After my second day of outdoor bouldering, a sense of accomplishment overcomes my my being with the knowledge that I am no longer a climbing gym rat. Maybe this comes from a small sense of vanity or pride, but nevertheless the experiences I had with the rock outdoors were far more gratifying than that of completing a problem indoors where the stakes are low and the return is inevitable.
There is something to knowing that you may never see a particular landscape again that fuels the intrinsic nature of the human eye to piece together a puzzle and take it all in.
Hell’s Kitchen in Bear Valley, was a short jaunt off the highway. With granite boulders of all shapes and sizes both for the daredevils with a superman complex, and for those who simple preferred to be closer to the ground, it was a playground of sorts. Most problems offered me a steady challenge as a regular gym V3 climber who is often aggravated by V4s. There was of course evidence of harder routes that I passed on.
Further south, near Bishop, CA we tried Sad Boulders which offered more porous rock and harder climbs. The climbs off Bluff Road were definitely more challenging and hotter than I was ready for. Temps breaching 100 degrees made the rock hot to the touch and a gallon of water per person a necessity. Scenery there was punctuated by both the gushing Owen’s river, the Sierras iced with snow from last winter’s storms, and the scampering of a Jack Rabbit who followed us on our scramble in and out of Sad Boulders. We were the only two people there.
Later that evening: Camping in the Ancient Bristle Cone pine forest (up White Mountain Road) is first come first serve and pay by donation.