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  • Bruce Willey

Climbing Engagement in the Buttermilk, Bishop, CA

One of the reasons I give climber discounts is they don't cancel if the weather might be a little iffy. Had been emailing back and forth with Marla and David for quite a few months before we met in person at Pine Creek for climbing. The plan was to get in some pitches and make some pictures. But as I was driving up the road numerous lightening strikes were going off and it began to rain in earnest. I found them hunkered down in the back of their car in the parking lot, all smiles and sharing a beer.


So we decided to head over to the other side of Mt. Tom to the Buttermilk where perhaps we might get some clearing. We dropped into Bishop to pick up my dog, Birkie, so he wouldn't get pissed at me when he smelled where I had come from when I got home and headed back into the wilds again. Birkie got rattled by a well-behaved rattlesnake which we were unable to see in the thick brush.


David and Marla had just bought a rack of cams and some nuts and were eager to try out trad climbing. So they warmed up on a sport climb (yes there are quality rope climbs in the Buttermilk) while I took pics of them leading it. The weather started moving in by the time the trad gear came out of the bag. Nevertheless, Marla boldly hopped on the sharp end of the rope and did her first trad lead, thunder booming overhead. By the time David followed it was raining enough to make my off camera strobe a bit nervous.


Thankfully it cleared enough for us to make some more traditional engagement pictures in the gathering storm and beautiful, diffused light.


So much looking forward to their wedding at June Lake in October. And they've promised to come out again in the coming months so we can share a rope together.














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