City of Rocks

Published 2009-09-03

Kevin Brumbach into the goods on Crack of Doom

Occasionally I have some time to leave the gentle embrace of Bozeman. This Summer has had an unusual amount of precipitation making such departures even more mandatory. The City Rocks in southern Idaho is a classic American rock climbing mecca that has eluded my many rock climbing tours. With 30% chance of precipitation in the forecast for the third weekend in a row, Kevin’s suggestion of a 6 hour drive to climb for the weekend seemed reasonable. Through sales office banter Kyle was able evoke my plan and quickly invited himself along. I was quietly elated knowing that a third would be a welcome rest for leader or belayer.

Friday afternoon Kyle and I left to meet Kevin down in the City with plenty of PBR and elk steaks. No self respecting Montanan will part with either of these two elements. Dark set in and so did the potato fields which continue to haunt us with their bleak and unexciting scenery. Eventually we hit unpaved roads missed turns, double backed, and eventually found our way to “the city”.

There is nothing like arriving somewhere in the dark, then when to wake with the soft light of dawn unveiling a whole new landscape. Saturday morning was no different, it is obvious why this place is called the City of Rocks. Towers, houses and condominiums of exquisite granite cover the landscape.

Kevin on the tips section of Crack of Doom

Kevin had mentioned this climb called “Crack of Doom”. After climbing for 15 years now I have realized that any climb with that sort of name is best left untouched. Anything associated with pain or discomfort or even lack of sleep should be left to the phenoms. But we set towards the climb and the ridiculously quick approach ~5 mins put us at the base.

Patrick digging the Crack of Doom

Kevin has the need for a Thin Slice

The next day we had set our eyes and my “coon eyes” from lack of sunscreen on some of the classics in the shade behind Bath Rock. These fantastic lines contained great climbing on cool features.

Patrick getting into the business on Gemini

Delicious crimps on Gemini

Are the holds better if you wear a nice shirt? Kevin Brumbach thinks so …

Of course later that day the wind picked up and thunderheads began to form. It was a sign. My burned face was also a sign that Mother Potato no longer wanted us in Southern Idaho. We jumped into the Silverado and headed our cold loving butts back to Bozeman in hopes that this Fall might be an Indian Summer.

Photos by Kyle Christenson