The Pandemic Comes to Bishop: A Small Climbing Community Struggles Beneath the Weight of COVID-19

Back in 2002 or 2003, when Colorado lingered in the apex of the West Nile Virus epidemic, I decided to head up to the Poudre Canyon, outside of Fort Collins, for a day of bouldering. July was boiling the state dry and I was hunting for cooler temps and fewer crowds, even though I’d known Fort Collins was a vector for the disease. What did I have to worry about? I was a healthy twenty-something. Most people infected didn’t demonstrate symptoms and it passed like a stranger on a crowded sidewalk.

My friend and I quit bouldering after he stopped counting mosquito bites on my back at 50, shaking his head and packing up his pad. For the next three or four days I went to work. I sold crash pads and fit people for climbing shoes. I went to the bar. I hung out with roommates and cooked with them in the kitchen. And then I started feeling pretty bad. One hospital visit later and a headache/body ache for the ages, I tucked into bed for the next 10 days with West Nile fever.

Now, imagine if I’d been contagious? How many people would I have infected during those three or four days? Imagine if I’d been asymptomatic but still transmogrified into some wretched and flailing vector to everyone I touched? How many people would my impertinent, selfish decision have harmed? That would have been pretty awful.

This is the reality we exist in today, struggling to manage and mitigate the novel coronavirus. We’re all potential vectors, at least partly due to the fumbling ineptitude of our governmental response. But I’m not here to point fingers at the government. That doesn’t do any good anymore. I’m here to point my finger at you. At me. At the entire climbing community.

*

Bishop, California hosts some of the finest bouldering in the world, along with a friendly community dependent on visiting climbers. With COVID-19 sweeping into every nook of our nation, however, the town is struggling to limit visiting climbers; so far, unsuccessfully, putting the local population at risk for infection, a bleak prospect for a tiny community hours from the nearest metropolis.

 “The current scene feels like people are on winter or spring break,” said Tammy Wilson, a local climber, skier, restaurant worker, and Volunteer Coordinator for the Flash Foxy Women’s Climbing Festival. “Lots of cars in the parking lots, more people at the boulders than Thanksgiving week. Massive crowds of people camping and in coffee shops and grocery stores.”

Despite mass outreach and the desperate warnings from physicians and health care workers worldwide, climbers from around the country have descended upon Bishop as though a global pandemic were some sort of hall pass from responsibility and magnanimity. These climbers, many of whom laud social services and universal health care and employ progressive social media messaging, have willed themselves to rise above distress and summarily jettisoned the very meaning of community in favor of sending some random V8 on volcanic tuft.

Paula Flakser, a Bishop local and longtime climber/advocate, recently headed out for a run on public lands. “I saw at least 30 vans camped out,” she said, noting she usually sees no more than five on busy weekends along her route. “I, personally, am livid seeing people use this as an opportunity to take a climbing vacation ‘away from it all.’ You are not away from it all. You are just going to a different type of community.”

While every gym in America took down their shingle and schools shuttered to keep their neighbors safe, a disappointing throng of climbers used the public health crisis to plan a road trip. Bishop locals pointed to around 300 cars “parked” on Chalk Bluff Road, at the mouth of the Happy Boulders, last weekend. This is a staggering number on the best of days. During a pandemic, where COVID-19 remains on rock surfaces for hours (at least) and travels through the air via cough and sneeze, it’s patently dangerous.

“The traveling climbing community just doesn’t seem to be taking this seriously,” said Trevor Markel, a former Evolv athlete and Bishop local. “Today we had a shitty weather day and the parking lot at Black Sheep [the local coffee hang] was packed with vans. There are traveling climbers everywhere.”

*

If you’ve spent six minutes in front of a television over the last month, I don’t need to remind you what every virologist and epidemiologist, every healthcare expert and advocate, every doctor and nurse has been pleading. Coronavirus is highly contagious. Not only can it cause a debilitating sickness, but it’s potentially lethal for large swaths of society, both the wizened and those with concurrent health issues. It has the potential to obliterate the very notion of normalcy, as witnessed in Italy and Spain.

Beyond that, an avalanche of newly infected people holds the potential to radically cripple our healthcare infrastructure, which is acutely evident in tiny townships like Bishop. Stephen Muchovej, a local climber and elected member of the City Council, warns against the strain potentially placed on Inyo County. “As great as our local hospital is, it is small, with roughly two-dozen beds in total, four in the ICU. Even a few cases of COVID will place an enormous strain on our awesome healthcare workers.” He continues, “30 percent of our community is over the age of 60. Recent data show that upwards of 15 percent of people infected will require some form of hospitalization, that 5 percent will require a respirator, and that the typical hospital stay is of 14 days. When we fold that into the capacity of our hospital, you can see that if we have roughly 150 cases of the disease in our area in a two-week period, it will severely strain the care our hospital will be able to provide.”

Wilson, echoing everyone I spoke with, added, “Resources are limited. There are zero specialists in the area. We all deal with risk mitigation as climbers, so mitigate risk and please don’t come up here. Stay closer to somewhere that has a more modern ICU.”

And yet, the boulders are packed. Flash Foxy cancelled their popular Women’s Climbing Festival, while the Bishop Climber’s Coalition sent out warnings (though not nearly forceful enough). And yet, not a seat remains at Black Sheep, still open as of their most recent Facebook post, March 14th.

“People from many different places are congregating and mashing their filthy hands onto the same holds that someone just mashed theirs on 30 seconds previously,” said Flakser. “Then those people are flooding coffee shops and restaurants on days like today when the weather is bad. 300 cars at the Happies? Let’s say that’s 600 people in a small canyon. You do the math.”

*

When the Happies grow crowded, of course, many other areas await the influx. “There was a line of cars waiting to get in to the Buttermilks on Saturday and over 40 people crowding the Ice Caves [a small corridor in the Sad Boulders],” said Wilson. “Mammoth Mountain [just north of Bishop] closed its lifts on Saturday and in return an influx of people bombarded the tiny restaurant I work at. The people were pissed off, rude, entitled, and treated everyone with disrespect.”

The locals are frustrated, taking to social media to warn potential visitors away. Markel is despondent. “A lot of locals are pissed at the influx of climbers. People have been trying to instigate some sort of action to address the issue of large groups still congregating. Its shit weather and we have a ton of travelers in town. What does that mean? Climbers are in close quarters to share shelter and anywhere that is still open is flooded. It fucking sucks driving around town seeing a complete disregard for the public health emergency we are experiencing just because people would rather go bouldering. I’m really disappointed in the climbing community right now.”

