Trip Report: Rock Climb - City of Rocks

Rock Climb - City of Rocks
By Frank Bouchard
CLIMBING 06/16/2023 MOD

On the southern edge of the state of Idaho lies an unusual city. Rather than skyscrapers of steel, this city boasts towers of granite. Instead of a metro or freeway, you'll find a rope and harness the most efficient way of reaching points of interest. It's a city that's always welcoming to visitors, so in mid-June a group of sixteen club members decided to spend an extended weekend at the serene and majestic City of Rocks.

We arrived on Friday night and camped at City of Rocks Camp and Climb. This new campground just outside of Almo is pretty bare bones, but it's cheap and the staff is friendly. Despite having accidentally set up in the wrong spot and having way more tents and vehicles than we had paid for, the owner let it all slide and said to enjoy our stay. It even included a free early morning wake up call in the sounds of either whooping cranes or cows mooing to ensure that nobody sleeps in and misses out on valuable climbing time.

On Saturday morning we began our vertical adventures at Geowatt and Lion's Head crags. After a 1.5 mile hike to the crags, the entire group spent most of the day on a range of sport routes rated from 5.7 to 5.10a. By late afternoon we were done and congregated back at camp for a fire and dinner party.

Sunday the group split into smaller teams. One went climbing at Elephant Rock. A second hiked the 6-mile City of Rocks loop trail. And a third took a side trip into the Raft River Mountains for a long run. It was cloudy and cold with powerful gusts of wind all morning, making our activities a challenge. But by afternoon it cleared out and was pleasant again. We once again congregated around a fire for dinner and revelry.

Monday morning we packed up camp and headed to Tracy's General store, the longest continually operating store in Idaho, for an ice cream breakfast. Then we went back into City of Rocks for one last climb at Bath Wall. We also provided aid to a hiker who had scrambled up a treacherous rock slope and were too nervous to get down on their own. From there we headed home.

City of Rocks has an overwhelming number of routes and could easily occupy any climber for weeks. The scenery is spectacular, even if you don't climb and the crowds are surprisingly sparse.

View Photo Album