Your Ultimate Guide to Winter Climbing in the Eastern Sierra

Jul 14, 2021

Accomplished local rock climber, Josh Dibble shares his tips for winter rock climbing in the Eastern Sierra.

What makes the Eastern Sierra the best place to climb during the winter?

Josh Dibble: One minute I’m skiing up on the mountain or riding a backcountry line and 10-30minutes later I can be in the boulder field filled with thousands of rock climbs to choose from with perfectly sunny weather. There’s just so much to choose from and so many areas to go. The rock quality is second to none. It’s just a really fun place to climb.

No matter the time or season, what makes the whole Eastern Sierra attractive to so many climbers?

JD: This place is just famous for rock climbing and historical speaking many things have been done here, many great feats have been reached, the quality of rocks and the amounts to choose from. There’s great granite rocks, great volcanic rock climbs and there’s never any area that you can’t get to.

Where would you recommend to go climbing in the winter?

JD: Just outside of Mammoth Lakes you can head up to the June Lake area to Hartley Springs and Backer Boulders. Around Mammoth Lakes there’s the Dreamers or Rock Creek. Just a few more minutes down the hill you can head down to Bishop where there’s a couple thousand more rock climbs to choose from at the Happys, Sads, Buttermilks, and Stewards just to name a few.

What advice do you have for those looking to rock climb in the winter?

JD: First stop by the local rock climbing shop, Mammoth Mountaineering Supply. If you’ve left your gear at home they’re going to have what you need. They rent bouldering pads and shoes, they also have the gear to keep you warm in the boulder field. After the sun goes down it does get a little cold. The staff is also very knowledgeable about the weather and accessibility.

TIP: Bring headlamps, extra pair of clothes, food, and water.

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