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Intro

The Owens River Gorge is a massive collection of some of the finest sport climbing that California has to offer. With over 300 routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.13, this crag has something for everyone. The rock in the Owens River Gorge is a type of volcanic tuff local to the region, which makes for a hard, compressed rock that has settled in a variety of formations. You’ll find everything from pockets to flakes, and even a few chimneys thrown in for good measure. The majority of the routes in the gorge are near-vertical, with some notable steeper selections such as the Eldorado Roof which hosts five classic routes (rated 5.11 and higher).

What Makes It Great

In order to best navigate the gorge, we’ve divided it into three sections with some classic route options for each.

The Lower Gorge: Despite the easier approach, this area sees less traffic than other parts of the gorge. Although some would argue that the presence of the power plant detract from the atmosphere somewhat, there is a good selection of routes here.
– Watch for Rocks, 5.8, Warning Signs
– Director’s Cut, 5.10a, Big Tower
– Timeless, 5.10d, Warning Signs
– Warning Signs, 5.10d, Warning Signs
– Flashflood, 5.12b, Penstock Rock

The Central Gorge: This is one of the most well-trafficked areas, and can occasionally feel crowded. However, this area also boasts a ton of great routes from 5.8-5.11, most of which are closely set, so if you’re looking to get a lot of laps done, this will be the place for you. Highly popular areas include The Warm Up Wall, The Social Platform, and The Pub Wall.
– Babushka, 5.8, Warm Up Wall
– Abitarot, 5.9, Pub Wall
– Hardly Wallbanger, 5.10c, Pub Wall
– Sendero Luminoso, 5.10b R, Solarium
– Expressway, 5.11b, Social Platform

Upper Gorge: The upper gorge is a little narrower and more winding than the lower sections, and offers a good selection of moderate climbs. However, for the hard charging climbers, this section of the gorge offers a large selection of 5.11 and 5.12 climbing. Another benefit of this gorge is that the winding narrow walls face all different directions, making it possible to chase shade all day long.
– For Patricia 5.7+ PG13, Upper Elbow Room
– Slip n’ Slide, 5.9, Lower Elbow Room
– Lava Haul, 5.10a, Flavin Haven
– Wacked Scenario, 5.10b, Gorgeous Towers
– Flex Your Head, 5.11c, Gotham City

Who is Going to Love It

If you’re looking for a climbing area that’s well-bolted, and offers a climbs for a wide range of abilities, then this might just be your crag. The close proximity to town, as well as the potential for year-round climbing, might convince you to give up the climber dirtbag lifestyle and set up permanent residence in Bishop.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Leave Bishop, head north on Highway 395 for 12 miles, then turn right onto Gorge Rd and follow this to a T intersection. To stay on Gorge Rd turn left, follow this road until you reach the parking area where you want to start climbing.

There are three options when it comes to starting your day, the first parking area is 3.3 miles down the road at a fork, park there and head left, following the paved road about a mile. The middle area is 4.8 miles down the road, where climbers will approach through a steep gully, requiring some class 2-3 scrambling. Finally, the third and final parking area, commonly known as the Upper Gorge, is 6.4 miles from the 395 intersection on upper Power Plant Rd, and like the middle pull-out requires climbers to scramble down a 3rd class gully.

Featured image provided by Jonathan Fox

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1 day ago

Sunsets around here never get old. 😍
#nofilter #visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
Photo by Betsy Johnson
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Sunsets around here never get old. 😍
#nofilter #visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
Photo by Betsy Johnson

Comment on Facebook

I've got a lot of nice trout up in Bishop I love it there

Beautiful picture

Love the sky's @ sunsets and sunrise. I have some beautiful pictures of the area. This looks to be below pleasant valley campground on the lower Owens. I fly fished all over the west, This is still my favorite water!!!

What a lovely picture of the beautiful, colorful ,peaceful sky it's so breathtaking. 💘

Classic Western Sky with cattle to add to the picture. Hearing some Western music in the back ground. Just need a windmill. <3

Those Happy Cows love the Bishop sunsets.

STUNNING🌹🌹

And I love Bishop!😊

I love it in the late afternoon when the Sierra's cast their shadow on the White Mountains

HOME ! !

These views never get old. MIss them.

Beautiful Sun 🌞set

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1 day ago

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Comment on Facebook

Snow in the mountains, but dry in the valley, that's why we love Bishop!

Pretty

God I miss it!

Beautiful!!

Home sweet home beautiful

Ready to roll there!!!!

Beautiful

Every time I go south on 395 I'm amazed at the beauty of the eastern Sierra Nevada could spend a lifetime in the Mountains There

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1 day ago

Definitely feels and looks like winter around here these days.... this is a shot from yesterday.
📷 by Julie Faber
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard
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Definitely feels and looks like winter around here these days.... this is a shot from yesterday. 
📷 by Julie Faber
#visitbishop #bishopBIGbackyard

Comment on Facebook

Wish you'd post what mountains we're looking at. Lovely photograph!

This is absolutely beautiful! 😊😀

wow, such a beautiful post, need long johns to stay longer then an hour in that snow ?

Awesome picture

Fabulous!

... name of the "pyramid peak" please.....

Hello Tom!

Mt. Tom

Beautiful

Beautiful

Beautiful

Frank

I need to go fishing on the Owens or PVR, been a while.

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3 days ago

Who loves a little winter fishing???? We've got it year-round here!!Out side enjoying the lower Owens River. Snow storms are rare in the Owens Valley. Snow only lasts a few days at the most. Photo by @leviaguilera_photography ... See MoreSee Less

Who loves a little winter fishing???? Weve got it year-round here!!

Comment on Facebook

Glad to see L A didn’t get all the Owens valley water!

Beautiful background !

Looks cold, but what a great place.

plenty of brown trout,large trout at bridgport res

always did ice fishing onway to bridgport

He should wear one of those wrist bands or forehead bands which shows his temperature so he can regulate. Risky sports have science to make them safer.

Love to go fishing in this stream ! Look at the great snow.😁

Refreshing, stunning, incredibly beautiful and the bestest fishing ever ! I love Bishop !😲👍🇺🇸🦅🇺🇸🎅☃️🎄💥

Oh yea!! He’s gettin them native Browns right there!!

I have fished the Lower Owens for many years, winter is the best because of reduced flows. Great Blue wing olive hatches, and plenty of wild browns. I fished this same run pictured . Love this River and the town of Bishop.

SUPERB SCENARY💝

Benton crossing?

That looks so amazing

Jo Nathan we need to go asap!

Do you know where your legs are?

Is that you Josh Beck?

Fred Powers

Nope

♥️

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