Flakser frames her concern with a bit of patriotic flare. “America was built on a spirit of individualism and free will, and we’ve put it aside before and we can do it again, but this time we have WiFi. Please go home and hunker down. It’s two to four weeks; we can handle that. Let this little, wild community thrive and have a fighting chance. If you love it here so much then go home. It’s just for a little while.”

Muchovej, the city councilor, drives home the point. “We know this is a hard reality for someone planning to come here for their spring break vacation. But for those of you who have decided to heed the advice from health experts and have postponed your travel plans, we want to thank you for considering visiting us in the first place, and further thank you for making a decision that is right for our community’s health, and hope to see you soon when we have all gotten through this.”

A sincere offering of gratitude goes out to Tammy Wilson, Paula Flakser, Lana Morris, Stephen Muchovej, Trevor Markel, Dennis Lim, and Luke Kinney, who made this story possible.

218 Comments

Naren

As stupid as it sounds, I think local law enforcement needs to step in, county needs to declare a no visitor policy of some sort for a few weeks unless on essential business. Regardless climbers need to step in and stay at home…

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Bryn

I’m curious as to why the local businesses didn’t close their doors to dissuade climbers from gathering in the town. Some of the most vulnerable populations are the small towns in our country, due to their lack of resources. The big cities are already enforcing non-essential business closures. Small towns—especially tourist destinations, should do the same to discourage visitors.

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Josh

Money, greed, reckless behavior, lack of social capital. I think that sums it up

Paul

I agree with you completely. BLM and USFS need to close those climbing areas in our county.

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Fred

How would they enforce it? You can’t believe how understaffed they are now. I’m retired from the U.S. Forest Service, with my last 10 years with them on the Mammoth Ranger District. Even back in the 1980’s we didn’t have sufficient people to enforce a closure such as you propose. Now if any fat existed in the agency it is long gone, the muscle was removed many years ago. So it’s down to the skeleton and the arms and legs have been removed. Each year an additional rib is being taken. The agency is proactive on nearly nothing. The facilities are going unrepaired. Each employee is basically a beggar, looking for partnerships and grants to get done some of the deferred work. But nothing can be a substitute for experienced, educated land managers with authority being on the ground working with people. Sustainable recreation can’t be achieved with facilities or partnerships, we have to have recreation managers, wilderness rangers and their supervisors out in the field.

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john cocktosin

You could start by just asking the climbers to not be self absorbed assholes and go home for the good of our overall society. Our relentless pursuit of achieving arbitrary grades for getting a few more insta followers can wait.

Tina Nacsin

I agree i believe CHP should be at the entrance of Bishop and unless you have a bishop address you must turn around or be escorted out of town. Bishop is one of my most favorite places to visit… i have been traveling thru bishop for 30 years. I am on a first name bases with creekside inn … the Vogue Store and Anna’s..
People please stay home…

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Dan Gunn

I fully expect the local governments and perhaps the military to step in at some point, in some places

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Brent Gray

What a bunch of think-alikes. Chill out and remember that excess toilet paper you stocked up on…SHEESH. What scares me is this many tourist anywhere near my hometown other than a ski resort, not for contagion but for general over use of the landscape. My 1st priority when ‘getting out’ is to get away from other people for a while regardless of a new flue or not.

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Dianne

. Do you realize how absurd that is!!! Skiing or whatever DOES MATTER ….. SHEESH!

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Robbin Cromer-Tyler

As a physician in Bishop that is extremely egocentric. . If you care about people , don’t come

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Robert

Just follow the governors mandate. No sit down restaurants in town. Close the hotels and campgrounds. Take some responsibility for your own protection

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Pr

Exactly! Having visitors is irrelevant if you are maintaining social distancing and that requires space. And the virus doesn’t last out in the sun.

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Rodney

A very typical, entitled, selfish, self centered mindset that is on the rise in this country. It says a lot about your parents, man.
Let me guess, millenial? Trust fund baby?
You’re not free to yell ”FIRE” in a crowded theater.

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ABIV

Cool it on the millennial stuff, all generations have plenty of selfish people ignoring warnings right now, and it looks like the older more conservative people are most likely to ignore the warnings. Although by looking at my FB feed there are equal numbers of Boomers, GenX, and millennial people taking trips right now.

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CJ

Agreed! That generation will spread this virus faster then any other. Selfish as can be!

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Kal

You also have to blame the business staying open for sit-down service. Majority of restaurants in California are take-out or drive-thru only. If you invite customers to sit, that’s what they’re going to do.

Jon Ochotona

No, actually Terrance is a Boomer. All this “blame the Millenals” is utter projection. It’s Boomers selfishness and “free country” bullshit that got us Trump and toilet paper hoarding. Take responsibility for yourself and your generation for once.

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Rodney

Jon, are you blaming the covid19 on Trump and boomers?
And if Terrance is a boomer he can speak for himself, no?
And if he is a boomer he is still has a very typical, entitled, selfish, self centered mindset.

Rick

Uhmm, I’m a Boomer. Did not/Do not/Will not support Trump. And I am out of toilet paper. Let’s be cautious with generalizations. There are people of all ages, races, and political/religious beliefs that just suck. Let’s not be one of them?

carl lukens

Well Trump did not create the virus, but his response to it for months was just the opposite of what was needed. The blood of many already or soon to be dead people is on his hands for his getting rid of the Office of Pandemic Preparedness, and for his inept actions, or lack of action, to prevent its spread into America. He cannot even model proper social distancing. He is a narcissistic moron that will go down in history as the worst President we have ever had.

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Brian Langum

Trump responded to COVID-19 in February with a travel ban to China, and was roundly criticized by democrats for committing a racist act. Furthermore Trump DID NOT get rid of the OPP, this is a total lie! At the very worst, the US response was ahead of the Europeans, whom all you liberals seem to think have the world by the balls. And lets not forget your friends in China either who lie and kept secret the details and extent of the outbreak into the new year. Finally, Trumps response to COVID-19 was light years ahead of Obama/Bidens ham handed handling of H1N1.

Joel koury

Trump was criticized for his China travel ban because it was a typical petty, ill conceived , racist response that had no chance to help because the virus was already in Korea, Japan and Europe. Trump had no plan and golfed and tracked while the virus spread. Fact: his administration eliminated the Office of Pandemic Preparedness. It was his hack political appointees that made the decision. But the buck never stops with this president, it’s always lie, deny and blame someone else. And now Russian bot or Fox News watching “Brian Langum”” is doing it too. Fact and science denying. Trump is responsible for our nation inadequate response for this pandemic, for the unnecessary resulting deaths and now all of us having to shut down our economy to try and stay alive. Put down your partisan crack pipe and look around.

