Mount Bishop October 8, 2006          

Mountain height:   2850 m
Elevation gain:      1200 m
Ascent time:         5:00
Descent time:        3:20

Solo scramble.

Having thoroughly enjoyed last week’s ascent of Mount Loomis with Mark, I thought I might get a repeat experience on the next major peak to the south – Mount Bishop. The crumby weather would ensure that didn’t happen, but it was a worthwhile trip.

Expecting perhaps a little precipitation during the day and given a rather wet week, I chose to hike the Loomis Creek Trail, as opposed to biking it, as we had last week. After about 3.2 km of hiking, I arrived at the turn-off to Bishop Creek Trail and followed that pleasant trail for another 4-6 km. Optimistically, I thought the fairly dismal weather might improve during the day, but I rounded the lower slopes of Bishop Ridge, to see nothing but a wall of low cloud exactly where Mount Bishop should have been. Several times, I considered bailing on the attempt and ascending Bishop Ridge instead, as it was still clear of cloud cover. Still, I thought it might be just a matter of time before the clouds broke and I continued on, soon reaching the lower slopes of the mountain’s east impressive face.

The low visibility and fresh snow on the mountain made for a tiring ascent, with much routefinding and back-tracking. At one point, I reached a point about 200 vertical metres from the summit, but ran into terrain that would require a rope and had to lose almost all the elevation I had gained on the face. Again, it was extremely tempting to call it day and return with better weather, a partner and some climbing gear, but I wanted to try one more route before I left.

This meant going all the way back to the start of the ridge and traversing around the mountain. After ascending a large section of the mountain for the second time, I did find an easy route up, avoiding most of the steep and snow covered sections. More interesting routefinding followed, and soon I was on the summit ridge, where the top was only about 10 minutes away. I reached the summit to a stunning but very brief view. By the time I took my camera out to start snapping pictures the clouds had moved in all around.

I stayed at the summit for 1 hour 20 minutes, waiting for a decent view, but one never materialized. The summit register, placed in 1988 by Rick Collier, was expectedly barren. Mine was the 6th recorded ascent in the past 18 years. The familiar names of Don Forest and Glen Boles also appeared in the register.

The descent was uneventful and it snowed most of the way down. I reached the car in even worse weather conditions than the ones in which I started. Definitely worth a return trip in better weather.        

The view of Mount Bishop (left) I would have liked....... (taken the previous week, on the way to Loomis)


....the view of Mount Bishop I got.....Bishop Ridge is on the right and Mount Bishop is somewhere to the left


The impressive east ridge of Bishop


The best view of the mountain I got all day


An interesting fin of rock en route to the south east shoulder


Looking back To Bishop Ridge


Signs of winter (or at least  precipitation with cold weather !)


The southeast slopes of Bishop


A closer look at the rockband above


Again, looking back to Bishop Ridge


Looking south to Mount McPhail


The only photo I was able to snap at the summit, before the clouds really moved in