Favorite City: Bishop. Lots of people live in vans there, and it’s not weird to shower at the laundromat. Dogs and children reign supreme, and rightly so. Supermarkets are hellaspensive, but you can find cheap-ish juice and Mexican foods at the mini markets. My self-control was no match for the discount rack at Schat’s.Favorite Crag: Joe’s Valley. Let’s call it a super-crag. It’s full of super crags. Concentrated sandstone everything, in the midst of all things beautiful. Favorite Person: Robert. Robert is 82 and wears a yarmulke. He knows a lot about history and likes making new friends. We started talking at the Black Sheep when he told me a knock-knock joke.
Crag: Way Lake Boulders Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA In A Sentence: Granite ain’t so bad! Favorite Problem: Bear, V4. A rare flash achieved with precise footwork and an aversion to falling. Favorite People: The bears who didn’t eat us on the nighttime trek back down the mountain.
Crag: Rock Creek Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA In A Sentence: Granite is actually really hard. In Another Sentence: But it doesn’t even matter ‘cause we are surrounded by magical aspens and probably fairies, and everything is beautiful! Favorite Problem: Osama, V6. I only got a move and a half on it, but that move and a half was real fun. And it sure was pretty when other folks finished it! Favorite People: Mel and Danny, granite crushers and Insta-gods.
Crag: The Buttermilks Location: Bishop, CA In A Sentence: My ego is bruised, and so are my toes. Favorite Problem: Go Granny Right, V5. Techy at the start, big at the end. Favorite Person: Dirtbag Jeff, the Bishop beta fairy.
This photo is a lie. It's actually from the Sads. Crag: The Happy Boulders Location: Bishop, CA In A Sentence: Look at all the feet! Favorite Problem: Solarium, V4. Never got the last move, but the pockets were fun on the way up... Favorite People: The field-tripping schoolchildren assembled by the warm-up; V2 applause is the best applause.
Crag: The Sad Boulders Location: Bishop, CA In A Sentence: Really, I just want some churros. Favorite Problem: Strength in Numbers, V5. Did not climb it, but the boys did. I was just thinking about Schat’s. Favorite Person: Whoever made the 35-cent churros that awaited me at Schat’s.
Super-Crag: Joe’s Valley Location: Orangeville, UT In A Sentence: I want to live in Dairy Canyon. Favorite Problem: Kill By Numbers, V5. Heel hooks and big moves on a short roof with big holds. Favorite Person: Blake, my fellow low-ball psych machine.
Crag: Holy Boulders Location: Pomona, IL In A Sentence: I kinda missed you, slopey topouts. Favorite Problem: Embryo Stasis, V4. Got the rage-send with a stupid knee bar that was a little bit awesome. Favorite People: Ryan and Ocean, keepers of try-hards and super strange beta.
Mixing climbing with travel is weird — everything feels hard 'cause it's different from what you know. I may struggle at the crag, but the best part of a trip is the people I meet! What are the best crags you've found, routes you've climbed, or friends you've made on your climbing travels?