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Bob

Terrance you’re an entitled idiot ad well as all the other dirtbags. You all are bad enough when there’s not a contagious virus going around. Stay home!

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Eric

Funny thing is, we can beat this virus if we don’t allow it to spread. A few weeks of less contact and cleaner hands. Seems like a worthwhile cause. Stay home and limit your social contact. Not that hard really.

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AIDS climber

People are more afraid of being alone than they are of this virus. I’d say the rules will change soon for all these transient young folk. The people you interviewed for this are the biggest whiners/wieners in climbing. Wah wah boo hoo.. y’all ain’t part of my tribe. I’ll be climbing
apocalypse or not. Just don’t get near me and you’ll be fine.
BTW I’m a #doorknoblicker …
#youwhinebetterthanyouclimb
#oldpeoplegohome
#spraylysolnotbeta
#firstcoronavirusascent

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Mia

Great. Just please stay out of the grocery stores, coffee shops, hospitals. Pack a PB & J and keep to yourself. Also, pack out your poop, please.

Kerry

I live in Bishop, Terrance. So does a friend of mine, a wonderful middle-aged guy recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He’s staying with family in the Bay area right now, where he has to travel back and forth to the hospital for chemo. But for months he remained in Bishop, because it took them that long to figure out what he had. He is extremely vulnerable right now, and doubtless there are other people like him still living in Bishop, in compromised health, making a mad early-morning dash to the grocery store to avoid being coughed on.

Terrance, your attitude is beyond irresponsible. Grow up.

Please, young people, do your part. If you love the outdoors (as I do) enjoy it away from other humans right now.

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Sue

Kerry I know that wonderful guy you’re talking about…….. VERY WELL SAID‼️‼️‼️

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Craig

Yes, yes it is. It’s also a country based on cooperation and an understanding of how society works. It means things like, you can drink alcohol at will, but please don’t kill someone when you drive; and, you can own a gun, but please don’t shoot at an elementary school.

Our free country is based on societal cooperation and trust, or else it fails. So please, don’t flood small towns with your risk. The same is happening up here in Truckee, and it’s not awesome.

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Laura

Craig,
Perfectly phrased !!!! We’re a free country, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to endanger lives !!! We can all get through this if we just be considerate humans!

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Get over it

Climbers. The most arrogant group of people except for BASE jumpers.

Leave the east side alone, it’s not like the other side. Go home .

Edward

You are right it is a free country. But freedom has responsibility and that is to respect your fellow citizen. It does not give you the right to endanger other peoples lives by possible infecting them with a virus that you may not even know you have.
Chill out and keep you distance.

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Brenda

Thank you ! It is refreshing to hear that a member of the climbing community will stand up and speak out against this because sometimes it doesn’t feel like they pay that much attention to the entire Community at hand . I welcome this article with gratitude and unity as someone who doesn’t climb and has lived here since birth. We appreciate this amazing piece of the planet and welcome visitors to come when we can all be free from the shadow of this virus. Thank You !

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Ted

And you will replace the entire budget and income and wages of Bishop with what exactly? Love? Do you fathom what taxpayer funded PUBLIC LANDS means? The elected and public officials are the ones to make the call. Not random uniformed NIMBYs online. Or people that moved to the area last year. 1.2 million die in car accidents every year. YOU STOP DRIVING!

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Bruce

Fewer than 50,000 die in car accidents every year. Where’d you come up with 1.2 MILLION? Exaggerate much?

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Jake Sevins

About 35,000 die in the United States each year. About 1.3 million died last year worldwide. The US isn’t the same as the entire world… we’re like 5% of the global population.

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Danny bishop

did you go to school? at all? about 50k from the flu perhaps but 3 million people die each year in the U S of A FROM ALL CAUSES..

Susan Pierce

Close the places where they gather. Sorry Black Sheep but you need to do your part too. With less hangouts maybe they will leave.

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JVM

Thing is here in Alaska you can find remote spots where there are basically no other people. It’s still snow covered of course but .. just climb the unknowns down there, avoid crowds? Socially distant climbing..

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Hermann

It sounds like Bishop needs a local ordinance to decleare a law of a lockdown of all none essentials businesses campgrounds and overnight parking as well as all recreational sights within a radius of 60 miles. Local community wake up and get to work on your politicians. If Moab can do it so can you. It is not that difficult to enforce and it will calm down those freedom seekers. By the wayYosemite is shut down if you have missed that. It is your place take ownership and volunteer to do what is needed.

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Sad Bishop resident

Their vehicle and hiking destination is their home and apparently, many of them made Black Sheep their home.

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Some guy

Yall want to chill on the witch hunt. What about those of us living out of our vehicles in the area?You paint us out to be the devil but I’ve been in bishop since before Corona was an issue. I have no permanent home so where would you like me to go?

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Sierra Wave

I hope all these outsiders can at the very least look for the body of a missing local teen girl Karlie Guse. She went missing a few miles from Sad Boulders! Check out the website Americancrimejournals..com And Missing Karlie Guse on YouTube-Google.

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Gary

Great article. Have you seen the dumpster next to the bathroom on chalk bluff road? Tried to post a picture but was unable. This is what was painted on the lid.

SCFS VICE Fuck vivid-19
Any idea who did this??? Let me guess

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Disgusted

You are not going to point fingers at the goverment, BUT YOU DID!!!! Genius, what would you have done differently?

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under shelter from the storm

I don’t know, taking this virus seriously and stepping up the game on offering widespread testing as opposed to telling the public “it will be gone by April” could have been a good first step.

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Dave McAllister

It’s from Chalk Bluff Road, taken from the trail to the Happies, from last weekend.

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Ben

I’m sure it’s crowded now with coronavirus but I’ve seen that parking lot just as full on any normal Saturday. Not really sure what the solution is.

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Gloria J Phillips

the solution is for people to go home and isolate instead of spreading their viral loa with 100’s of other people. Pretty simple.

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Cyndi

Simple put ,, my friend !!! Everyone should be able to understand !!!!

Monika

The people are the government and some just choose to be vile and ignore the rules and suggestions made by the “goverment” I had a boss who said”what makes you think everyone has common sense” like our president said WE WANT TO SAVE LIVES. Don’t be an idiot! Stay home. Help us get rid of this virus. Please read comments below

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Tragic

Our government knew about this break out in Nov. And sat on it and even called it a Hoax. Low and behold it wasn’t. Had we have taken the precautions then instead of waiting our out come could have been different but we’ll never know will we? So now sit down shut up and do the right thing if not for yourself then for the elderly in your family or your neighbor or the person that sits next to you in church. Lives are being effected by this mess that could have been handled differently had we all used common since and a willingness to work together

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Bill

President Trump did NOT call the virus a hoax. He was referring to the press coverage

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TJ

Respectfully, Trump has so completely bungled and mismanaged the entire mess. First – it was the Dems…then it was the ‘numbers are 15 and I expected them to go down quickly’ Mon it was ‘we have this 100% under control. Yesterday, it was ‘no control has this under control’. Today…we are in a helluva mess. His son Eric on Fox news stated that the Dems hoped millions would die and the Dem candidate would win. Seriously? Seriously. Does ANYONE wonder why everyone is panicked? You kiddin me? Listen to one person and one person only Dr. Fauci. That’s it…

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Adam

At this point, this is a S**T sandwich for whoever is in charge, no matter which party. If you are politicizing this situation, you are not doing Human correctly.

