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Enjoying the Sport - Nick Bradley

Enjoying the Sport - Nick Bradley
Enjoying the Sport - Nick Bradley
Enjoying the Sport - Nick Bradley
Enjoying the Sport - Nick Bradley
December 04, 2013 - 

Bishop is like no other place I have ever been with its vast open space, surrounding snowy mountains, tranquil mood and friendly community. It's just like a small indoor gym where everyone seems to have known each other for years, though they have just met, but with some of the best bouldering in the country. This recent trip allowed me to take in the full experience, just let loose and climb. It was a nice change of pace in contrast to knowing exactly what I want/need to do, the time I have to do it, and all the pressure of sending that rival project. This trip was purely to enjoy climbing, and repeat the classics.

The whole organization of the trip was through one of my coaches who had helped me through the entire year of frustration of an injury, and getting back to 100%. It's getting pretty strange being one of the oldest now on the team, and being in the place of those I had looked up to when I was young, but it has been nice having the opportunity to help the younger and newer climbers with their climbing and keeping the motivation up. It seems to me coaching others helps me learn about myself as a climber as well. "The students are the real teachers," I never really understand things like this until I experience it for myself.. Sorry coaches. Anyway, I'll get to the bulk of it.

The whole camping ten minutes away from thousands of high quality boulders idea is pretty fantastic to me. Waking up and seeing those mountains first thing in the morning... Heaven. The first day we headed up to a nice area called the happy's where the climbing is mostly gym-like with crimps and pockets everywhere, like the opposite of bubble wrap. I tested my previously injured finger on some moderate boulders and decided to stay away from stressing on smaller holds, but besides that it felt great. That day I repeated some of my favorites in the area and helped the kids on their projects. It just felt nice to get back on some nice rock and climb something harder than a jug haul like I had to for so many months. So then we went home at dark, had some food and enjoyed each other's company at the campfire like it should be.

Finally it was time for my favorite section of Bishop: the exposed Buttermilk's. The Milks have the nicest rock there, nice grainy granite with some patina and crimps everywhere. Most of the day I just sat down and soaked in the beauty, but I got some nice climbing in as well including a "retro flash" of the famous High Plains Drifter V7. The highlight of the trip however, was easily the discovery of the route that was almost made for the situation. It is a nice V12 called The Mystery with drop knees, toe hooks, and huge moves everywhere, but the right-handed hold weren't too stressful on my right-hand middle finger! Even being not in exactly the best shape, I was able to do every move but one, because it required a big move to a right-hand crimp. Have to be cautious you know? This coming trip in December it will go for sure. Anyway, Mr. Mirko Caballero finally decided to show up and the shenanigans began. I remember when that kid was afraid to do a 5.8 on top rope... two years ago... He'll never live that down, no matter how hard he's going to send. We tried The Mystery for a bit but he decided doing the 50-foot Evilution Direct was a better idea, so you know, no big deal for a ten-year-old. Or is it twelve? But even if Mirko is a little punk I guess I can deal with that kid... I'm just messing, he's a good kid and getting stronger every year. Nice to see such progress so young!

All in all it was a good trip. The pictures of what looks like a younger me are of Five Ten athlete Matt Grossman, crushing some of my favorites in Bishop, as well as one of me fully extended on The Mystery. Psyched for the next trip!


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