November 2-4, 2018

This November 2nd - 4th, the American Alpine Club and CAMP Technical Adventure Equipment invite you to the one and only, the world's most world-class climbing mecca, Bishop, California for the 11th 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 and community in the Eastern Sierra. Started over 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 climbers. The event has grown to feature films, climbing clinics, slideshows, games, gear, local beer, and good times—all in a massive gathering in the heart of downtown Bishop. And of course, we take pride by giving back through local stewardship projects, which take place in the Volcanic Tablelands and the Buttermilks.

This year you are in for a treat. We have everything from a Respect the Land social hour to promote conversation and new partnerships, an-adrenaline-soaked showing of Adventure Film Fest, 2 nights of parties, a special presentation about big wall climbing in Iran by Black Diamond Athlete Kate Rutherford, service projects to tend to the land we love, and climbing clinics to keep you safe and climbing harder. Not attending a clinic? No problem, because we have a bouldering comp and scavenger hunt happening in the Buttermilks, a free yoga class at Flowmotion Yoga and Pilates, oh and there’s good climbing. All over. In the Eastern Sierra. More need not be said. 

Keep in touch, stay up to date on the event schedule, share photos, and find climbing partners and carpools in the Facebook group: American Alpine Club Bishop Fall Highball.


**Online registration for the Bishop Fall Highball Craggin' Classic opens September 4th. Please check back regularly for updates and more information. 

INCLUDES: AAC trucker hat and Klean Kanteen pint cup; free beers for 21+; entrance into the Friday showing of Adventure Film Fest at the Bishop Twin Theatre (space not guaranteed, limited seating) and the June Lake Brewery after-party; entrance to Saturday evening Downtown Climber Party with Mountain Rambler Brewery; entrance to Kate Rutherford Slideshow (space not guaranteed, limited seating). Event ticket price does not include clinics.

Up your game with an array of climbing clinics taught by pros, hosted by Sierra Mountain Guides. Clinics are $70. AAC members will receive a 10% discount on clinics. All clinics run Saturday, November 3rd from 8:00am-4:00pm. Please show up 15-20 minutes early, ready to go, at the event HQ in downtown Bishop across the street from the Bishop Twin Theatre. All clinic attendees will need to fill out a Sierra Mountain Guides waiver, either digitally or in paper before the clinic.




  • 5:00 PM: Respect the Land Social Hour with Natives Outdoors
    The 2018 event will kick-off Friday evening with a “Respect the Land” social hour at our downtown location. As climbers, we spend a lot of time special places that are important to us and others. We will host a panel with ambassadors from Natives Outdoors, local Indigenous residents, and members of public lands agencies to discuss ways to care for and respect our public lands and how we can honor those who have been here before us. This event is free and open to the public. 
  • 7:30 PM: Adventure Film Fest at Bishop Twin Theatre with Comedian Monte Montepare
    After forming some new friendships, head across the street to the Bishop Twin Theatre and grab a seat for a showing of the Adventure Film Fest. Introduced by climbing guide and comedian Monte Montepare, we will show a climbing-centric mix of films to awe, impress, and fuel the stoke. Doors open at 7:00 pm at the Bishop Twin Theatre (237 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514). 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 with June Lake Brewery
    After the show, head back across the street and enjoy a beer from June Lake Brewery.  Start the weekend off right with good times in downtown Bishop.



  • 8:00 AM - 4:00PM: Climbing Clinics taught by the Pros and Hosted by Sierra Mountain Guides
    Saturday morning will start bright and early with a full lineup of climbing clinics taught by pros and local guiding outfit Sierra Mountain Guides—these cover a range of important and useful skills appropriate for beginners and experts. 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 with Mountain Rambler Brewery
    Join the crew and howl at the moon at our annual climber gathering in downtown Bishop! After clinics and climbing, come back into Bishop for our DownTown ThrowDown, hosted by our friends at Mountain Rambler Brewery and Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, and featuring free swag, local food vendors, Eastside-brewed beer (21+), an overwhelming silent auction and raffle where you can score some incredible deals on top-end gear, and not to mention pull-up contests, games, good people, and high fives. Always good times. Always. Guaranteed.
  • 8:00 PM: “Mystery in the Mountains of the World: Bigwall Alpine Climbing in Iran” presentation by Kate Rutherford, presented by Black Diamond
    When the time is right, head across the street to the Bishop Twin Theatre and grab a seat. Kate Rutherford will be giving a riveting presentation about a women’s team climbing big walls in the Middle East. Doors open at 7:30pm. Seating is limited and space is not guaranteed.



