Welcome to Idaho! it smells like french fries through our entire state... enjoy your stay. Also enjoy the worlds CLEANEST most sanitary outhouses. For real, theyre world class!
The time spent in Idaho actually encompasses much more than the climbing we did at Castle Rock and the City of Rocks but those two places were definitely highlights. To be more specific: Stef got back on the sharp end and led again, we did our first multi-pitch route, our first two-rope rappell, I led two more climbs rated 5.10a-both on bolts, but still...and I led a bunch of awesome easier climbs on gear and felt really good throughout (not sketched, fearful of immanent death etc)
There was more that encompassed our time in the potato state, both before and after the climbing, but it is of less interest.
We initially had a number of small-time places to check out when we entered Idaho after being disappointed with Yellowstone. Pocatello had some wonderfully user friendly roadside crags alongside an inviting, shaded park-- with drive up access. This proved to be a pleasant diversion but lasted no more than a day as the routes were all short and camping in town was not to be had.
There was another couple of crags located to the east near Idaho Falls but the roads are labeled in a less-than-helpful manner and
so all hope of finding them vanished like a fart in the wind. Also there was Massacre Rocks a huge basalt (black volcanic rock) sort climbing venue along the Snake River near American Falls which soon fell in the ratings when it became apparent that it required a track vehicle to access it, that the rock would be hot enough to grill steaks on and that it was home to about a million rattlesnakes....
So at the risk of running too far ahead of schedule we headed for City Of Rocks, a worldwide climbing destination with just enough isolation to allow you savor your various experiences. The rocks are monolithic granite masses with interesting erosion patters which are very favorable to eclectic little holds for hands and feet. The name of this pace was given during the days of the Oregon Trail, when the pioneers traveling west used it as a major rest spot and a junction between several converging trails. There are several bits of graffitti left from the 19th century passers by which we got a chance to enjoy and subsequently share as photos. The nature of the rock formations themselves are very powerful and spread out-
Bread Loaves- City of Rocks
like a slice of climber heaven...this is right near where we camped and we climbed a lot here
looming and ominous like prehistoric stone beings loitering about the busy comings and goings of recreationalists with apathy.
Initially it looked like we would fall prey to the state campground services, replete with nightly fees and threats of famines and pestilence should you choose to poach an site out away from the long arm of the law. After spending nearly a day driving about searching for loopholes, we discovered just that- a bit of BLM land which was near some of the best climbing in the park and away from all the crowds. The one drawback was that we had to compete with some bovine hoodlums who seemed very much inclined to poaching our site out from under us. Additionally we were woken up by what sounded like a huge pack of Coyotes yipping and carrying on. I guess they caught some unlucky bastard stealing a few square feet of land from the government. That said, they were really annoying, like a buzzing alarm clock.
We stayed for a week, climbed a lot and met a lot of really nice people. The people from Idaho were very friendly and we even climbed next to a couple who was
Day one, climb one. An ugly, scary 5.5 chimney. Named for the fact that its really easy or the fact that its hard to protect...
from Oneonta on a trip like we were. Nearby the City of Rocks is another less widely known venue called Castle Rocks. We are told that it fills up on the weekends but we went there during the week and it was almost deserted. The rock formations are very similar to those at the City but there are several massive central buttresses with smaller pinnacles, spires and other formations scattered in the outlying areas. Castle (on the main buttress) has many long moderate routes that are all bolted. We elected to climb one of these-- "Fruit Pie" in honor of Bobby Hills, a 5.7 with absolutely WONDERFUL climbing for two long pitches. Some of the bolts are a bit run out but that did not bother us in the least since the climbing was really solid and the holds were awesome. Later we visited some of the outlying, smaller formations where we took pictures of ancient petroglyphs and climbed some more (away from the petroglyphs, of course). Here Stef onsighted a 5.5 and broke back into leading which was very exciting. I got on a short 10a that was supposed to have 4 bolts but actually had 3.
Adolescent Homosapien 5.7
This was the first route, second day. Real easy, real fun- not scary till the last couple of moves but even then, not too bad.
City and Castle Rocks are only about 10 minutes apart and are both outstanding areas to climb at. Definitely a place I will return to.
We headed out the following Friday for Craters of the Moon- a national volcanic park that turned out to be more akin to charcoal briquettes in hell-- hot, and ugly. Rather than spend money to camp in this festering crock of aesthetic unpleasantness, we elected to head for Riggins Idaho, a small, higher elevation limestone sport climbing venue that we envisioned being a lot like Wild Iris. In reality it was as hot as a convection oven and the climbing was difficult to locate. So again, we bailed and headed for Eureka Montana, where I had been told there was good lakeside climbing and free camping. Sounds too good to be true? Sure was. The rock was loose shale and it was also...very very hot...
So, we decided to turn towards Canada, and possibly head for Alaska where we could find some cool weather...
Tot: 0.376s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 14; qc: 64; dbt: 0.1728s; 1; m:apollo w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 6.5mb