It’s a hard life to give up – life on the road. It was amazing how quickly we fell into a routine. A vague idea of what was next. Checking the weather once a week and the atlas once a minute. Sitting in the bus again, passenger seat swiveled round to face Robyn reading by headlamp, a low gurgle of our rice on the Coleman stove, I feel like we are back on the road.

Technically we ARE on the road. Technically we ARE sleeping in a rad-ass 1978 Volkswagen Bus in a locals gravel pit littered with 12 gauge shotgun shells and blasted cardboard. Technically our mission now, tonight, and tomorrow revolves around beer, sleep and climbing. So in a sense we are on a mini trip. It’s so easy to return form.

One of many cool arches and contorted shapes along the trail.

The City of Rocks has had its heyday in the climbing scene. Ask anyone over 30 and they will surely know where it is, the classic routes, and first ascensionists. Ask your 19-year-old neighbor kid? Not so sure anymore. What I can tell you is that there are few landscapes on the planet that can compare to its beauty.

Lots of these guys dotting the landscape.

Peaking through a window on Flaming Rock.

There is a nice 4th class scramble up the west side of Bath Rock to a beautiful lunch spot with a view.

Lunch atop Bath Rock.

Historically The City of Rocks marked a significant landmark along the California Trail and the Kelton Stage, which connected the booming mining town of Boise with the railroad in Kelton, Utah. Described by immigrants and gold rushers as “Steeple Rocks” and “The Silent City” The City of Rocks is now protected as a National Reserve and well maintained by the National Park Service.

NPS photo of wagons nearing The City.

In 1852, ~52,000 people passed through the City of Rocks on their way to the California goldfields. Many of them wrote their names here in axel grease as they passed through.

Our first trip to The City a few years back left an impression of a run-out, difficult and sandbagged sport climbing area that was more focused on gear routes and summiting than casual day cragging. This time around we are leaving convinced we got on some of the best sport routes of the year.

On our to-do list was this awesome line which I was able to send 2nd go despite a less than efficient opening sequence.

A stout and pumpy overhang gets you going up Deez Guys 5.10a before a beautiful featured face and the typical 20 feet of 5.9 runout to the anchors.

The best 5.10c we have ever done? It might be. For those of you who have climbed Breakfast Burrito at the Red River Gorge, there is a similar crux move here, an exposed exit to some steep holds and a mantle onto a ledge. Awesome route and lots more to do on this wall.

With the temperatures dipping into the 20’s at night our weekends left at The City this season are slowly dwindling. By chasing sun, I think we should be able to squeeze a few more trips here into early November before retiring to our winter crag at Dierkes Lake. After this weekend, I honestly can’t wait to return. The City is a jewel of Idaho and the Intermountain West, and if it’s not on your radar for a visit, it should be.