Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tioga Gas Mart/ Whoa Nellie Deli AKA Mobil station

Shamelessly stolen from a Yelp review submission

Nestled right at the intersection of highway 120 and highway 395 lies a mobile station. If you have time, I highly suggest stopping by this place on your way home.


Because then, you may be more inclined to buy some of the merchandise!

But I digress, the real reason you should stop here is for the dinner, or so I've been told. Breakfast and lunch is fine as well, but dinner is where you'll be impressed the most. Small and quaint, the diner lies in the back of the mart. But don't let its size and appearance fool you, the quality of the food is top notch.

Shamelessly stolen from a Yelp review submissio

Shamelessly stolen from a Yelp review submissio
And once you fill your fat bellies, consider buying some merch at the front of the store. I bought a hat and Keira bought a handful of stickers. They are, pretty dope.

For more information see:


Bouldering Weekend in Bishop, California, United States part 5

With Sunday, came the end of our trip.

Pleasantly sore from the previous day, Keira and I made breakfast, packed our tents, and packed the car. Personally, I felt we did a great job in terms of planning the amount of food we needed. We essentially ate everything we brought. The car definitely felt less chaotic now than when we first came up, trying to find any nook or cranny to shove another piece of camping equipment.

Given the time, the plan was to take it leisurely back to the Bay.

As we approached the junction of highway 120 and 395, I passed by a sign displaying route statuses. I couldn't believe my eyes. Route 120 was closed. But we had just came over it! What happened Turns out, immediately the day after, bad weather had struck the route and forced a closure. So now, we had to take the LONG way back home.


Bouldering Weekend in Bishop, California, United States part 4

The latter half of Saturday was spent at the HAPPYS (see: https://www.mountainproject.com/v/happy-boulders/105799640).

I have to say, out of the three places that we visited during our stay in Bishop, the HAPPYS probably appealed to me the most. Not that I didn't know what was in store for me at the HAPPYS, but from an evolved understanding of bouldering, I appreciate it in a different regard than when I first came to Bishop. The problems there didn't punish the fingers and the finishes were reasonably heighted. The area was perfect in my opinion and will be probably be my main point of focus the next time I return.

Sadly, there are not too many pictures to post of us climbing to Bishop. After all, there was only two of us and we had to constantly spot one another during climbs.


Bouldering Weekend in Bishop, California, United States part 3

Saturday's plan was simple, get our butts to the Buttermilks and tackle all the non highball problems. A consensus was quickly reached between Keira and I that we were both uncomfortable with climbing such high problems with no safe way down. Now I can't speak for Keira, but I was definitely being a chicken about it. Highballs are scary man.

Once again, the drive and arrival to the climbing area was simple and unimpeded. Bishop truly felt like it was ours for the weekend.


Hotsprings in Bishop, California, United States

After half a day of climbing, you are filthy, covered in sand, rock scum, and chalk. To clean off, you have a few options. One: take a shower in the hotel/motel that you rented in town. Two: Take a shower in any of the free outdoor natural hot springs. Three: Go to Keough's Hot Spring.

My personal favorite is option number three.

Thanks to my trip to Bishop a year ago, and my friend Rich for introducing it to me, after a day of climbing I like to finish with a trip to the local developed hot spring facility Keough's Hot Spring. Located just south of Bishop proper on highway 395, the spring is easy to locate, both on maps and visually (large sign).

When we went, the cost of entry was 12 dollars.

I can think of no better way to end the day than to relax in a pool and hot spring. Just stretching your sore muscles in the hot spring is reason enough to visit this place.

Take it from me, the place may not look like much, but it feels wonderful.

Site: http://www.keoughshotsprings.com/


Bouldering Weekend in Bishop, California, United States part 2

When we awoke the next morning, our plan was clear; Friday, we were to hit up the SADS climbing area (see: https://www.mountainproject.com/v/sad-boulders/106068462).

Breakfast was quick and we packed our day packs. I purchased the camping permit and we left for climbing. The approach to the SADS was identical to theapproach to the HAPPYS. Mainly because the two climbing areas are right next to one another.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bouldering Weekend in Bishop, California, United States part 1

I tried gathering as many people as possible for my trip to Bishop but alas, I could only muster my good friend Keira. Everyone had their reasons and ultimately, it was just two bouldering aficionados off into the desert.

We left the Bay Area around 4pm and were fortunate enough to access highway 120 through Yosemite. Highway 120 typically closes around snow season and opens whenever the roads are safely cleared. To find out exactly when the pass opens, check out Yosemite's official site and the Department of Travel (DOT) site. In my opinion, both should provide confidence whether or not you can pass, but the DOT is usually more up to date than Yosemite's. By using the pass, you shave about an hour off your trip and you also get a glimpse of the park's beauty. 

On the way East, I had to stop by the REI in Pleasanton to get propane. Seeing how we were stopped already, we also decided to get lunch. Those two simple choices, ended up costing us a lot of time in terms of traffic (my fault). When we entered town, we were ahead of Bay Area commute, when we finished lunch, we were in the thick of it. Luckily, side streets allowed us to bypass most of the stop and go traffic.

At the time, it didn't seem like getting propane for my Jetboil was worth it, seeing how Keira had a stove set already, but later on, it turned out to be the proper choice (in my opinion).

By the time we got to Bishop, it was around 11pm. Not only that, but the site was plagued by a terrible wind that made setting up the tent annoying. Nonetheless, we managed to prop our tents up and call it a night.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Weekend in Bishop, California, United States

Luck is on our side, Tioga Pass (Highway 120) opened the week of our trip!

This weekend, I will travel to Bishop, CA to do some climbing. If I disappear, let it be assumed that I am dead somewhere.

Bishop holds a special place in my heart, the town is where my journey into climbing began. Despite having climbed one or two times before my trip there last February, I never really liked the sport. I thought climbing was uninteresting and the problems hurt my precious, geisha-textured, hands. But something about that weekend in Bishop changed my perspective, and now, I'm an avid climber. So I look forward to my return, and hope that all goes well (i.e. please don't let me ankles break from falling).

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Climbing at Castle Rock State Park, California, United States

Climbing Locations:  California Ridge and Platypus in the Western Addition region.

This past Sunday, me and some friends went up to Castle Rock to do some rope climbing. The original plan was to warm up on Summit rock but we quickly discovered that the trail to the rock was closed for nesting reasons. Thus, we moved to Castle Rock proper.

To get to Castle rock, if you're coming from the South bay, make your way to highway 9 and turn left at hwy 35. If you're coming from south or north of the park, you could make your way onto highway 35 directly and look for the park on your right/left depending on your direction. For specifics, visit the park website and plan accordingly: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=538

Parking is difficult on the weekend. Summit parking lot is almost always available to find parking, regardless of time. The trade-off of course is a 20-30 minute hike to the park entrance. You can either take the main road or a scenic path, there should be free maps available at the trail entrance and at certain trail junctions. Parking at the main lot is a gamble. If you arrive anywhere from 7-8, you'll find a spot. Anytime after is a gamble. Even arriving around 850am may be pushing it.

To get to these climbs, an abundance of information exists on the net. A few examples of where to find such information include SuperTopo's handbook or Mountain Project, the website. Here is the map that we used:

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