November 3-5, 2017

This November 3rd - 5th, the American Alpine Club, CAMP USA, and Adidas invite you to the one and only, the world's most world-class climbing mecca, Bishop, California for the 10th annual Eastside-climbing-celebration-mega-throw-down, the Bishop Fall Highball Craggin' Classic!

About the Highball:
This 3-day climbing festival is a true celebration of climbing in the Eastern Sierra. Started a decade ago by local climbers looking to clean up the Buttermilks and afterwards drink some beers with friends, the Highball has always been a grassroots event by climbers, for local climbers. The event has grown to feature films, climbing clinics, slideshows, music, games, gear, and good times--all in a massive celebration right in the heart of downtown Bishop. And of course, we have incredible participation in our local stewardship projects, which take place both in the Volcanic Tablelands as well as the Buttermilks.

Happening in 2017:
The 2017 event hosts a full lineup of climbing clinics taught by pros and local guiding outfit Sierra Mountain Guides--these cover important and useful skills and cater to  beginners and experts alike. Our DownTown ThrowDown--hosted by our local friends at Mountain Rambler Brewery, June Lake Brewing Co. and Black Sheep Coffee Roasters--features local food vendors (tamales!), local Eastside-brewed beer, a truly stunning silent auction and raffle where you can score some incredible deals on top-end gear, not to mention the music, games, good people, and high fives which abound.

On Friday we will kick off the party at our downtown location and then head across the street to the Bishop Twin Theatre for a special presentation by Adidas athlete Kevin Jorgeson. He will regale us with tales of his Dawn Wall ascent and the type of grit and determination it requires to complete a monumental project. 

Saturday evening, after a day spent honing skills at climbing clinics, the party will continue in downtown Bishop. New for 2017, we are hosting a special screening of the 2017 Telluride MountainFilm fest right here on the Eastside. With submissions from Cedar Wright, Renan Ozturk, and others, be prepared for short films about climbing, skiing, kayaking, the dirtbag lifestyle, and adventure galore.

And of course on Sunday morning, join us for a free volunteer breakfast and select volunteer raffle, followed by our Eastside stewardship projects. Sign up those projects Saturday night, or just show up on Sunday.

It's the 10th year of the Highball. Which means a good party. And good climbing. In the Eastern Sierra. More need not be said. 


*Registration is currently closed, but will open on 9/5/17. Tickets are limited and will sell out. Please check back later for more information. All details listed below are subject to change until registration is officially open.

Includes: Event entrance Friday, Saturday, and Sunday including access to all entertainment (some limited seating may apply); AAC trucker hat and event cup; beer for those 21+; and a Sunday volunteer local breakfast and coffee from Black Sheep Coffee Roasters. Event ticket price does not include clinics or lodging/camping. 

Up your game with an array of climbing clinics taught by professional climbing athletes and local guides, hosted by Sierra Mountain Guides. All clinics run Saturday, November 4th from 8:00am to 4:00pm. See below for clinic descriptions and details.

*Current AAC members will receive a 10% discount upon registration checkout.



  • 5:00 PM: Kick-Off Party in Downtown Bishop
    Start the weekend off right with beers, music, and good times in downtown Bishop. Come hang out, listen to some grooves, and lounge around and share a beer with our event partners and athletes, and then head across the street for the evening entertainment. 
  • 8:00 PM: Kevin Jorgeson Slideshow at Bishop Twin Theatre
    Doors open at 7:30 pm at the Bishop Twin Theatre (237 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514). Don’t feel like waiting in line to cram into theater seats? We'll also be live streaming the show outside by the beer! Enjoy a beverage with friends and not miss the show. Seating in the theater is limited and tickets do not guarantee a seat--show up early and grab a space in line to secure a good spot.
  • 9:00 PM: After-Party at Downtown Event HQ (outside Black Sheep Coffee Roasters)
    After the show, head back across the street and enjoy a beer on the house from Mountain Rambler Brewery.


  • 8:00 AM - 4:00PM: Climbing Clinics taught by the Pros and Hosted by Sierra Mountain Guides
    Learning from those that are masters at their craft can seriously benefit your climbing. Sign up for a climbing clinic taught by the professional climbing athletes and local climbing guides and up your game. Everyone has something to learn. Climbers of all abilities are welcome, though basic climbing knowledge and proficiency is expected.

