Growing up I remember the long drives from Salt Lake to Boise, Soda Springs or other small Idaho towns to visit my mom’s family. Much of the scenery seemed the same to my young mind. Flat plains with rolling hills covered in the light dusty greenery of sagebrush and violent upheavals of volcanic rock, black and rich brown, heat waves rippling off the surface. Trip after trip it seemed the same. Then one summer trip shortly after my father died when I was 13 we headed out for a two week trip driving through the central part of Idaho and up into the panhandle and everything changed. Thick forests of pines with craggy mountains of granite and limestone carved by crystal clear rivers and filled with large trout. Deer and elk would feed in my relative’s gardens. It was then I realized that for all I knew of Idaho, I still knew nothing, and so it is with climbing.
The City of Rocks is as synonymous with Idaho as is the clichéd Idaho potato, but look a little deeper and there is so much more. Walls of European limestone, towering granite cliffs and many flavors of basalt pepper the state hidden away in local obscurity. Many of these areas were developed shortly after the climbing boom at the City of Rocks, some existing for over 20 years with little to no traffic other than the local wildlife. Some of this is because of the remoteness, some from a veil of secrecy but most seems to be from a lack of information.
For the last 8 years I have been continually exploring these little know areas with friends and am excited for others to finally catch a small glimpse of some of these great spots. Rock & Ice #192 Features 10 pages of photos from my visits to Idaho and a great introduction from the quietly prolific Dean Lords.