to them.



I’ve only resoled my climbing shoes there and haven’t tried other services, but I will say that my experience has been 100% positive there since the resoles last!


The dog park?



The Climbing:


The Bishop area offers world class climbing on mostly volcanic rock or granite.


Chris McNamara’s High Sierra Climbing Guide describes the higher altitude, alpine gems to get after in the greater Sierras:


The go-to Bishop Bouldering Guidebook by Mills Young and Mick Ryan has the main bouldering spots including, the Happys and Sads, the Druid Stones, the Pollen Grains and Buttermilks, and then some. The second addition is out of print but I heard that there's a new, updated edition coming out.


If you’re feeling sporty, check out Owen’s River Gorge. The go-to guidebook is by Marty Lewis. Amazon doesn't carry it unless you want it used for ~$1,400, but that's weird. Pretty sure I've seen it in climbing shops and gyms still! Maybe it's out of print/stock.


Pine Creek Canyon is close by as well and has been developed in the last 10-15 years. You’ll find single and multi-pitch, trad and sport. There’s an upcoming guidebook. Keep track of its release on their Facebook page; looks like it's imminent:


The Mammoth area also offers a variety of bouldering and crags. This guidebook is great for the area. Mammoth will typically be colder and snowy in the winter compared to Bishop:


The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is a cool rest day spot to visit:




Let me know if you have some spots I should add to this post!



Dog Flu, What To Know! and a tangent about the rattlesnake vaccine


It's Flu season for hoomans and for puppers too.

The bay area has had an outbreak recently and Chicago has been a hot spot for dog flu for a while.

The goods news is the flu is not that bad for dogs (low-mortality rate and often they get a mild version), but knowing is half the battle... yea yea yea, "sure mom".


There are two strains of the dog flu in the US, a vaccine for each, and it doesn't change from year to year like it does for people.

Mild symptoms include a dry or wet cough, nasal discharge and will last 10-30 days. More severe symptoms include a fever and the development of pneumonia. Other symptoms also include sneezing, lethargy, lack of appetite, and a runny nose.

Dog flu isn't quite as deadly as the human flu can be, but is still cause for concern. Warn your vet if you think your pup has the flu before going into the clinic with your pup and risking contaminating other puppers. Cross contamination is pretty easy (barking, couching, sneezing) and the virus van be carried on shoes, transmitted through water bowls, etc.

If your dog has an active lifestyle around other puppers, goes to the dog park a lot, in boarding or kennels, then the vaccine is probably best (avoid these areas during break out periods). In the bay area at least, each vaccine costs about ~$60 at the vet, and $30-40 at the store.


In tangent, there's also a rattlesnake venom vaccine for dogs. At best, it will slow down the effect of the venom and it doesn't cover all species of rattle snake venom, but it's an extra safety layer if your pup is an outdoor enthusiast and a curious one at that. It will generally buy you time to take your pup to a vet but it may not even work.




Prehab and rehab for climbers: Keeping the hands healthy!


Today I want to share a routine that I typically do when I have down time that helps me keep my hands and fingers limber, reduces inflammation, and just feels good.

Work allows me to travel every few weeks, so I do this routine in the plane.

It’s a great way to kill time in-flight and your hands will feel good.


You’ll need a couple things like this Handmaster ball and the scraping massage tool:



The Warm Up:


The routine starts with about 20 “open-claw-duck-fists” to warm up the tissues and promote blow flow. See where you’re feeling tight, how mobile your joints are, and remember to breath to feel it out.

These photos show you what I mean by “open-claw-duck-fist” sequence:



Next, Some Exercises:


Once you’re warmed up, let’s do some oppositional work.

You’ll use the ball and do 3 sets of 20 reps on each hand. The sequence is squeeze and then open wide for 1 rep. Here’s the sequence:



Sometimes I like to hold the open position for a couple seconds to feel a bit of a burn in the palm and the back of the hand.

This is a great exercise to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in your hand and keep them healthy to crank on those crimps!


The scraping massage tool! (Be careful with this)


Next we’ll use this tool! Fair warning here: do not overdo it / air on the light side when massaging!

We’re going to use the scapula to massage the muscles on the inside of your hand, around your thumb, your pinky muscles, and over your A1, A2, and A3 pulleys. This article has a good schematic that shows you where these pulleys are in your hand:



In most cases the pressure you’ll use to massage your hand and fingers should be very light. If you’re feeling a bit of grinding, especially over the meaty pads directly above your pulleys, that’s normal. Just do it lightly. We’re promoting blood flow as we lightly breakdown fascia and help your body regenerate the tissues and thus re-align them in the way they were meant to be. Normal wear and tear, trauma, and overuse causes scar-tissue and these fibers to be crisscrossed in less than ideal ways. We’re lightly breaking that down.

You might also find sore spots above old pulley injuries… go lightly.


DO NOT use this tool on joints; nope, don’t do it. Always use it on soft tissue.

I learned this method from going to a hand specialist in Physical Therapy after a particularly bad A2 pulley tear a few years ago. I won’t be providing or quoting supporting articles for this method but I’m sure there are some out there. Be careful and go lightly with this and you'll see results, or consult with a professional before trying it out!


Part 4: Stretches!


Now that we’re done with the exercises and blood-flow related work, let’s stretch things out!

I like this guitarist oriented stretch video because it has the main stretches and then some:

Essential Hand Stretches for Guitarists

As well as this particular one for the lumbricals:

Finger Stretches for Lumbricals

The videos above provide a gamut of stretches; Overall I recommend playing around with forearm, hand and finger stretches, and discovering the tight spots.

You can stretch one or more fingers at a time as well to get a slightly different effect and feelings.


One stretch not described in the videos is for your finger joints.

If you go back to the claw photo above, you’ll notice two things:

  • The back of my finger is flush / in-line with the back of my hand
  • The joint is mobile, allowing my finger to curl in on itself and go all the way in.

If your fingers are unable to get into this position (closing the gap inside the curl of your finger), it’s time to help them get mobile and get healthy!

With the help of your other hand, you’ll squeeze a finger down into this position (one finger at a time). It’s more important for the back of your finger to be flush with your hand than it is to close the gap in your finger; So start with number 1 and work toward number 2.

Please be careful with this one, too. If your fingers are particularly stiff, immobile, and won’t close down, it’ll take you a couple months of sitting at red lights or in traffic practicing this stretch to get there. That’s what it took me. Be cautious and be in it for the long run.

Overall this stretch is a tiny piece of the puzzle but a good one to keep the joints happy!


Another one I learned recently is called the tendon slide. You'll slide a single finger at a time starting from it being down against your palm and all the way back up to being straight. Do that on each finger!


Once you’ve completed the routine, your hand and fingers should feel more mobile and good!


Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post and please share any of your go-to hand care in the comments.


PS: If you need supplies and want to help support my blog, please use these Amazon links to make (any) purchase! Thank you!


Back to Top