Mon, Dec 19, 2005
A three day road trip with the kids turned included a short opportunity to take another crack at Bishop Peak, an easy peak with a difficult summit block that had stymied Matthew and I a month earlier. This time I talked the kids into making the climb while Dad carried ropes and a few pieces of gear to make the final block. After breakfasting at nearby Denny's, we drove around to the north side of the peak where we found a nice trailhead by trial and error (the kids figured I was just lost).
The hike up the trail took us nearly two hours, primarily because this was the toughest hike yet for six year old Jackie. While nine year old Ryan would hike out in front of us, I held Jackie's hand for much of the hike, going slowly and taking breaks as often (or nearly as often) as she needed. She complained as expected, but overall did quite well. No complaints from Ryan - it's good not to be the slowest member of the party. It had rained a good deal the day before, and though the weather was overcast, it was ideal for hiking - except for some nasty mud in places. There were lots of other folks out on a Monday morning hike, as this seems to be one of the most popular in the area.
When we got to the summit block, I had the kids take it easy while I went about trying to rig up a rope so I could climb the block. My idea was to toss the rope over the top and tie it off on both ends, then climbing with a prussik tied to the rope for safety. I quickly found I could not toss the rope some 25-30ft in the air to get over the very top and had to settle for landing it across the shoulder on the northwest side. After spending some 30 minutes tying off ends and getting ready to climb, I realized the rope did not go across a line I could actually climb and was pretty useless. Rats. Upon further inspection, I decided the east edge of the summit block could be climbed at about class 4. So I tucked the rope through my harness and climbed up the thing solo. Wearing boots made it a bit spicy, but I managed to get up. Unfortunately the rope (which wasn't tied in) had come out from my harness and fallen back down. So there I was on top without a rope and the kids laughing and playing down below. I took the slings I'd brought and tied them all together to make a cheater sling I could use to lower myself and pick the rope back up from the shoulder of the rock where it had fallen back to. This accomplished, I set up the rope and rappeled off.
Ryan put on his harness and then attacked the rock, struggling all the way. It was hilarious to hear him switch between panic and non-panic as he fought his way up, eventually triumphant. Jackie thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen. After we coached him back down, Jackie took a turn. As soon as she was ready to start climbing and had her hand on the first handhold, she took a look at the exposure off to the left and cried out in panic. No climbing for Jackie - she would be content to simply make it to the base of the block. I climbed back up to retrieve the gear, doing a last rap off some slings that were already up at the top. We packed everything up and headed back, returning to the car about four hours after we'd started out. Longer than I had thought it might take, but a successful venture nonetheless!
To find the trailhead, find Foothill Blvd on the east side of the peak, accessible from either Hwy 1 to the northeast or the Los Osos Valley Rd from the southwest. Patricia Drive is just east of where West Foothill bends to become East Foothill. The trailhead is located on the left (west) side of the road between Patricia Ct. and Anacapa Circle. The trail to the top is suitable for all ages. From the bench at the top to the base of the summit block further west is a bit of a scramble, but doable by a six year old girl if you hold her hand. :-)
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Bishop Peak
This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:05:07 2007
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