    Please show up 15-20 minutes early, ready to go, at the event headquarters in downtown Bishop. 
    See below for clinic descriptions and details.
  • 4:00 PM: Downtown Climber Celebration Party with Mountain Rambler Brewery
    Join the tribe and howl at the moon at our annual climber gathering in downtown Bishop! The evening will feature free swag and gear handouts; free local beer (21+); a massive silent auction and raffle featuring amazing deals on top end gear; vendor village and games; local food; music and more! Always good times. Always. Guaranteed.
  • 7:30 PM: Telluride MountainFilm Fest at the Bishop Twin Theatre
    When the time is right, head across the street to the Bishop Twin Theatre and grab a seat. Doors open at 7:00 pm. The MountainFilm fest showcases nonfiction stories about climbing, environmental, cultural, and social justice issues that matter, for a multi-dimensional celebration of indomitable spirit. Seating is limited and space is not guaranteed. But again, we'll be offering a overflow projection back at HQ.


  • 8:30 AM: Volunteer Breakfast in downtown Bishop
    Rally the crew back downtown for a free volunteer breakfast. Enjoy local grub and coffee from Black Sheep Coffee Roasters! Sweat it out early with the rest of us!
  • 9:00 AM: Eastside Stewardship Projects in the Buttermilks & Tablelands with Friends of the Inyo
    With your belly full, sign up for an Eastside Stewardship Project and do your part in giving back. Hosted by Friends of the Inyo, the Highball offers your choice of projects in either the Buttermilks or the Volcanic Tablelands. Help out and take some ownership of the great climbing and fragile ecosystem of the Eastern Sierra--it needs your love! 


Learning from those that are masters at their craft can seriously benefit your climbing. Sign up for a climbing clinic taught by the professional climbing athletes and local climbing guides and up your game. Hosted by local guiding outfit, Sierra Mountain Guides.

All clinics run Saturday, November 4th from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Please show up 15-20 minutes early, ready to go, at the event headquarters in downtown Bishop. Climbers of all abilities are welcome, though basic climbing knowledge and proficiency is expected. All clinic attendees will need to fill out a Sierra Mountain Guides waiver, either digitally or in paper before the clinic.

Personal Equipment Needed: Personal climbing equipment including shoes, harness, chalk, helmet, personal anchor and belay/rappel equipment, hiking shoes, lunch/calories, hydration, and appropriate clothing for climbing.

*Clinic details are currently TBA. Please check back later for more information.

    Embark upon a true Buttermilk adventure and a journey through local climbing history on this very special guided tour of Smoke's Rock Course in the Buttermilks led by climbing “golden-era” legend Doug Robinson. Smoke's Rock Course is an old-school, class 4 and 5 scramble across the Buttermilk country, first explored by Eastside climbing pioneer Smoke Blanchard.  Your adventure will involve scrambling, climbing, chimneys, jumping, scooting, and hopping your way across the granite formations and should only be embarked upon by those with adequate climbing skills and those comfortable climbing 4th and easy 5th class without a rope or harness. This is a true treat, a locals secret, and some of the most fun you can have on the Eastside! This clinic is presented by Sierra Mountain Guides.
    • About Doug: Fifty-five years of climbing experience including dozens of first ascents on ice, rock, and alpine terrain, Doug cut his teeth on Yosemite granite during the Valley’s Golden Age in the sixties. Doug is widely known as the father of clean climbing. In addition to developing climbing protection that allowed clean, non-destructive climbing to be possible, Doug’s essay, “The Whole Natural Art of Protection,” sparked the movement. In 1973, he made the first clean ascent of the face of Half Dome with Galen Rowell and Dennis Hennek, solidifying the clean-climbing revolution when the climb and ethics were featured as the cover story of National Geographic magazine.
    There are few things more fascinating or fulfilling than proficiently negotiating technical terrain on huge rock routes. Here, proficiency is the key … when everything we know and all the training we do comes together to create a very particular kind of accomplishment. This clinic is designed to explore the strategies and tactics involved in trying to improve our efficiency on big multi-pitch rock routes so we can ultimately move faster and climb higher. We will be studying the skills, the gear, and our objectives in order to distill this vast subject matter down to a digestible set of strategies and tactics that we can exercise in our regular climbing and training routines. The CAMP athletes teaching these clinics are absolute experts on the subject with bold first ascents around the world and numerous speed records across the United States from the Naked Edge in Eldorado Canyon to the Nose on El Capitan. See the clinic curriculum for more details
  • THE ART OF THE PROJECT with Ben Rueck, presented by CAMP USA
    The Art of the Project is an intensive clinic designed to help climbers break into new levels of difficulty within a single pitch environment. To develop the curriculum, we worked with CAMP athlete Ben Rueck who credits his growth as a climber to learning and understanding the art of project. The curriculum is designed to put a structure behind projecting that can be used to dissect and accomplish our objectives. The clinic covers the emotional, mental, and physical parts of the process from the perspective of athletes who have had to use these very tools to push their climbing to new levels.