Lance

Sorry dude. Your 100% wrong. Myself and millions of others call this a made hoax. Just to make him look weak. Due your fact checking.

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karen

Please stay home your doctors and nurses went to work today for you and are asking you to stay home for them.

Lance

Sorry dude. Your 100% wrong. Myself and I’m sure many others heard and watched the president make these claims. He did in fact claim that the corona virus is a hoax made up by the fake news and the Democrats.

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Craig

Um, he did indeed call it a hoax. It was meant to totally downplay the viruses risk to the nation. He did exactly that, he referred to it, and news of it, as “nothing to panic about.” As did his close advisor, Newt Gingrich, and the man he just donned with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, told hundreds of thousands of radio listeners that it was no more than the common cold, and that news of it is a deliberate attempt to get Trump out of office. All facts.

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deebritt60

Trump campaign rally Feb 28 2020:

“The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said. “One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. … They tried anything. … And this is their new hoax.”

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Dee Berner

A lot of us were very ill with what we thought was a major cough, hard to breathe, fatigue. We were ill about 2 to 3 weeks. So maybe it was coronavirus after all?
Everyone in town, it seemed, had it

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Susan Pierce

Stop playing the blame game and start taking personal responsibility now!

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Nun Ya

This guy is a another hypocritical liberal… blaming US government but no mention of China, who failed to disclose the virus to the rest of the world until it was too late.

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Dave McAllister

Wow. Reading a lot of these comments is going to kill me way faster than COVID—19. Listen, keep the bullshit personal attacks off my site, mmkay? We’re all under enough stress as it is.

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MHIC

I agree with Dave McAllister.

For what it’s worth…
I was supposed to be in Bishop right now as I write this to celebrate a family members milestone Birthday. I haven’t seen my Fam since early Dec. 2019.
I grew up in Bishop, I’ve lived there multiple times as an adult and family is still there (one of whom is immunocompromised w/ MS).
I made the hard decision to not visit out of care and respect for my Family, Friends and the Small community.
Do the right thing don’t travel, stay local. Put others before yourself.

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Dee Jay

Trump is obviously a scam artist with no soul and no idea what it means to be a person of ‘goodwill. BUT that’s not what this article is about. I think we’d get a lot farther as humans if we stick to the narrow truth here and resist the temptation to hate each other or at least to talk hatefully. It’s very simple. Just ask people to leave your community until the threat has diminished. Thanks.

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Ceaig

All eating places in mammoth are take out
We r all in this together
One weak link will foul us all up
Ps
Cat litter is more important than toilet paper
Cats can’t shower

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laurent

France, Italy, and Spain have formally made climbing illegal right now. They don’t want to have to deal with even one rescue as ALL the health workers are already super stretched. And also, staying home means just that. It does not mean traveling around. it is unfortunate that the message doesn’t stick. Sorry folks but those are not times for vacationing. And as the picture shows, you are very much not original if you end up isolating yourself in a super popular area!At some point, like in Europe, will we need the military to enforce the rules?

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Thower

They did not formally make climbing illegal. That’s a very misleading statement. They made it such that you cannot be outside of your home unless you must, you can be fined for doing so, and climbing is not considered essential. The end result is the same but let’s not stretch the truth.

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Elizabeth Cleland

I am from Bishop where my mom was a nurse at Northern Inyo Hospital for 40 years. They have amazing doctors and nurses but they can only do so much. Please do not put your enjoyment ahead of people’s health and lives. I have family and So many friends that I love that still live in Bishop. Please adhere to the guidelines and not let your selfishness take over. I live in Kansas City and almost everything is closed. Restaurants, bars, Schools,Theaters, museums everything that would gather a number of people in one place. If a city of the size of Kansas City can do it, then certainly the tourists in Bishop can have some consideration For the lives of Bishop’s citizens!! Please think of other people besides yourself. Thank you

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Geoffrey Bush

Except Bishop isn’t closing any bars, restaurants or hotels as of 2 days ago. Why are we supposed to be so concerned for them if they’re not protecting themselves? I get that there shouldn’t be hundreds of cars/people at the bouldering areas during a pandemic – but there NEVER should be that many cars/people there at any time. Hueco Tanks stopped this from happening decades ago. If Bishop shuts down non-essential services then that removes a lot of the danger, and a lot of climbers won’t go there – but Bishop isn’t doing it.

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Bishop local

Actually, the brewery is closed, the schools are closed the coffee shops are closing, the senior centers are closed….seriously.

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Linda

Thank you Elizabeth. I too lived several years in Bishop on the edge of the Buttermilks. We rode horses there, hiked in the area daily, took our family and grandchildren to the hidden falls. If I now saw hundreds of cars backed up to get into the area, and probably trying to short cut through my neighborhood I would be infuriated! We loved Bishop and hope to get back there in the future.

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Susan Pierce

Amen to that. I happen to be a Respiratory Therapist at NIH and although we are all dedicated professionals it’s scary being on the frontline. Please help keep our community safe.

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Dee Jay

Who cares where it started?! Like if it started here it would be any different? Both sides, left and right: Stop the blame game insanity, and just do constructive things to make it better.

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Born in Bishop

Who cares? Apparently the Chinese do since they created it, and exacerbated the whole thing by covering it up, threatening us then blaming us. Yet, you do get upset at not being able to go climb in someone else’s backyard. Lol Go live in China.

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Jim Burns

Great read. I am teaching online through spring break. Also, as an over 60 I appreciated the thoughtful comments from Bishop residents. Stay safe.

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Jmo

Social interaction in the town and amongst boulderers is a real issue. The notion that COVID stays on rock surfaces for hours if not more is misleading though. The amount of UV in sunlight on a typical clear day is shown to kill the vast majority of the virus in just 6 minutes. Not a reason to go boulder. But a point of clarification.

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steve arsenault

All the research states the virus prefers cool, (50-60F. temps). I wouldn’t be keen on jamming my mits inside Super Crack, or any other crack at Indian Creek, where it would remain cool, even on a hot, sunny day. I’m sure Indian Creek is packed with climbers. Just saying.

