Wednesday, July 28, 2010

City of Cows

Our first major stop on the way back east was City of Rocks in Idaho. There were definitely some places in Oregon we could have stopped, but we decided to drive right on through and save those for another trip. We did stop just outside of Boise though, for a quick one day session of bouldering at Reynold's Creek. It was a cool little local spot with some nice problems. We didn't take many pictures of the bouldering, but here is Kristal enjoying some refreshing watermellon in the heat, with the campground boulders in the background.

We spent six day in City of Rocks, which is similar to Joshua Tree in it's formations.

It's made up of Granite though, so it's a lot nicer on the skin. It's also filled with life, the most notable of which are cattle. Not a day went by that we were climbing and couldn't hear the sweet lowing of cattle in the background. There were also a tonne of rodents. Ground squirrels, gophers and mice all made regular appearances at our campsite. We were prepared for them this time though, and put into practice our Rodent Relocation Program. Here is Kristal manning the trap.

No, we did not actually relocate any rodents, but we needed something to do to while away the sweltering afternoons. Since the camping is right in the thick of the climbing, it was easy to do all of our climbing in the mornings and evenings, and siesta during the heat of day. We actually caught a few ground squirrels, some more than once. They didn't seem very smart.

The climbing at City of Rocks is a mix of trad and sport, mostly single pitch, with a few multi pitch routes thrown in for good measure. It was fun to jump on some harder sport routes again, but we spent most of our time climbing some really nice single pitch trad routes. They also have some super easy, ridiculously tightly bolted, sport routes. Here's me at the top of Stienfell's Dome after we climbed Sinocranium, a 600 foot, 5 pitch bolted 5.8.

One of the goals for our stay was to get to the very top of the Morning Glory Spire, pictured on the left below.

Our first attempt was from the back, on an easy 3 pitch sport route. Unfortunately our easy '5.10d' sport route was a bit sandbagged (don't even get me started on the quality of the guidebook), and by the time we had made it to the top of the second pitch we were running out of daylight, it was cold, the wind was howling, and we'd had enough aid climbing. For the first time on the trip we abandoned a route and rapped down.

Thankfully there was another route up, on the side, a super fun 5.8 trad line that ended up being the last climb of our stay. It was a great way to finish our visit. Kristal had no problem standing at the very top of the spire, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Here I am about three feet away, feeling thoroughly uncomfortable from the exposure.

City of Rocks is a pretty cool place to visit, even just to hang out.

Just take the guidebook with a grain of salt. If it says the sport route has 15 bolts it might actually have 18, if it says you can rap down the route you might need two ropes to actually get to the ground and if it says the route is well protected you might be in for 50 feet of runout face climbing.


  1. wow dude this place to chill looks wicked!

  2. Yup, it's pretty cool. It definitely makes our list of places to come back to.