Bouldering Bonzanza In Bishop

A week ago, climber Tom Peckitt released a video of his recent winter trip to Bishop, California. The UK-based climber is on a warpath in the states having taken 4th place in the Men's Open during the Hueco Rock Rodeo, which took place shortly following his Bishop trip.

In the video compilation above Tom blesses viewers with an 11-course menu of technical crushing on some of Bishop's exquisite lines. The video is backed by a mix of choice ambient and lounge infused hip hop; in an instant we are whisked away to a land of stone where nothing else matters but chalk marked poetry imbued on ancient rock.

For me it encompassed what bouldering is all about: a stunning location, world class boulders, a great climbing scene and friendly people.
— Tom Peckitt

We wanted to learn more about Tom and feedback regarding his recent trip to one of California's climbing meccas, so we reached out with some questions. Check out our interview below:

Grave Goods Society: Tell us a little about yourself inside and outside of climbing.

Tom: I’m now 31 and recently quit my job as a project manager to spend a year travelling and climbing, something I had dreamt about doing for many years. The first leg of my trip is spending 6 months in the US climbing and sightseeing. After that I have a month in Rocklands, South Africa booked/ then I hoping to buy a van and travel around Europe.

I first went to my local indoor wall when I was about 11, but properly got into it when I was about 14. Since then I’ve been hooked!

I’m based in Leeds, England, and live with my girlfriend, Charlotte, who is joining me on part of my US leg of the trip. We are lucky enough to live only 15 minutes from some of the best bouldering in the country and love to climb on the fabled gritstone when it’s not raining (which it does a lot).

I’m in Hueco at the moment which is a totally different style – very thuggy and strength based. Bishop is more about finger strength, technique and keeping your head!

Grave Goods Society: In a sentence, describe your overall bouldering experience in Bishop.

Tom: For me it encompassed what bouldering is all about: a stunning location, world class boulders, a great climbing scene and friendly people.

Left: Tom about to throw during his flash of Shizam Sit Start (V11). Right: Charlotte hunting for crimps on Junior's Achievement (V8). (All photos & screenshots: Tom Peckitt)

Grave Goods SocietyWhat is your opinion on ways that climbers can prepare for the quality and styles of problems that are unique to Bishop?

Tom: To be honest, I’m totally the wrong person to ask. I don’t do any specific training for climbing, except climbing itself, be that at the gym, on my board at home, or on the real stuff. I hate things like finger boarding and campusing, it just doesn’t motivate me.

I’m in Hueco at the moment which is a totally different style – very thuggy and strength based. Bishop is more about finger strength, technique and keeping your head! I suppose there are similarities between the grit and Bishop, which has probably helped.

Grave Goods Society: You compile 11 problems in your Bishop highlight reel. Can you give us feedback on each one of the problems.

Tom's Compilation Breakdown:

Kill on Sight (V11): This was the first problem on the first day at Bishop. I did it in about three goes after pretty much no warm up, and my body wasn’t prepared. My tips were paper thin so I managed to rip through both my thumbs and two tips on that go! Really cool problem though.

The Mystery (V12): As I’d ripped through my skin, I had to do this with loads of tape on which didn’t help at all. The problem revolved around a very long move with the left hand then some foot trickery to bust out along the bulge feature.

Queen Sweet Nectar Left (V9): This is superb and well worth seeking out. Check out the highball V6 behind this, you’ll break into a sweat just looking at it!

Soul Slinger (V9): I first gave this one go in the middle of a hot day with about 15 other guys trying it. The holds felt so greasy on that go, and I knew it wasn’t worth thrashing myself. I left it a few days and went back as the sun was setting and the temps were way down. It went first go and felt like a totally different problem. This was very similar to climbing on grit as the holds near the top are barely anything. You just have to find the right spot and have cold temps for maximum friction. A belter of a problem!

Strength In Numbers (V5): Another prefect problem. Charlotte used her good technique and finger strength to get this done quickly.

Shizam Sit Start (V11 flash): An aesthetic, dynamic and short crimp fest! Happy to nail it first go!

He Got Game Right (V11): A crazy solution to a great roof feature! The drop-in move at the lip is a bit worrying!

Morning Dove White (V7): This has to be one of the best lines in Bishop and doesn’t let up until the very end. Charlotte so nearly flashed this but due to the length of the problem and effort it takes, she had to have a few more goes to get it done.

The Mandala (V12): A dream come true. The provenance of this problem made it all the more satisfying. I found the first move hard at first, but it’s actually quite ‘knacky’. Once I learnt what to do I could do the move every time, only to fall twice at the big move at the top, until I summoned enough to put it down.

Xavier's Roof (V11): A gobsmacking (that’s British for jaw dropping) feature which begs to be climbed. The moves to the lip are pretty steady but enough to tire you out for the crux mantle move at the top. One of my favourites from Bishop.

Zen Flute (V10): This is a superb and technical wall climb with a big fling to finish. If you watch Charlotte’s reaction as I hit the jug, she’s pretty happy that I held it as I could have gone over her head!

Stay tuned for Tom's recap of his Hueco Rock Rodeo 2016 trip and subscribe to his YouTube channel to follow the rest of his year long sabbatical where he aims to visit the world's most renowned climbing destinations.

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