Cabezon Creek WSA, NM
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Bishop Field Office

Bouldering on the Tableland

Scott Justham Bouldering on the TablelandThe Volcanic Tableland offers exceptional bouldering opportunities, because of its unique geologic features formed by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of the Long Valley Caldera 750,000 y.a.  which left a highly dissected landscape of  Bishop Tuff.  Through time, this once barren tableau has evolved to support a unique and fragile environment that takes a keen eye and time to appreciate.  The Volcanic Tablelands is situated at the ecological cusp of the Northern Mojave and Great Basin floristic Provinces where plants and associated wildlife species combine to make this an unusual and biologically diverse landscape.  It has taken  millennia for this environment to evolve and it will take responsible recreational users to preserve it into perpetuity - so enjoy and protect this place.


Adam Connor Bouldering at the Happy Boulders


Happy Boulder drainage
Looking south down the Happy Drainage towards Bishop, Ca



In the early 90´s, the Tableland was visited only by local climbers.   By the late 90´s, thousands of climbers were coming from all over the world to try out their climbing skills on the many boulder problems the Tableland has to offer.  With this dramatic increase in use, the BLM and the local climbing community has developed a climbing management philosophy to protect the natural resources while preserving access to climbing opportunities.






Sad Boulder drainage
Looking south in the Sad Drainage



The Happy drainage and Sad drainage are located along the Inyo-Mono County line, approximately 7 miles north of Bishop, California.  Both drainages are oriented in a north-south direction extending north from the Owens Valley.  The crest of the Sierra Nevada of 14,000 ft (4,265 m) lies 16 miles (27 km) to the southwest, and the crest of the White mountains of 12,500 ft (3,800 m) is 11 miles (18 km) to the east.  Both areas are in the transitional zone between cold semi-deserts of the Great Basin to the northeast and the hotter Mojave to the south.

Bouldering Information

Climbing access
Climbers campground

Monitoring and Studies

Photo monitoring study
Number of visitors

Bouldering Related Environmental Concerns

Archeology on the Tableland
Cryptogramic crusts on the Tablelands
Cryptogramic Crusts
Desert vegetation on the Tableland
Climate & Vegetation

Mosses and lichens on the Tableland
Mosses & Lichens

Wildlife on the Tableland