Learn to Climb and Backpack!

climbing at south lakeEastside Sports, in partnership with the Bishop Rotary Club and Columbia Sportswear, is proud to offer the Eastern Sierra Youth Outdoor program. This program provides opportunities for youth of our area ages 12 - 17 to participate in a 5 day long climbing and backpacking camp June 25-29, 2016. Thanks to a generous grant from Columbia and Eastside Sports there is no cost to participate (though donations to the Bishop Rotary Club are accepted to help endow next year's program). 

The program is led and facilitated by experienced outdoor education professionals with many years of experience. Todd Vogel, Eastside Sports co - owner, has spent over 25 years working as a professional mountain guide and outdoor educator. All other staff are people with similar experience.

Skills taught on the program include: 

What to bring on a hike, rock climbing equipment use, movement skills and rappelling; packing a pack; map reading and navigation; care of self, group, equipment and the environment; introduction to outdoor leadership; campsite selection and tent use, water purification, backcountry cooking and sanitation. All participants will receive a certificate of completion. 

No experience necessary! 

If you live in the Bishop area (Tom's Place, Swall Meadows, Bishop, Big Pine, etc) and are between the ages of 12 to 17 (inclusive) you are invited to apply to the program. 26 participants will be selected from all applicants with priority going to those who have never tried climbing or backpacking. The application period is open starting February 15 and closes June 10, sooner if the program fills up. 

What the program is not:

This is not a program for adjudicated youth, or youth with significant behavioral issues. 

Proposed Itinerary:

Day 1, June 25, 2016: The program will start at a group campground, site still to be arranged, up Bishop Creek, at 1pm (you should of already had lunch). We will split into the cohort age groups and go over the equipment list and do a final pack check and issue any equipment that is still needed. We will go for an afternoon hike, and do some other activities to get to know each other. We'll return for dinner and an evening program. (Participants will have meal, clean up and other chores assigned each day).

Day 2, June 26, 2016: This is the rock climbing day. We will head up to the climbing site at the end of the road at South Lake, and spend the day there learning how to climb, belay, and rappel. 

Days 3 - 5, June 27 - 28, 2016: We will spend the morning of the third day going over the basics of backpacking: meal selection, packing a pack, pace, and navigation. We'll hike 3 to 5 miles to our backcountry camp - each age cohort will have a separate itinerary - and get settled in. Day 4 we will spend part of the day doing various service projects and exploring the area. Day 5 we'll be able to go for a half day hike prior to retracing our steps and returning to the front country. The last two hours of the program will be spent cleaning and sorting any borrowed equipment and debriefing the program. 

Volunteer opportunities:

 We have some needs for parents and other community members to help out: 

  • -We will need help with transportation on the climbing day, to and from the campsite. 
  • -We will also need help with transportation on the days we enter and exit the backcountry. This would involve picking us up at our campsite and taking us to the trailhead, and vice versa at the end. 
  • -For those with advanced recreational climbing experience: working alongside our trained experts we'll need some help carrying gear to and from the site and help supervising rope teams on the climbing day. 

To apply:

taking a break to read the mapComplete the following forms and return to esyouthoutdoors@gmail.com or send or drop off at Eastside Sports, attn: youth outdoors, 224 North Main St., Bishop, CA 93514. Questions? Call Todd at 760-920-0774. 

Application form (use this one if filling it out on a computer)

Application form (use this one if printing and filling out by hand)


Equipment list

On the equipment needed: we have much of it available to lend. Also, we have a small budget available to help participants round up what is needed. No one will be turned away because they cannot get the appropriate equipment. But please print the equipment list out and take a look and let us know ASAP what items you might need for the trip.