Type: Trad, 130 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Christian Griffith and Henry Lester, 1982
Page Views: 10,841 total · 52/month
Shared By: Richard M. Wright on Aug 28, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

21 Opinions

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closure Details


While Bishop Crack is a two pitch route, the first pitch gets my vote as the best single pitch 5.11 crack in Colorado. Several years ago we headed up to The Bishop with our minds full of sending the whole damn unit, however, there is nothing like having eyes far bigger than our stomachs.

Bishop Crack starts left of center on the perfectly vertical East face, a brilliant yellow wall in the morning sun. A wide 5.8 squeeze gets the juices flowing for perhaps 30 ft. This seques into a fingers thin crack for a bit and then promptly widens up to butt and hips dimension for 15 ft of 5.10 wrestling. I thought that the hardest move was in getting out of the wide crack and onto the thin fingers (read two joints) crack. What follows is brilliant crack climbing for 50 ft on perfect stone. Wires and small cams will sew it up. Look for some fairly good edges on either side of the crack, for the most part you don't ever really have to jam the toes except for a few places where it really lets you turn on the motor.

A sling belay will be found at 100 ft from which it is possible to rap. For the true hard men, a hope we had long abondoned after 100 ft of relentless jams, the second pitch fires up on more of the same in a perfectly vertical crack that gets thinner and thinner the higher you go. From our escape stance below the upper 5.12 section, it appeared that the edges found on P1 had all but disappeared. Even doing only the first pitch, Bishop Crack ticks in as a brilliant climb.


Bring a full rack of wires, slew of thin camming gear, and several wide camming units.
Brian Milhaupt
Golden, CO
Brian Milhaupt   Golden, CO
1-7-03 There is only one 1/4" bolt at the end of pitch one. I equalized with a nut, but who knows how long that will last. Come prepared to drill, leave gear, or climb and/or aid 5.12. Jan 10, 2003
Ben F
Benfield, Kolorado
Ben F   Benfield, Kolorado
Richard's assessment of P1 is good. Dump anything larger than a 2.5 Friend/1 Camalot before you leave the slot. From the top of the slot to the anchors Brian mentioned (still there), the crack is mostly #3 Metoulius in size (bring several). This made for great locks for my fingers and the rest of the climbing felt more like relentless 10 to 10+ (size matters). Keep in mind that you've just grunted out of a 10- slot and hiked for at least 1/2 hr. to get to the Bishop. Maybe that's included in the rating? Afterwards, you can do another lap on this sexy finger crack and/or do at least P1 of Flounder (solid 10) to the right about 80 ft.. Jan 28, 2003
Brian Milhaupt
Golden, CO
Brian Milhaupt   Golden, CO
Ben, I agree that there didn't seem to be anything harder than 5.10. The finger locks and the good feet Richard mentions reminded me a lot of Carol's crack at D-tower. Feb 1, 2003
Robert Stetler
Robert Stetler  
Last I checked the "anchor" had one horrible bolt and 3 good stoppers. It can be rapped off.

I urge those who aspire to do the second pitch to try to fire it ground up, a standard rope is long enough and it feels wonderful to try. I disagree with setting belays anywhere but at the very end of a rope or at a nataral stance, neither of these cases are true with the bishop.

It's a big bad long one pitch climb. Feb 22, 2005
SirVato   Boulder
I think the midway anchor is jingus and needs to come out.
It's a shitty 1/4 inch bolt that's bent and a nut.
If you're up there to climb The Bishop, you need to take it to the top. If you can't free it, it's really easy to pull on gear to the top.
Take plenty of green and yellow Aliens, and you'll be fine.
The finger locks through the crux are surprisingly solid!!
Feb 20, 2007
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
"I think the midway anchor is jingus and needs to come out.
It's a shitty 1/4 inch bolt that's bent and a nut."

Was the bolt original material? If so, replace it not remove it. For my own part, I belayed off of that anchor and was happy to have it. If it is a retro-bolt, then it should be removed. Feb 20, 2007
The bolt's been there since at least '73 back when this was an aid route. The reason it's a free route is all those pins we used to whack into it :-). I remember huffing up the chimney with this absurd amout of iron hanging off me and being so glad to be able to clip the bolt without having to drive a pin while half-wedged in the chimney. Made it a hell of a lot easier to pass the belayer, too. I'd swear there were two bolts back then - split the route into 3 pitches. Feb 20, 2007
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
I agree with Stetler that this is a great one pitch route. Who cares what people have done before? You can cop a marginal rest, bruising your feet, before the upper section. I took a couple of 40 ft falls on purple metolius going for the redpoint. Most of the upper section, but not all, had good locks for me. My fingers are average for a climber of 30 years. Nov 17, 2009
Golden, CO
Monty   Golden, CO  
Bring a #5 to protect the first chimney. I was very happy to have it. After that, it's fingers forever!