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David Engel

One key point from that article is this quote “”Ultraviolet light can be a really powerful disinfectant and we get a lot of UVA light from the sun,” says Daniel Kuritzkes an infectious disease expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Direct sunlight can help rapidly diminish infectivity of viruses on surfaces,” he says. ”

Making a rational decision about climbing depends on the number of people congregating at a cliff and the amount of integration needed with the local community. If climbers have to travel to Bishop and use the restaurants and stores, that results in a chance of contamination to the community. However, if small groups of climbers 2 to 6 go out to a seldom used rock, bring their own food and do not use restaurants and stores that is much more acceptable, especially considering the effect of UV on the virus. You can keep some social distance from your climbing buddies even at a crag.

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deebritt60

Agreed but I’d still limit the number of the group to 2. There is no contagion risk from climbers to Bishop if they don’t go there.

j

Are you sure about that? I just read that there isn’t enough evidence to support that UV kills the virus in 6 minutes

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Keith Beck

but the UV doesn’t get into all the cracks and other features that well. The virus can live up to 72 hours on surfaces. Median time floating in aerosol (like n the cafe) ~3 hourr

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Jill

Time for law enforcement to close the roads. Simple enough. It would take 24 hours to round up all the campers and get them off chalk bluff and buttermilk roads.

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Wendy

Would be a shame to have to formally enforce this instead of relying on the honor system. I want to believe that the climbing community is made up of better than average humans. Please prove it !

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Craig Giffen

It would be a shame, but I can see them closing the roads. We had to close our restaurants here in liberal Portland because people just gotta have their weekend brunch and go out to crowded bars at night despite all the warnings.

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Localbarista

I get it about all the outta towners staying here and it sucks. Closing the roads would keep peeps away but what about all the local workers that live out of their vehicle? Especially us service workers that are now employed? As of today i have no job and if they close the roads then no where to stay. I work for Looney Bean and we shut down today. For now I’ll be posted up surviving off sardines and far away from getting or spreading it and am even giving climbing a lil hiatus.
Maybe a solution would be that the local workers can get some kind of pass to display and if you don’t have one then get out. I don’t really have an answer tho

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SadBishopResident

Contact Imaca. They will help you with food. Not sure how the Methodist Church is handling their lunches but they normally serve MWF at noon.

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Local Barista

Awesome I’ll check em out but I’m decently stocked for now. Thank you for the info!

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Lance

Exactly what I was thinking. Camping on public property requires a permit. The police can easily enforce this law. Also these people are putting lots of pressure on our local stores. They can’t hardly keep vital stuff on there shelf’s. The local residents that depend on these stores are suffering. These out of town people are just making it worse. Another thought. Were Are all these illegal campers going to the bathroom?

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Fred

I participated in several and ran one area evacuation due to wildfires. It is not simple and it takes a huge number of people, depending on the topography and number of roads. After it is done, if that is possible, it takes a greater number of people to keep an area closed. It is not simple, ask anyone who has done it.

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Don Feinstein

I live in L.A. Totally love Lone Pine and Bishop. Got married in Independence. Spend about 30 days a year fishing, running, hiking, camping in the areas mentioned. Would hate to see anything bad happen to all the great communities along 395. What a dilemma. Sorry to hear all of this.

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Shaun

Not to diminish the seriousness of the public health crisis, but mortality rates for SARS (approx 10%) are nearly three times that for COVID 19 at its worst (approx 3.4% in a China). I get the analogy, but it’s kind of tenuous when it comes to comparing virulence. There will always be a contingent who will only respond to force over warnings. For that matter, it would be most effective to convince all local businesses that climbers frequent to close doors and get the BLM to enforce temporary closures to make coming to Bishop way less appealing.

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Michelle

China is not COVID 19 at its worst. Look at the death rate for Italy and Spain — it is nearly 50%(!)

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Thower

What are you talking about? Death rate in Italy and Spain is nowhere near 50%. Italy is at about 10%.

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Henry Wallenberg

The reason the local hospital can easily be overloaded is that they have driven away all the good docs and using other less qualified people to provide services. The CEO Kevin S Flanigan has recently been placed on administrative leave while he is investigated for financial incompetence. Go you Mammoth hospital. Easily a much more efficient Hospital than Northern Inyo.
Bishop only exists because of its climbing reputation. So suck it up Bishop!

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Henry Wallenberg Is an Idiot

Lol. Mammoth hospital is smaller than Bishop’s, you entitled ignorant twat nugget. Hope the next time you go to Bishop and break your back falling off heavenly path, you insist of having your ass taken to Mammoth.

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Sierra Smith

Both hospitals are excellent, but Henry is correct. They have forced out quite a few experienced physicians the last few years. The new docs are not so much incompetent as they are inexperienced. Maybe now that there is a looming crisis on hand, the current medical staff will wish they had kept some of those seasoned docs around. What goes around comes around., karma always wins.

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Rita

Sorry, but the best doctors and hospitals in the country are being overloaded by Coronavirus right now thanks to the lack of testing, supplies, and the rate at which this is spreading (US doubling rate right now is approx every 2 days if you follow the Johns Hopkins site). Bishop AND Mammoth together have only 42 inpatient beds. “Expertise” really has nothing to do with this issue at this time. Test result turnaround time is taking up to a week. The sad fact is the individual at the top of the chain who is bad at math and doesn’t want to listen to scientific fact has let the medical community down and put health care workers at increased risk ; I challenge you to find ANY medical institution in the US right now who is saying “Oh, yeah, we’re doing great; got everything we need, no problems here….” People will be safest in their own homes and staying out of the community.

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Homer

Climbers today: some of the most selfish, annoying, and yuppie people on the planet. Climbers used to be cool, what happened??

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Bill Tuck

Let The Climate alone! There out of town and causing no harm. Your business are supposed to be closed and you community people need to stay in Your home’s and shut your foul mouths!!

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Gloria

VERY SHORT SIGHTED of you Bill Tuck. A couple hundred climbers spreading the virus while out socializing on the rocks, and around them, will have quite an impact on the town infrastructure 2 weeks down the road. Let’s all just be kind to each other and do the right thing, which is to go home and isolate!

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Bill Tuck

Let The Climate alone! There out of town and causing no harm. Your business are supposed to be closed and you community people need to stay in Your home’s and shut your foul mouths!! Thanks for your consideration!!

