eGuides.us: Happy Boulders
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The Happy Boulders are located just north of Bishop, CA on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sometimes unjustly overshadowed by the nearby Buttermilks, these volcanic tuft boulders in the tableland offer a wide variety of holds that make up some truly impressive problems.
For an excellent history of the area, see Bishop Bouldering by Wills Young and Mick Ryan.
Please respect the wishes of the USFS and local residents and park on Chalk Bluff Rd. at the bottom of the canyon, and NOT up in the Tablelands. And please use the toilet located in the parking area.
Some areas of the Tablelands experience seasonal closures for nesting birds. Please consult the USFS ranger station before exploring outside the currently established bouldering areas.
Great Basin Bakery:
This small family-owned bakery is just off 395 on Lagoon. It's worth the trip.
Mountain Light Gallery:
The Mountain Light Gallery is run by the family of the photography legend Galen Rowell, and features his work as well as travelling exhibits from other photographers. If you spend even one hour in Bishop resting your torn up pads and tendons, this should be where you spend it.
Spellbinder Books and Black Sheep Coffee:
Spellbinder is a small independent bookshop staffed by wonderful people, and a great place to relax with a good cup of coffee. Stop by and grab a book to read in the tent.
Joseph's Bi-rite Market:
No point in hiding it, the theme of these recommendations is 'support local businesses'. Joseph's is a great place to stock up on food for the crag and the campsite. Skip Vons and give it a try.
Amigos Mexican Restaurant:
Restaurants seem to come and go in Bishop at an alarming rate. But Amigos has been a constant over the decades for the obvious reasons - good food, and friendly staff.
The Schatt Bakery is a Bishop landmark...
USFS White Mountain District Ranger Station:
Campground information and... who am I kidding? This is a bouldering guide. Chances are, if you're reading this you're not looking for a backcountry permit. But if those mountains to the left do start to look enticing, this is where you start.
Vern Clevenger Gallery:
Vern Clevenger is a local landscape photographer. He is quite talented. And his gallery across from the ranger station is well worth a visit.
Upper Crust Pizza:
Good pizza, good beer, and the kitchen's open reasonably late. A good place to hang out on cold winter nights when the tent doesn't seem so appealing.
Wilson's Eastside Sports:
Wilson's Eastside Sports has been the goto spot for climbing gear forever. It's an East-side staple and it should be your first stop for all things outdoors. Seriously, if you have a question about anything (weather, route beta, hikes, ... you name it), asking here will get you a more reliable answer than the Ranger station.
They sell and rent everything from crash pads and climbing shoes to cross country skis.
We can't say enough nice things about these folks. Stop in and find out for yourself.
Another good Vons alternative for your crag and campsite meal ingredients...
PV Pit Campground:
Once upon a time, this campground was literally a pit. But it's been a long time since it has truly merited that monicker. It's not half bad as a campground, and if you're climbing at the Happy and Sad boulders, the location can't be beat. Cheap and clean (not that the USFS keeps it up), and packed almost exclusively with boulderers. If you want to hang out by the campfire and meet other climbers, this is where to stay.
Horton Creek Campground:
If you're looking for a happy medium between the sometimes rowdy 'PV Pit' and the early-to-bed, early-to-rise fishermen's campgrounds, Horton Creek might be more your speed. It attracts lots of boulderers and climbers because of it's location, but never reaches the party atmosphere of the Pit during weekend nights.