Owen’s River snakes through the Owen’s Valley north of Bishop, CA. Over the centuries it has cut a deep gorge and exposed a long string of beautiful volcanic rock walls. In doing so, the river has created California’s best sport climbing crag. The approach into the Gorge is down a steep sandy talus trail, which at first seems dreary and lifeless, until you get to the bottom and find a sparkling river surrounded by verdent trees and green grass.
Sonja and I started late today — we worked at home until 4pm and then made a break for it. We climbed here yesterday and we were anxious to get back. On the way down, we passed a number of climbers heading out. It was late but we had time. We ended up climbing 4 routes each, including Sonja’s project (which she sent), a tricky over-hanging 10c crack called Hardly Wallbanger.
You can see more photos here
You can see Mount Tom (13,652′) in the background. The ridge coming down from the right is Wheeler Crest (12,000′). Our house is in the middle of the photo (6,500′). This little suburb high above the valley is called Swall Meadows.
It’s 8:30am and I just got back from walking Zira and Jake. The temperatures have dropped to almost zero and the wind is blowing cold over the mountains to the West. We’ll have a few more days of cold, maybe even snow. Right now the sun is shining bright but has no warmth. I love this feeling. The cold carries the potential of the new season but I know it’s only an early preview. Summer will come charging back soon enough.
After 2 days of driving (23 hours) from Nelson through Washington State, Oregon, Nevada and California, we arrived in Bishop, CA.
Once again we got here in the dark, making our way up the winding roads from the highway to the high country of Swall Meadows, 4,000 or so feet above the Owen’s Valley floor. The night was dark and the air was still warm, surprising for the high desert.
As we pulled into the driveway Karleen and Dave came out to say hi. We’re taking over their house for the month while they head off to Switzerland for a base-jumping holiday (Dave’s a pro base jumper and Karleen a pro snowboarder). We’re here to dog-sit Zira and Jake, work, and rock climb.
I’m excited to be here and have the time to focus on development of In the Koots and finish up a number of key projects for our clients. And in the time we’re not working, Sonja and I are going to climb as much as we can — from the big walls of Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra to the crags of the Owen’s River Gorge to the boulders of the Buttermilks. I’ll keep you posted with photos and videos and updates as much as I can. In the meanmtime, here’s a photo of Jake: