Living up to their namesake, the Happies are one of the most spectacular bouldering destinations in California. Grab a few friends and head out for a rockin' good time! 

Nestled in the Volcanic Tablelands near the Eastern Sierras, this geological gem of a bouldering spot might be easily bypassed by someone who isn't looking for it. However, if it is on your destination list, the Happies are not hard to find.  Located only about 10 minutes from the small town of Bishop, CA, the Happies are a great place to get outside and climb some rocks, no matter what your skill level. 

The area surrounding Bishop hosts several world-renown climbing spots, namely the Buttermilks, the Happies and the Sads.  The easy accessibility and the large variety of routes that the Happies offer allows it to cater to people who are new to outdoor climbing and to those who have been enjoying the sport for years. 

It is recommended, however, that climbers have about six months of at least indoor climbing experience.  Situations can get tricky on the rock and it is helpful to know basic bouldering movements to guide your send. 

The road to the Happies is fairly well marked and can be found via Google maps. There is usually adequate parking, depending on the time of year and time of day that you head out (I would recommend going in the autumn or winter when the weather is cooler and the rocks aren't too hot). From the parking lot, head up the mountain starting at the trailhead across from the trail sign at the parking lot (you'll see it, don't worry). After about a half mile uphill, you'll get to the canyon that is filled with boulders of all sizes.

Once you get there, it's time to explore. There is a main trail weaving right through the middle of the canyon with smaller trails leading off toward various boulders.  As far as finding routes to climb, I would recommend bringing along a Bishop bouldering guide book or going with someone who has been there before. There is also a great app called Mountain Project that lists all the climbs in hundreds of different bouldering areas and has reviews on the rankings and current conditions of the routes. The directions to the climbs, however, are pretty vague and you should be sure to download the bouldering area before getting there since reception is spotty. If none of these options work out, you can always ask fellow climbers there! It is a relatively popular area and more often than not, climbers are more than willing to give advice and directions.

To make a weekend out of it, we camped in one of the sites along Buttermilk Road, near where the Buttermilk bouldering area is located. There is also camping available at Pleasant Valley Pit Campground, "The Pit."

There is so much to do in this area, you really cannot go wrong. Whether you choose to climb here in the Happies, in the Sads or the Buttermilks, you will not be disappointed. Also the view all around is crazy beautiful, so when you top out on one of the boulders, don't forget to stop for a moment and enjoy it. Happy climbing!

Pack List

  • Climbing shoes
  • Crash pad(s) - if you go with more people, you can pool your pads together and make a safer landing spot! Plus, they're great to sleep on at night time
  • Chalk and chalk bag
  • Approach shoes, or other comfortable shoes that have decent traction
  • Water
  • Food
  • Sunscreen
  • Camping gear (sleeping bag/pad, tent, etc.) if staying overnight
  • (Optional) Bishop bouldering guide book
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Activities Chillin, Camping, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Autumn, Winter
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby


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