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deebritt60

So why isn’t Bishop closing their hotels and restaurants if they’re so worried? If they’re not doing that (and they’re not as of 2 days ago) and not posting signs around town telling climbers to go home (and they’re not) and not quarantining themselves (and they’re not) then how are we supposed to save them from themselves? Quarantine the town and shut down the local non-essential businesses. Boom. Done. And climbers don’t even have to go to Bishop anyway, they can go through it without stopping. Where were the signs at the Looney Bean and Wilson’s Eastside Sports telling everyone to leave? Why are those places still even open if they’re so panicked about it?

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Localbarista

Go read Looney Beans post on IG. We closed today because we do not want to spread it to ANYONE. Other businesses are following suit and the Rambler already shut its doors days ago. I do agree tho that the town as a whole should implement some type of mandate to close down all walkin restaurants.

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deebritt60

Good. Now tell Holiday Inn, Best Western and all the other hotels/motels too. Those are still open, right? Because no one’s going to take it seriously until the primary public disease vectors are shut down.

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Localbarista

I also have to say that you sound very aggressive about this for not even living here. So please just chill if ur gonna put your 2 cents in because it’s already tense enough. Even if they close the hotels most climbers camp out anyway so it won’t affect them. Also it shouldn’t take shutting down the hotels for anyone to GET IT… common sense should work. Anyways you sound like a salty climber who’s gym got closed and now you have nowhere to go. So please just be quiet and stay away from here.
Signed, Unemployedlocalbarista

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Dave McAllister

Local Barista, first of all I’ve been drinking coffee in Bishop since 2000 (when not at home in Denver, obviously), and I love y’all. The whole town. The whole area. It’s my second home. The person you’re arguing with, I believe, is a troll. Fuck them, good luck, and be well.

deebritt60

Hotels, restaurants, bars and gyms are the primary public disease vectors (along with airports, not a Bishop issue) and it doesn’t matter if climbers stay in the hotels or not. Thousands of other non-locals do, and a lot of them are either sick or carriers. Bishop’s economy is based on tourism and you have to keep the tourists out. Everything but the hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations has to shut down, or it’ll just get way worse. Pretending climbers staying away will make any difference is a joke until the non-essential business close – which WILL keep the climbers (and everyone else) away. It’ll wreck the local economy but that’s the cards we’ve all been dealt.

And I did live there in the early 90’s during the winter, before the bouldering plague took over. Now the Milks are just an outdoor version of the gyms in LA. Hueco Tanks stopped boulderers from overrunning it decades ago. Needs to start happening in Bishop too.

RandomPig

This just shows how selfish the climbing community on the west coast have become
I’ve been climbing for 30 years and it used to be different. Now the average climber is a self centered loud mouth thinking they are better than the rest of the world.
What I read here is nothing more than I already expected.

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Mike Lehman

Another thing to address is…why are your restaurants, bars and other establishments that climbers use still open. ( I’m guessing…the almighty dollar). You mentioned having contact with local officials…encourage them to shut these places down for awhile. It doesn’t do any real good complaining about these selfish climbers (and I agree they are selfish and inconsiderate). Unless they read your post and are remorseful.

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Geoffrey Bush

“Mammoth Mountain [just north of Bishop] closed its lifts on Saturday and in return an influx of people bombarded the tiny restaurant I work at. The people were pissed off, rude, entitled, and treated everyone with disrespect.”

THE RESTAURANT SHOULDN’T BE OPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE

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Tim

I for one am shocked that the people who have been bumming in the parking lot of climbing gyms would turn out to be so self centered that they wouldn’t avoid climbing areas during a pandemic

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Geo

Bishop needs to implement a “shelter in place”; closing down restaurants, coffee-shops, limiting hours at grocery stores, etc. JUST long enough to INCONVENIENCE those inconsiderate enough to endanger the community, so they’ll go home….and not severely impact local businesses!

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Geoffrey Bush

The restaurants, hotels, bars etc are endangering the community too, and if they’re not closed then it won’t make any difference. If your contagion model of keeping tourists out actually worked, then why are non-tourist destinations infected? Tourism might accelerate the infection rate, but that’s it. It’ll still happen. The only thing that will actually work is self-quarantines – meaning closure of non-essential businesses among other measures, and meaning non-essentials will be severely impacted. They have to close. Sorry.

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Cat

This is heartbreaking to read. As a climber who used to live in a small town that was often stressed by visitors I can empathize. We need to view the whole situation as a responsibility to each others health. Climbing is never going to be more important than folks lives. Do we want to look back and remember that we over-reacted or could have done much more. Time will decide.

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Todd Vogel

I do want to say that it is very easy to maintain social distance in my store in Bishop, as it hasn’t been busy. Should it get busy, which seems unlikely given the moment, we’ll enforce a maximum number of people in the building at a time, and that number will be small. Today I had to venture out and do some grocery shopping. What a shit show! Long lines at S&F, Manor wasn’t much better. Crowded aisles at both, and hoarding behavior.

My point is, might we be misdirecting some angst towards visiting climbers? Sure, I agree – they should stay home. But if they are careful with social distancing, recreating outdoors isn’t really the problem, and even doing some shopping isn’t the problem if done cautiously. The people I saw shopping were locals, by and large.

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deebritt60

“Visiting climbers stay away – but if you do come, shop at my store!”

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Rita

“Should it get busy, which seems unlikely given the moment, we’ll enforce a maximum number of people in the building at a time, and that number will be small. ” Um, please enforce that they don’t touch anything as well. . …. LOL. Karen Schwartz shuttered, maybe you should too.

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Rich P.

Best to self police and voluntarily disperse. If the BLM or actual LE gets involved, does a temp closure or whatever, you can bet it will soon become permanent or at the very least, extremely regulated. Might already be too late. I love being able to camp easily and hassle free at many areas along the 395. Please don’t screw it up!

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Mikey

Climbing community=fed govt=state govt=China coverup=Italy denial=on and on…
that is why it is called ‘novel’. No blame, no shame, it’s everywhere anyway, just wash hands and practice social distancing and we’ll weather this. I’m actually pretty impressed this last 24 hrs in the states finally doing their job, after all pandemic response is city, then county, then state. Feds are only good for bureaucrats and money, in that order. They are a lumbering incompetent self serving distant blob no matter your partisan matrix.

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Daniel Gunn

You seem to have a narrow and quite possibly uninformed view of the federal government. I
have been in for 16 years and have served to secure and manage federal lands for recreation uses. Please share with the group how you have contributed to federal land management, stewardship and maintaining open access to federal lands

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nancy

be careful what you ask for…I need to use our outdoor recreation areas for my mental, physical and emotional health. Asking authorities to close our public lands is not what we want at all! If there are regulations that apply to these areas, enforce them…ie. cleanliness, areas of usage, etc….don’t make new regulations. we are over regulated already

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Ted

You are free to stay home and mind your own business. If the locals want to refuse customers that’s their right. Not yours. 1.3 million die in car accidents yearly so stop driving.

