Skin Diver is a hundred and ten foot rock formation in The Buttermilks area of Bishop Creek west of the town of Bishop California.
The Buttermilks, or as the locals have nick named it “The Milks,” is a major bouldering area in America that has gone through an evolutionary change the past ten years. As you walk around the countless rounded top boulders, you hear English spoken in many international accents. All this may be due to the close connection brought about by the jet age and YouTube. There seems to be no boundries to how far climbers are willing to go to get on a new rock. The Buttermilks seems to provide that beautifully.
Bishop Creek and The Buttermilks, however, have more to offer than just boulders. The Buttermilks offers a variety of rock formations for rock climbers who are tired of landing on crash-pads all day long. Skin Diver is one such formation. It provides bolted face climbing as well as moderate cracks. Skin Diver, along with a dozen neighboring formations such as Windy Wall
, will give climbers the diversion they want from difficult and dynamic boulder problems. This formation is within a few minutes hiking distance of the parking area, and the base is clean and flat.
The views of the high Sierras are simply breathtaking. You are looking across a vast landscape to Mount Emerson, Mount Humphreys, Base Mountain and Mount Tom.
Climbs of Skin Diver
Skin Diver offers climbs ranging from a 5.7 chimney to a 10d bolted face climb. The rock is rough textured granite. Your feet will be happy sticking to the rock, but your hands will cry for some kind of covering such as climbing tape. If you have climbed in Joshua Tree, expect the rock to be more punishing on your skin here. Skin Diver is southeast facing and in the sun most of the day, hence an ideal formation to climb on during the cooler seasons.
|A||Beach Party, 10a, 6 bolts, gear to 3.5"|
|B||Quit While You're Ahead, 10b, 6 bolts, gear to 3.5|
|C||Freedom of Choice, 10d, bolts and gear|
|D||Approach Chimney, 5.7 Runout|
|E||My Beach, My Wave, 10b, crack, gear to 3.5"|
|F||Weekend Warrior, 10a, bolts and gear to 3.5"|
With a huge flux of climbers from out of town, I have noticed many tents and unsightly campsites in the parking areas. This practice has been tolerated by locals and authorities, so far. These climbers use the surounding areas, and sometimes the base of boulder problems, for going to the bathroom. I am afraid this kind of abuse will eventually impact this beautiful area. In addition, it may result in restriction on access.
There are many campgrounds nearby that can be used. Do your best to use the campgrounds, at least for extended stays.
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping
How To Get There
From the town of Bishop California drive seven miles on Highway 168, also known as Line Street, to its intersection with Buttermilk Road. Take this dirt road for 3.5 miles. To your right you will see many boulders of all sizes. These are the famous Buttermilks Boulders. There ia a large parking area on your right and before you get to the largest boulder. This is The Frontside parking, and where you park for Skin Diver. Looking up the hill from the parking area you can easily identify Skin Diver. The rock is about a ten minute walk up the hill from here.
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