  • 8:30 AM: Volunteer Breakfast in downtown Bishop with Black Sheep Coffee
    Rally the crew back downtown for a free volunteer breakfast and special raffle for stewardship project participants. Enjoy Great Basin bagels plus coffee from Black Sheep Coffee Roasters to get your morning started!
  • 9:00 AM: Eastside Stewardship Projects in the Buttermilks & Tablelands with Friends of the Inyo and BLM
    While sipping your morning Joe, sign up for an Eastside Stewardship Project and give back to this place that gives so much to us. Hosted by Friends of the Inyo and the BLM, you can choose a project in either the Buttermilks or the Volcanic Tablelands. Help out and take some ownership of the incredible climbing, precious scenery, and fragile ecosystem in the Eastern Sierra—it needs your love! 

*First 20 people to register online for the stewardship project AND show up will receive a special thank you gift from our friends at Klean Kanteen.


The best way to fine-tune your technique or educate yourself on rescue and ropes skills is to take a class from an expert.  Sign up for a clinic taught by professional climbing athletes and local climbing guides and open yourself to new possibilities, whether that is harder grades, new terrain, or a different style of climbing. Clinics are hosted by local guiding outfit, Sierra Mountain Guides.

All clinics run Saturday, November 3rd from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Clinics hold 12 individuals each, unless otherwise stated, with 1-2 instructors per clinic. 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, hydration, and appropriate clothing for climbing.


  • HUGE DAYS WITH A LIGHT RACK with Josh Huckaby, presented by CAMP Technical Adventure Equipment
    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.

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced

PREREQUISITES: Some previous experience climbing outdoors and a desire to get out into the mountains lighter and faster.

About Josh: Josh Huckaby is an alpinist based out of Bishop, California. He has spent years big-wall climbing in Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, racking up first ascents and notable repeats. More recently, he has set his sights on Southern Patagonia. Josh climbed the North Pillar of Fitz Roy and the Ragni on Cerro Torre. In addition, he established first ascents on the South Face of De la S, "Carne y Papas"and "Manos y mas Manos," a 7 summit traverse deep in the Torre Valley. Josh has spent 5 seasons now chasing his El Chalten dreams, living at the best summer camp ever! In the off seasons, he works for Search and Rescue in Yosemite Valley. 

  • ART OF THE PROJECT with Ben Rueck, presented by CAMP Technical Adventure Equipment
    The Art of the Project is a clinic for all levels of rock climbers designed to help them pursue harder routes. To develop the curriculum, we worked with CAMP athlete Dan Mirsky 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 physical and mental parts of the process from the perspective of athletes who have had to use these very tools to push their climbing to new levels.

SKILL LEVEL: All skill levels

From Ben, 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 number of falls because after thirty of them, I just quit counting. I wanted to walk away from the 50 degree limestone 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 –– it also as planted 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.’ An 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 use to guide clinic attendees.”

  • KNOW 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.

  • 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.

ADDITIONAL 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).

  • ADVANCED BOULDERING with Daniel Woods, presented by Petzl
    Join Petzl's Daniel Woods at the Bishop Craggin' Classic in this Advanced Bouldering Clinic and learn what it takes to step-up your game in bouldering. In this clinic you'll work with one of the best boulderers of all time, Daniel Woods, to work on advanced techniques and strategies for sending your hardest problems. Daniel will work with the group and each individual to identify some common themes that prevent you from sending, then work through options to overcome plateaus, mental obstacles, and address physical strength/technique.

PREREQUISITES: Regularly boulder V5 and above outdoors.  


About Daniel: Daniel Woods is arguably the strongest climber of his generation. At a young age he began competition climbing, ultimately winning a gold medal in IFSC World Cup and absolutely dominating the American Bouldering Series for over a decade. However, Daniel has always been equally, if not more, motivated for climbing outdoors. With a resume of sending the hardest boulders and sport routes on the planet, Daniel continues to travel the world seeking out impossible lines and making them a reality. He's in the most elite club of having sent both V16 and 5.15b. Daniel continues to prove himself time and again, whether bouldering or on a rope.