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Dave McAllister

I think you’ll find the locals AND the officials of Bishop will have some news for you very soon. Keep safe on the roads.

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Alice

Great but only feds have control of fed land. Not county, state or town. Supremacy clause of constitution. And thanks for destroying the Bishop economy.

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Dave McAllister

I don’t believe every small town in America pleading with people to not recreate in their towns (Orangeville, Moab, Bishop, Aspen, Eagle, etc) is a joyful celebration of economy destroying. I think its locals trying to protect their population, from cancer surviving twenty-somethings to grandparents on immuno-suppressants. I wish you the best.

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Scott Eagan

Dave, I believe you found the biggest drama queens in all of Bishop to interview for this post. . .

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Darryl

,@ted. Approx 40,000 people a year die in the US in car crashes. Look it up….but so what. This novel disease that no one has any immunity to will take out between 1 and 2 mil people in the US alone in the next 12 months and crater the economy and many peoples job and lives in the process. To put 1 mil deaths in perspective that is close to double American dead in WW2. Stay home, stay healthy and get educated PLEASE

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Ted

That’s a guess Daryl. Italy lost 3,000 out of 60 million. That equates to 18,000 here. Less then Normal Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672. And people don’t get normal flu vaccines. See the inconsistency?!

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Mel

@Ted: “People don’t get normal flu vaccines”
That’s absurd. You don’t even bother to do a basic Google search before you spout off your *opinions* 35million people got the flu last year. 35,000 died. That’s 0.01% mortality.
47% of adults > 18 got vaccinated: That’s 106 million people.
73% of kids between the age of 6mo-18 got vaccinated. That’s 54 million.
So 160 million people got vaccinated.

Covid 19. Estimated mortality. 2.3%.
If 35million people got it like the flu last year. 800,000 people die.

Say an additional 160million people get this because there’s no vaccine and no effective treatment – you do the math – oh – that’s right you don’t do simple math it seems –

That’s 36 million deaths.

Stay home. #socialdistancing
This is not hard to understand.

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Scott Eagan

Am I the only climber that’s actually excited to see society collapse? Please, everyone come visit Bishop, please ignore all the medical professionals advice. Humans have been on this planet long enough.

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Dan Gunn

My mother, father, grandmother, sister and wife have not been here long enough in my opinion so please do what you are able to limit the spread of this virus. If you are volunteering to remove yourself to realize your goal then that’s your choice.

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Emmylou

And yet Bishop is opening its doors to Mule Days in a little over 60 days….
30,000 more visitors!

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Roam

I live near Bishop. My solution is simple – if your drivers license doesn’t say Bishop or a community in the eastern Sierra or nearby in NV, you are denied all services, including health, food, etc. Excluding gas. We want you to be able to leave easily!

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deebritt60

Yeah but the Bishop hotels are still open as of this morning – go to their websites. It is also entirely possible to climb in the ORG, stay much further away than 6 feet from others because of the size of the Gorge and the spacing if the routes, and not enter Bishop other than to drive through it without stopping except to get gas, which is easily done without spreading germs. But Bishop has to do its part too – close all non-essentials businesses like hotels, bars and restaurants which are the primary public disease vectors in Bishop. If they’re not doing that then climbers staying away, who can completely avoid the town of Bishop anyway, won’t make any difference.

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Ted

Then you are quarantined and can’t leave home EVER. Or we can put you in internment camp MANZANAR. Sound fun?

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Andrea Pucci

This pandemic is a fact that many people are not willing to acknowledge, and like all ignorance, ignoring relative cause and effect – impacts the entire community.

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Rod Samson

I love BISHOP 7 been there many times to stay with friends …… I live in AUSTRALIA. I hope they don’t get inundated with out of towners creating a health risk.

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LGP

This reminds me of the beaches in Florida during spring break. We locals do not want that here…..If this is the way the climbers are going to behave then I guess we’ll need to put tall barbed wire fences up around all the climbing spots. I wish all of you would quit thinking about your fun and think about what will happen to your folks and grandfolks when you go back to them after running out of money……..They could easily die. Don’t do that to our long time residents here. We care about the environment and the people for the long haul. Oh, and the same with the hot tubs. Last week 60 cars along the road. In the end, I guess the town just plain needs to quit advertising the area.

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Yeah dude

If you put up bar wire I’ll cut it down don’t make empty threats you have 0 right.

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Anon

Public land is managed by public agencies for its owner-the public. Chambers of commerce and tourism boards have spent 100 years promoting tourism. And in a few months they will again. Non retired folks require incomes or they will have to move. Which is the goal, lower real estate prices so the NIMBYS can buy cheap property.

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Brent Gray

Wow. This comment section went from hysterical to hilarious in a heart beat, a wheeze and a cough. Let’s all chill out a bit….most of us WILL SURVIVE, lol. Good Grief, if your panicked just Netflix and CHILL with some canned chilly beans.

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Dan Gunn

I assume that most of “us” refers to the US population? Is “most of us” not dying good enough for you? Are there actions you can or are willing to take that would possibly prevent others from dying? If so, please act on them:) Take care

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Ted

China had a few thousand die out of 1.2 BILLION. And those that does are at risk of many other causes. If you do the math and stats you’ll see this is statistically not a major killer. People will ignore all other preventable causes of death, like healthy lifestyle choices and accidents and drowning, and focus on one less deadly cause. That’s irrational and hysterical ! Realize that destroying an economy also puts people at risk when they become poor, unemployed or homeless !

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Deanna Bame-Nicklin

I was born and raised in Bishop and my children are still there. From what I understand the bars and coffee shops are closed as well as the schools. There really aren’t that many restaurants in town and I’m fairly certain they will also close down if that is what is recommended by the CDC. Northern Inyo Hospital is a very small hospital that is barely large enough to take care of the locals should this virus hit Bishop and all the small communities surrounding it, like Chalfant, Rovana, Benton, ect. Please don’t cause unnecessary risk to the locals there. Quite a few of the residents in the area are seniors.

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James Maxwell

Bishop’s Mayor should really force Black Sheep and other non-essential businesses to close. That’s what other cities and towns that are in serious danger are doing. As hard as that is, it would really help limit the spread because you wouldn’t have all those people congregating in the same room.

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deebritt60

It’s like Jaws with the mayor refusing to close the beaches until it’s too late because the local businesses will lose money, meanwhile the shark is chowing down…the focus of this article on visiting climbers is completely wrong, it should be on local businesses refusing to close which is a far greater danger.

