Carpooling to the Crag

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It’s midnight on the snow covered 395 and your turbo charged climbing partner hits repeat on the Justin Bieber song… again.

Bishop, Joshua Tree, Las Vegas, even the local climbing areas like Yosemite, Sonora, and Tahoe reside a few hours from the Bay Area and the Touchstone climbing gyms. The climbing in California requires a serious amount of driving. To avoid co-pilot homicide when Bieber sings the same song for the hundredth time, here is a helpful survival guide.

Hash out the details before you leave

Carpooling to the crag puts wear and tear on the driver’s vehicle. Make sure to compensate the driver. Some climbers ignore the cost of gas for the sake of having a partner. Other times, climbers want a pound of blood for a ride to the crag. Discuss gas terms and compensation prior to leaving. Also, on longer drives discuss how the driving will be split.

Be careful driving after climbing.

An epic unplanned bivy in Yosemite, a long day of bouldering, or a last pitch in the dusk can tire even the strongest hardman. The physical exertion of climbing makes late night driving difficult. Leave early and be prepared. Posting Instagram pictures or updating Facebook while driving significantly increases the chances of an accident. Don’t do it.

Know the route.

The drive to Bishop can be made in a variety of ways with different roads being closed due to snow during the winter months. The highways through Tahoe can be covered in ice and a long southern approach may need to be made. Watch the weather on the roads before leaving. Leaving during certain hours of the day can lead to traffic in different areas.

You don’t need to talk the whole time.

Spending a lot of time with anyone can be challenging. Make sure to have personal time for yourself and allow your partner their alone time.

Have fun.

The most important part of any climbing trip means having fun! Listen to an interesting podcast. Entertain your driver. Take breaks at interesting pit stops! Sure, the crag is your destination, but be sure to enjoy the ride.