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.
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.
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.
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.
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.