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6 Must-Climb Cracks of Bishop

If you mention Bishop to a climber, chances are good that the first image that pops into their head is highball bouldering. While Bishop is best known for world class bouldering, what most climbers don’t realize is that hidden behind the hype of these giant pebbles is an amazing collection of beautiful crack climbs – and you don’t have to venture high into the Sierra to find them. Here’s a few to get you started:

Sheila (5.10a)
Dihedrals Area, Pine Creek Canyon
This must-do moderate is located on the aesthetically angular blocks that make up the Dihedrals Area. After a thin traversing crack delivers you from the wall’s face into the corner, sinker jams lead up the middle of a large, clean-cut dihedral. As you approach the top, enjoy a short section of chimney climbing before reaching the anchors.

V8 Crack (5.10d)
Cardinal Pinnacle

V8 Crack2

Pulling over the first bulge on V8 Crack. (Photo by Adam Freund)

Located on a smaller formation just to the left of Cardinal Pinnacle proper, this striking crack zigs and zags through a prominent red streak that stains the granite wall. Once you reach the first small roof, the crack becomes as straight as I-90 through Nebraska (though much more enjoyable!), delivering you to a comfortable rest stance where you can take a few moments to revel in the beauty of the first half of the climb. As the crack widens, a second crack opens up along the right, pointing you toward the final roof before the anchors. The combination of the spectacular crack, high quality granite, and amazing views of the Sierras make this a five star route begging to be climbed.

4 Those About 2 Rock (5.10d)
Frontier Left, Little Egypt
Test your forearm endurance as you traverse along the bottom of a roof, underclinging the crack and using delicate footwork as you go. Once you reach the far end of the roof, the crack widens and juicy hand jams lead upward to lower angle climbing and a bolted anchor.

Expresso Crack (5.11c)
Frontier Left, Little Egypt
This thin steep crack is sure to capture the attention of any crack climbing fanatic. A short flake approaches the business, 50 feet of steep .4-.5 camelot sized crack. Search for the sweet spots in this crack, as finger size will dictate where you feel most secure in this perfectly imperfect splitter. As you near the anchors, the crack eases and better foot holds reward you for your hard work. Short but fierce, this climb is well worth the time!


Espresso Crack 4

Climbing the beautiful finger crack of Espresso Crack. (Photo by Adam Freund)


Cannibal (5.11c)
Frontier Left, Little Egypt
After warming up on 4 Those About 2 Rock, walk a minute down the trail to another of Little Egypt’s short but sweet cracks. The thin bouldery start is sure to grab your attention, and if not, perhaps the rattly fingers above it will. But fear not – once you climb through the first half of the route, a giant knob provides a luxurious rest and easier climbing continues to the top of the crack.

The Prow (5.12b)
Cardinal Pinnacle

The Prow

Adam launching into the steep finger crack. (Photo by Gina Edwards)

While all four pitches of this route are classic, it’s the steep, laser-cut finger crack on the crux pitch that really makes you salivate. The climb starts with the first two pitches of the West Face before veering left, up a featured face and corner (tricky/runout pro). Fight the pump as you climb up the short, steep finger crack and choose between 5.8 or 5.10d climbing to finish the route to the top of the pinnacle. (Not psyched on the thought of leading the burly crux pitch? Climb the West Face (5.10a), a five star route in its own, to the top of the pinnacle and top rope the pitch as you rappel the route!)






Need some beta on where to camp, shower, or use some free WiFi?

Check out my Road Warrior’s Guide to Bishop!



  1. beau freund says

    Another nice piece of writing Gina and the photos are awesome. I guess Adam will get to take some of the credit.:) We can hardly wait to see you guys.



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