Local climbers breathed a collective sigh of relief when hoards of seasoned gym climbers finally arrived in Bishop this season with essential information about outdoor climbing etiquette. Now that the wisdom is being shared by these V4 and sometimes even V5 gym climbers, local climbers can feel more confident in their own neck of the woods.
Local climber Alec Honda, who has been developing climbing sites in Bishop since 1988 commented, “I’ve been wondering for a long time whether it is okay to leave your litter around boulders. I now know for sure that it is and one really shouldn’t stress themselves out over it. For the longest time I’ve been packing my trash out like an idiot!” Alec was visibly at ease, smiling softly as he tossed his banana peel behind a bush.
In addition to providing information about where to put litter, seasoned gym climbers bring nuggets of wisdom regarding social norms when bouldering outside.
Local legend Lenny Kelp demonstrated admirable humility while reflecting on what he had learned from dedicated gym-goers: “I used to think that it was standard to check in with others around me to see if they were interested in the boulder I was spending a lot of time on. Now I know I should just bring a really big group of friends to shield me from outsiders who are trying to take turns on the project I’m most psyched on. This revelation has been huge for me. Huge.”
Furthermore, the arrival of droves of belay-certified athletes from educated places such as LA and the Bay Area has helped inspire bold new land stewardship practices. For example, business that might normally be taken care of in the outhouse is now embraced in any part of the world-class recreation sites of Bishop.
One long-time Bishop resident Timmy Coldwell, who has been featured on a number of documentaries enthused, “Yeah, turns out the nutrients from our waste actually feed back into the earth, so it brings us into a deeper relationship with the land when we shit behind a rock instead of in the bathroom. This is something I would have never known before all the gym climbers got here and showed us the way. Now I smile every time I see a piece of dung while walking through the boulders, knowing that we are giving back to nature in a really meaningful way.”
The admiration from local climbers of Bishop is palpable as gym climber elites crunch their tires over sage plants and step intrepidly from their Priuses and Teslas. It’s often only an outside perspective that can really help us see ourselves clearly and show us how we can be better. In Bishop, the wisdom brought by seasoned gym climbers is enthusiastically embraced. Locals finally have a chance to learn how to climb in the outdoors where they live.
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