Bishop was born at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 30, 1955, to John Bishop, a soldier, and Geraldine (née Han) Bishop. He studied physical therapy at Montana State University and the University of Montana. He worked at his family's equipment rental business in Butte, Montana.
Bishop achieved recognition in the climbing community for his ascents of many exceptionally demanding routes, such as the Eiger peak in the Bernese Alps. However, much of his climbing efforts were concentrated in the Teton Range in the northwestern United States. He made several ascents of the many peaks in this range, many of them by free solo climbing and some during winter.
Bishop was a prominent climbing guide in the Tetons and published a handbook for climbers in the area, Butte's Climbing Guide.
During an attempt to free solo the Grand Traverse climbing route of the Grand Teton peak and several other peaks within a single day, Bishop fell to his death on July 16, 2004; his body was found after a two-day search. Many of his fellow climbers expressed surprise at his unlikely death on a mountain with which he had extensive experience and was well within his skill range. His ashes were scattered in the Grand Tetons.
Bishop was an avid long-distance cyclist and competed in the Race Across America cycling contest in 1993 and 2000. He also had studied taekwondo in Japan for two years and was a third-degree black belt in the sport.
- "Fall on Rock, Climbing Alone and Unroped, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, The Grand Traverse". publications.americanalpineclub.org.
- 07/26/2004, the Standard Staff -. "Dwight Bishop, 48".
- Bishop, Dwight (28 March 1996). "Butte's Climbing Guide". Dwight R. Bishop – via Amazon.