  • INDOOR BOULDERING TRANSLATED TO OUTDOOR SUCCESS with Nathaniel Coleman, presented by Petzl
    Join Nathaniel Coleman as he works with you to translate your indoor climbing skills to take down your outdoor bouldering project. You'll develop a strategy for your outdoor bouldering sessions and Nathaniel will identify his techniques for transforming indoor skills to outdoor success. He'll also cover some key elements of indoor training that transfer well to outdoor climbing. You won't want to miss working with an elite athlete like Nathaniel. 

PREREQUISITES: Regularly boulder V5 and above outdoors.  


About Nathaniel: Nathaniel Coleman is a beast. He's currently America's 3 time Open Bouldering National Champion and he's not slowing down. Nathaniel emerged on to the world stage in 2015 with multiple impressive podium finishes in IFSC Bouldering World Cup events. He's also translated that to impressive outdoor boulders. Recently, he's been interested in developing boulder problems in the San Rafeal Swell near his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

  • CLIMBING IS ART with Kate Rutherford, presented by Black Diamond
    Climb and draw your way through the day. Kate Rutherford is teaching how to balance climbing your hardest with time to reflect and document your favorite adventures. Climb a few pitches with other artistic folks and then take a moment to focus on a feature of the landscape to draw or paint. In this way we honor the beautiful nature we climb in as well as slow down enough to craft a piece of beauty. 

About Kate: Kate attributes her love of climbing to the trapeze in their rural Alaskan cabin. Without electricity or running water, she had lots of time to climb and dangle. She officially learned to climb while attending Colorado College, but a visit to Yosemite changed everything. Today, free climbing long crack systems is her passion, which she augments with making jewelry and stints as a fly-fishing guide.

    Embark upon a true Buttermilk adventure and a journey through local climbing history on this very special guided tour of Smoke's Rock Course led by climbing “golden-era” legend Doug Robinson with the added bonus of a Scarpa shoe demo for the day. Smoke's Rock Course is an old-school, class 4 and 5 scramble across Buttermilk country, first explored by Eastside climbing pioneer Smoke Blanchard. Your adventure will involve scrambling, climbing, chimneys, jumping, scooting, and hopping your way across granite formations and should only be attempted 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 local’s secret, and some of the most fun you can have on the Eastside! Limited to 8 participants. Note: Saturday’s clinic will cover the first half of the course only. Participants may sign up for one or both clinics.
    New for 2018, Doug Robinson will be hosting a special second part to his popular Smoke’s Rock Course clinic. Typically the clinic timeframe can only cover the first half of the course, so this year Doug will be touring the second half of the course on Sunday afternoon. Smoke's Rock Course is an old-school, class 4 and 5 scramble across Buttermilk country, first explored by Eastside climbing pioneer Smoke Blanchard. Your adventure will involve scrambling, climbing, chimneys, jumping, scooting, and hopping your way across granite formations and should only be attempted by those with adequate climbing skills and those comfortable climbing 4th and easy 5th class without a rope or harness. There is no need to have done the first clinic on Saturday in order to take this second half tour, but it would be helpful and perhaps make this second half more enjoyable. Limited to 8 participants. Note: Sunday’s clinic will cover the second half of the course only. Participants may sign up for one or both clinics. This clinic will meet at 1 pm on Sunday afternoon in the lower parking on Buttermilk Road before you make it to the main parking with the bathrooms.

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.


Event Locations & Times:
Social Hour—Friday, Nov 2 @ 5:30pm: Downtown Bishop (232 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
Films—Friday Nov 2 @ 7:30pm: Bishop Twin Theatre (237 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
After Party—Friday, Nov 2 @ 9:00pm: Downtown Bishop (232 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
Clinics—Saturday, Nov 3 @ 8:00am: Downtown Bishop (232 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
Climber Party—Saturday, Nov 3 @ 4:00pm: Downtown Bishop (232 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
Slideshow—Saturday, Nov 3 @ 8:00pm: Bishop Twin Theatre (237 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)
Volunteer Breakfast—Sunday, Nov 4 @ 8:30am: Downtown Bishop (232 N Main St. Bishop, CA 93514)

$2 at The Pleasant Valley Pit; $10 at Pleasant Valley Campground; free dispersed camping on the Inyo National Forest around the Buttermilks and/or BLM land surrounding the Tablelands.

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

Photos: AAC staff member Jeff Deikis