Bishop Field Office

Climbing Access to the Tableland

Access to the Tablelands (via Happy Boulders)

Popular bouldering sites in the Eastern Sierra are predominantly located in areas with high natural resource values, be it the animal and plant life, or the archeological values to be found there.

Responsible access to these areas is important!!

Please view climbing as a privilege, it entitles you to use the public lands responsibly.

Please stay on the road!!Vehicles - Stay on the existing dirt roads in the area.  Do NOT drive off  road!  In a High Desert environment such as this, vehicle routes indiscriminately pioneered can last for years and even decades!  New illegal routes encourage others to follow ; before you know it a new route is created.  Consequences of new illegal routes are loss of vegetation and fragmentation of habitat for wildlife species.  Remember you are only a visitor to these natural communities.  Access the Happy Boulders by the Chalk Bluff Road only.

Vehicle encounters on narrow dirt roads - When you do encounter another vehicle, plan where you will pass each other. Pick a location where there is adequate room to pass with out driving off the route on to vegetation on the side.  One of you may have to back up until you find a turn around.

Turning your vehicle around - Look for a disturbed site to turn around.  If no site is immediately available, do a four point turn within the roadway.   Be sure to stay within the confines of the road.  Driving off the road may lead to your vehicle getting stuck in the loose sandy soil.

Vehicle Speed - Keep your speed down on dirt roads.  Excessive speed will make visibility for vehicles behind you difficult due to the dust.  Also, at high speeds, dirt roads may be dangerous if washboard conditions exist.  Under these conditions your ability to control your car and brake are drastically reduced at high speeds.

Parking at the Sad BouldersVehicle parking - Park vehicles on disturbed areas where there is no vegetation or seek out the established parking areas.  Again, driving your vehicle off the road will leave a path that may tempt others to do the same.  Think about car pooling into areas to reduce vehicle impacts.

Group Size - As with the number of vehicles, keep your group size as small as possible.  This will reduce the impacts to the area and make your trip more enjoyable.

Hiking - Much work has gone into trail systems at bouldering locations.  Trails were developed by local climbers and these  Trail to the Sad Bouldersclimbers are engaged in maintaining these single-track trails.  Use only existing access trails and avoid damaged or eroding slopes.  Do not shortcut trails. This reduces trail proliferation and physical impacts to the area.    A few footsteps off the trail may cause significant damage to the vegetation and attract further trampling and erosion, so remaining on existing paths is critical.  Do not use trails that have been closed and respect rehabilitation efforts.  Do not drag crashpads from one boulder to the next.

Please control your dogs!!!Dogs - Control your dog!!!  We all love to bring fido with us bouldering and yes, they also can leave an impact.  Think ahead and bring a plastic bag for the dogs waste to be packed out.  If you forget a bag, please consider burying the waste in a hole 6 to 8 inches deep to avoid visual impacts.  Do not tie your dog to the vegetation.  Leave aggressive dogs at home.

Climbing -   Enjoy yourself and the environment around you however, practice good climbing ethics, and respect land management rules and regulations. 

  • Do not climb when the rock is wet, such as after a rainstorm. The rock, especially small features or footholds, will break when the rock is wet. 
  • Do not climb on boulders that have rock art.   
  • Use white chalk sparingly, consider visual impacts.  Avoid using tick marks and clean chalk marks when finished.
  • Rocking vegetation and trailsDo not remove vegetation such as moss, trees, plants, or branches.  Please note that the dormant vegetation which appears to be dead is still alive.
  • Do not tamper with the rock by chipping, sculpting, gluing, comfortizing, or otherwise defacing the rock.  Wire brushes and files are not acceptable. 
  • Unload gear and take breaks on large, flat rocks or other durable ground to avoid damaging vegetation.
  • Use bouldering pads only when necessary.  Avoid laying your pad on vegetation and if a rock(s) is removed underneath a boulder problem, replace it after your done.
  • If you can pack it in, you should be able to pack it out.  All food waste, including orange peels and apple cores should be carried out, not buried or scattered.  Food scraps left behind attract insects, rodents and other animals, which can become a nuisance or even a danger, especially in established or popular areas.
  • Remove trash or debris left by others.  Discarded tape and cigarette butts are unsightly so consider bringing a small plastic bag in your pack for trash.  If all you do is pick up a bit of litter, you will have improved your own Leave No Trace habits.
  • Keep noise to a minimum.  Please do not use radios in this natural setting.

Pleasant Valley CampgroundToilet - Toilets are currently located at the trailhead of the Happy Boulders, and at Pleasant Valley Campground.  Use them before hiking to the boulders.  Think about hiking back to the trailhead to use the established toilets first, it is only a 1/4 mile or less away.  Do not go to the bathroom amongst the boulders.  In emergency situations, go the the rim, run/walk into the desert over 200 meters until the boulders are no longer seen.   Dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep, deposit the waste, and then fill the hole back in.  This will allow the bacteria to break down the material, and minimize any potential visual impact.  If toilet paper is used, burn it or pack it out.  Try to leave the area like you found it.  If bouldering with a pet, please pack out the pet's waste and deposit it in the latrine.