We arrived as just as the sunset swiftly approached the City of Rocks National Preserve in Idaho. After a three hour drive from Salt Lake City, UT through primarily wide expanses of farm land, you finally turn the corner and suddenly come upon this so-called ‘Silent City ‘.
The City of Rocks is a bit out of the way, down dirt roads where the land is sparsely populated, but that doesn’t stop the hundreds of climbers, campers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and school children from paying the place a visit. With plenty of campsites and a plethora of exciting possibilities for exploration, it’s definitely worth the visit.
Spires of granite rise up above you and surround you in the boulders scattered across the land. It reminded me a little bit of Joshua Tree, sans the desert and joshua trees.
One of the granite arches, “The Window Arch” in the reserve.
Awesome sunset from the top of the giant rocks… our campsite was just below here.
Our primary mission was to get in some rock climbing. We spend two nights camping and the days clambering up the granite rocks. I got to try out some classic climbs on the so-called ‘Elephant Rock’, including my first crack climb, The Colombian Crack.
The so-called “Elephant Rock”… Can you see why?
Here’s everyone going up the Colombian Crack on Elephant Rock
Climbing up the Elephant Rock.
I also did a multi-pitch, Theater of Shadows, for the first time. Admittedly, it didn’t carry as much significance for me as the guys I was with because I actually haven’t been climbing that long so I haven’t had time for the build-up of how “cool” it is to do. The route was pretty simple and the 30 minute hike was the most difficult part. There was nothing that could beat the view though and from the top you could look out over the entire valley. None of the guys trusted me to climb safely with my camera equipment so I was denied taking any photos from the top–still pretty annoyed about it–or getting to document the craziest repel we had to do to get down (it was only my third one).
The Theater of Shadows is a 4-pitch climb that takes you to the thumb on the left of the highest peak.
That was it for this trip to the City of Rocks. I’m sure we’ll be back sometime soon for further exploring and climbing… and next time I’ll make sure no one tells me when or when I can’t bring my camera.