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Ben dover

Well theres plenty of blm land out there and climbing areas away from this craziness, for the peraons who live out of a van…

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Ryan Winkle chairman of Arizona’s Asian Chamber of Commerce met with negative feedback after he posted an invitation through instagram to a “small dinner” to discuss how to help Asian-American eateries devastated by the coronavirus | BCN

[…] Flakser, the woman who lost her bartending job, said she was upset by the hundreds of people who flocked to her tiny hometown of Bishop, California, from Los Angeles and other large cities to vacation the minute schools shut down. The 42-year-old climber posted angry messages about the crowds on Facebook and was quoted in an online climbing magazine, Thundercling. […]

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deebritt60

Another thing that just doesn’t make sense – the locals are telling everyone to stay away because of the limited medical resources of the town. OK, fine – but if the resources are limited, that means the town should be on quarantined lockdown – and NOTHING like that is happening. The hotels are still open, for God’s sake! They’re trying to pretend everything will be manageable if climbers stay away – meanwhile there’s hundreds of travelers per day saying at their hotels and motels. Why, if they’re so worried about outsiders creating overload on their limited medical resources?

Climbers saying away from Bishop will help – but Bishop has to do its part too, right?

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JP

I’ve lived and travelled to Bishop many times, and my family and I were just on an extended trip there that we cut short due to covid-19. We arrived before the virus really took hold in the US, and left right after the weekend mentioned here. Yes – the climbing was crowded – but, honestly it seemed no more so than a regular weekend, and a number of parts to this article strikes me as extremely exaggerated.

For example:
“Bishop locals pointed to around 300 cars ‘parked’ on Chalk Bluff Road, at the mouth of the Happy Boulders, last weekend”

The photo you’ve included shows ~30-40 cars, yet you cite 10 times that being parked there. Maybe the cars extend past the edge of the photo, but 10x that? I’ve never seen that many cars on chalk bluff, and have a hard time believing this to be true.

Additionally:
“There was a line of cars waiting to get in to the Buttermilks on Saturday and over 40 people crowding the Ice Caves”

How is this possibly true? I honestly don’t know how many cars it would take to form a line to the milks, but anyone who has been there should have a hard time believing that ever happened. Same for the ice caves…40 people in there? Please, stick with the facts.

You come from a good place with the concerns in this article are real, but you do yourself and our community a real disservice by “citing” false, unproven, or misleading numbers (alternative facts?).

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Andrey

First, my heart and my best wishes to the Bishop community from afar. The concerns mentioned in the article are entirely reasonable: a small community such as Bishop can succumb to an outbreak all too easily. Everyone, including climbers, should practice social distancing and shelter in whatever place they have.

I’m lucky to have a family home to stay in, and a stocked grocery store nearby to keep me fed. As I am a remote-work-from-my-van climber, I would like to offer what would be my thoughts had I been on the road right now – and no family to take me back in. Most likely, I would have wanted to make my way to a (normally and nominally) climber-friendly community such as Bishop or Moab to wait out the virus.

Which brings me to my point: what about the climbers for whom there is nowhere else to go? I would like to think that climbers can be responsible with their public health habits, and can contribute to the community. For one, this has been exemplified in the Joes Valley film at the most recent Reel Rock. For example, I could see myself volunteering at the hospital, or Forest Service, or any other community need, really, if waiting out the virus in Bishop. I am sure many others would do as well. (You also wouldn’t find me at the Happies. At most, I’d rope solo some obscure and chossy trad, where I would be certain to not see anyone for at least the day.)

So here is my plea: I hope we (climbers + residents) can help each other through this dangerous and challenging time.

And just to be clear, those with a home should go home and stay there. Businesses should go into delivery/takeout mode, hotels should close, etc, etc. No questions there.

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Doug mathews

This whole thread is a reflection on the entire climbing community, and only reinforces the public perception of us being in titled, spoiled, selfish people. Sorry but it’s true . .. the virus knows no political party, doesn’t care what age you are, and is one small mutation away from widespread death. Let’s get smart.

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„Rușine de carantină”: SUA navighează pe noi norme sociale radicale - Hub News

[…] Flakser, femeia care și-a pierdut slujba de barman, a spus că este supărată de sutele de oameni care s-au aflat în orașul ei minuscul Bishop, California, din Los Angeles și din alte orașe mari, pentru a-și petrece vacanța în minutele în care școlile au fost închise. Alpinistul în vârstă de 42 de ani a postat pe Facebook mesaje furioase despre mulțimi și a fost citat într-o revistă de alpinism online, Thundercling. […]

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Bob

I understand everyone’s frustrations, and while I, who live in Pasadena, drive to the Eastern Sierra about 20 times a year to ski, hike and backpack (i’m not a climber), I can not help but conclude that much of your popularity and tourism is your own fault. I’m 50, started backpacking in the 80s, and until recently the Eastern Sierra was not the destination it is today. But so many of you climbers (most whom I consider the hipsters of the outdoor world) have spent so much time advertising your cool adventures on social media that this was inevitable. Many of you who consider yourself locals, how long have you actually lived in the Eastern Sierra communities? Do you, who have lived there for a few years, at most, have more right to visit the Eastern Sierra than a life-long Californian? I understand it’s not about rights – it’s about not taxing the health care system of a small community. But these are the things you should have considered before projecting your cool new lifestyle. If I do travel there, I will have the common decency to not use any services in the communities, nor practice any risky activities that would require help from emergency services.

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Rita

Hey Bob! How’s it going?! It seems like you haven’t been paying attention for the past 9 days, or, maybe your head is somewhere else …. but anywhooo, I thought you should know that there is a CALIFORNIA STATE-MANDATED BAN on non-essential travel until further notice. This might be difficult to comprehend, but what “non-essential” means is that you shouldn’t be traveling to Bishop or anywhere else in the Eastern Sierra or for that matter, anywhere outside of Pasadena, to recreate until this coronavirus thingy gets under control. Be a good citizen, K ? You’re Welcome !

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Jeffrey D. Everhard

Would not mind doing a loop throughLake L, Glacier, the Winds, Moab, GTNP, Lassen, Tahoe, Mammoth/Owens Gorge, Red Rocks, Telluride, Boulder. But, darn, there is the awkward little issue of a global pandemic which be the end of the world as we know it. We all are going to have to suck it up. Besides, crowds defeat the whole point of climbing. Add coronavirus smeared on the holds and deposited in the bush and I would as soon hunker down. One more mutation and this bug could wipe out the young and the strong. There are already multiple strains. Climbers are resilient we can contribute positively if we honestly recognize and transcend our freaking vanities and thrill-seking recklessness. Out of respect for the Bishop locals I intend to #stayhome

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