    Here is a short introduction from the author and instructor:
    "Two years and over 50 falls had gone into trying to send Gutless Wonder (5.14b), my first climb at that grade.  I can only estimate the falls because after thirty of them, I’d just quit counting.  I wanted to walk away from the 50 degree lime stone wall and sweep the idea of red-pointing this Colorado test piece under the rug.  But I couldn’t and I wouldn’t.  There was an indescribable pull that forced me to grow as a climber and as a person –– as well as plant the seed for this clinic.  It all started with a simple shift in my mental framework, ‘It is not so much the Why, but the How that matters.’

    Easy phrase to speak aloud, but it took ten years for me to grasp and understand …

    I needed to stop asking why I could not climb the sequence and I needed to start asking how I could climb the sequence. Suddenly a map opened before me and I could understand the things that needed to happen if I was going to succeed. That map is what I have tried to put structure behind for clinic attendees."

  • KNOWING THE ROPES, presented by the American Alpine Club
    AAC Education has been taking controversial climbing topics head on for the last 6 years. The most controversial topics in climbing tend to generate fervor because misinformation, dogma, and rigid problem-solving often characterize what we think we know about some of the most foundational skills in American climbing. These knowledge gaps often lead to accidents, but it’s not always the novice climber that gets hurt. Intermediate and advanced climbers also fall victim to knowledge gaps.

    The Know the Ropes sampler is a clinic for any climber that wants to get off the Mountain Project forum and have a real hands-on myth-busting, set-the-record-straight, interactive educational session on the following topics: Belaying in single pitch and multipitch; Rappelling; Cleaning an anchor in a single pitch setting; Anchor building.

    • PREREQUISITES: This clinic is appropriate for any climber at any phase in their climbing.  If participants have prior experience with the clinic topics, the clinic can be more hands-on.  If not, the clinic still has informational value for those that might not yet be ready to practice in 5th class terrain.

    • EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Personal climbing equipment (helmet, harness, climbing shoes, belay hardware, any anchor building equipment). Personal Items such as food, water, sunscreen, bugspray, camera, note taking tools. Appropriate apparel and footwear (clinics may require a short hike and will be conducted outdoors).

  • IMPROVISED SELF-RESCUE, presented by the American Alpine Club
    Self-Rescue curricula rarely focus on the scenarios that actually routinely happen. Our clinic will spend less time focusing on unlikely scenarios like incapacitated climbers or leader-rescue and more time focusing on the awkward scenarios that every climber eventually experiences: Rope gets stuck when you try to pull it; Rope Drag is so severe the leader can’t move; I dropped my belay device; My rope doesn’t make it to the next rap station.

    • PREREQUISITES: This clinic has value for any climber at any phase in their climbing.  If participants to do not have traditional lead climbing experience or multi pitch climbing experience, the hands-on portions of the clinics will likely be limited to ground school.

    • EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Specific rescue tools (2 5mm nylon prussic loops or Sterling Hollowblocks, 2 48" slings, 2 7mm nylon cordellette, a mechanical assisted braking device, a tube style belay device with plaquette function like an ATC Guide or Reverso, 4 extra HMS style locking carabiners). Personal climbing equipment (helmet, harness, climbing shoes, belay hardware, lead climbing and anchor building tools). Personal Items such as food, water, sunscreen, bugspray, camera, note taking tools, etc. Appropriate apparel and footwear (clinics may require a short hike and will be conducted outdoors).


Because the Bishop Fall Highball is held (most awesomely) in downtown Bishop, camping is neither included nor provided. There is free dispersed camping on the Inyo National Forest around the Buttermilks and/or BLM land surrounding the Tablelands. For only $2 a night, stay at the Climber Campground at The Pleasant Valley Pit or $10 at Pleasant Valley Campground. Additionally, there are numerous lodging options within the city of Bishop. We encourage you to stay in town, support Bishop, and have the freedom to drink and hang out late without the worry of finding someone to drive you back to your tent.

Questions ?
If you have any questions regarding the Bishop Fall Highball Craggin' Classic, please contact Event Coordinator McKenzie Long at [email protected]

The 2017 Bishop Fall Highball Craggin' Classic is presented by:

Photos: AAC staff member Jeff Deikis