As for the midway anchor, it was in great shape. Definitely agree that climbing the route in one pitch is the way to go, but that definitely takes a lot of gear. May 21, 2011
Peter Yakovchuk
Tempe, AZ
Peter Yakovchuk   Tempe, AZ
You most probably don't need a #6 Camalot for the chimney. Oct 20, 2012
Shaun Reed
Santa Barbara
Shaun Reed   Santa Barbara
One of the best splitters in Colorado!

The landowner Jim came up to visit while we were climbing, and he is a really nice guy. He told us The Bishop is actually on his property and that he is cool with climbers up there. HOWEVER, he did mention that the approach beta in Haas' new South Platte guide is NOT correct! He wants climbers to take the trail up to the Dome and traverse across from there. We did both ways, and hiking past the Dome doesn't seem much longer. So please respect the landowner and keep access to this beautiful rock open

For people doing it all as one pitch, you definitely don't need the #5 Camalot (small gear can be had in the back).

You also don't need anything smaller than a green Alien/blue Metolius sized piece on the entire route.

Geat Beta: 4 green Aliens, 4 yellow Aliens, 2 #0.5, 1 #1, 1 #2 Camalots, and maybe an extra piece for the chimney.


Shaun and Joe Jan 27, 2013
Lisa Montgomery
Golden, CO
Lisa Montgomery   Golden, CO
You can place a bomber #5 Camalot in excellent rock for the OW/chimney bit. It was the best piece I got in there. I don't think any other big gear is necessary. Oct 11, 2013
Mike Carrington
Mike Carrington   Centenntial
I was up at Bishop Crack last week, and someone has put a new stainless steel bolt in next to the old crappy one. The new bolt is missing its hanger. I would like to know what people think about the new bolt and the idea of putting a proper anchor in place. Jan 11, 2015
Dave Vuono
Reno, NV
Dave Vuono   Reno, NV
I removed the anchor and hanger last fall/winter, because the entire Bishop Crack widened slightly from a freeze/thaw, and the manky fixed wires, which were already crushed, didn't fit anymore (don't worry the climb barely changed, although a purple C3 doesn't fit at the crux anymore). I personally feel that since Jim, the landowner, was not psyched on the anchor in the first place that it be removed. It's was also junky looking with the old black tat that was there (not to mention unsafe). I didn't bash the bolt in because someone may want to add another anchor bolt in the future although it's probably better to leave it as is, since we don't want to compromise access. If you're doing the 5.11 section only, you'll have to build a TR anchor and then aid to the top. You can get off the route with a 60 by rapping off climber's left from the top to a large ledge, or by bringing up a tagline. Sep 16, 2015
Mike Carrington
Mike Carrington   Centenntial
Why would you take the hanger off the bolt? Oct 4, 2015
A 90m rope gets you down from the anchor and makes a nice TR.

An 80m will actually work as well, if you build an anchor atop the finger crack. The bolted anchor is about 6m higher, on a low angled slab. Just have the last person lead up from the anchor you built to the bolted anchor, and then make two raps (hitting the intermediate bolted station to climber's left).

-Scott Oct 15, 2015
Scott, a 70m rope is adequate to TR if you downclimb the beginning ramp. This also requires soloing about 15' to get to a spot to tie in. Jun 6, 2016
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
Wow! What an amazing finger crack. It has rebuffed me twice now on lead. The last time I got to within 15 feet of the top (if that), and then my forearms were so numb from pump I couldn't make another move. It seems like each move is slightly harder than the last. The top 40-50 feet takes bomber blue Master Cams/TCUs.

We cleaned the tat and the fixed nut a couple weekends ago. We didn't touch the black-pained stainless steel bolt. I believe that this is a healthy compromise between the landowner, who doesn't want unsightly junk on the rock, and climbers who want to bail just when the finger crack starts to get demanding. I have included a few points justifying our decision, some of which are reiterations of points already mentioned.

- Jim Priest has repeatedly requested that the tat be removed. We are climbing on his property.
- The tat makes the route very unaesthetic and detracts from the climbing experience of the many climbers wishing to climb it as one pitch.
- Climbers wishing to lead only the first half of the finger crack can easily aid to the top.
- Climbers can build a toprope anchor off the single bolt and a cam. The last climber can either rap off the single, bomber 3/8" stainless steel bolt in high quality granite or lead/aid to the top.
- The route can be led with a 60m rope, and one can rap to the station climber's left of Bishop's finger crack in 2 raps.
- The route can be led with an 80m rope, a toprope anchor can be set up at the tope of the crack, and then lowered from. The last climber simply leads to the fixed line extension of the anchor, rapping to the ground.
- One can rap from the top of the rock to the ground with an 80m rope or 2 50m ropes.

You can feel free to put more tat on the bolt, and I will feel free to remove it. Before you do that, however, please make sure you carefully read the aforementioned points. Feb 28, 2017