The Big View of the City One of many pinnacles

Idaho Rock Climbing

City of Rocks

City of Rocks is a fur piece from Cheyenne, so with gasoline
and time being so precious, I don't get out there much. I've been
there twice so far: first in 1994, as an overnight stop on a journey
to Washington State; second, on a dedicated climbing trip in 2003.
I would love to get out there more often.

Ah. The Minivan Days.

A brief sampling
of the climbing
8 May 1994

Alissa was 5 months pregnant at the time.

Bouldering in
Five-Tennies®
8 May 1994

We had camped beside the van in a tent the night before.

Oh Boy! It's an
Idaho hand crack!
8 May 1994

We were on our way to a wedding in Washington.

Alissa was getting
anxious to leave.
8 May 1994

We were too cheap to get a hotel room.

"We have to go,"
she said. Awww...
8 May 1994

In September of 2003, I met Squeak in Rock Springs where he was finishing up
a conference, and we dragged his ghetto camper to Almo, Idaho. This is where
the pavement ends and the West begins, as they say. The camper was a little
out-of-place amongst the campground's international array of tentage, but the
weather was showing its teeth at night. One blustery morning, I was sipping hot
coffee in my underwear, the camper getting nudged a bit by the wind. The gas
heater was purring away. I observed our friendly Canadian neighbors at their tent
site, dressed for Everest, huddled over their tiny cooker on the picnic table, trying
desperately to shield it from the brutal gale. I rapped loudly on the window to get
their attention. They looked up. I waved and raised my cup, a Good Morning
salutation. I smiled. They flipped me off in unison just as Greg farted.
It was pure magic. All seemed right with the world.

On Bumblie Rock

Greg leading on
Mystery Bolter (9)
12 September 2003

Walkabout away from people without headaches

Outback of the
City of Rocks
13 September 2003

We went in search of 'Cruel Shoes.'

Feet pounding dust
looking for a route
13 September 2003

This is a great route...

Greg's lead on
Raindance (7)
13 September 2003

It's a fine, long route. An entire rope length.

The homestretch on
Raindance (7)
13 September 2003

Back at camp, we finished off the single malt...

Squeak feels better,
buys me a drink...
13 September 2003

Riding in the rattle-van

In search of remote
Stienfell's Dome
14 September 2003

It's so loud in the van that you can't chit-chat

We were up for
a longer route
14 September 2003

From North Fork Overlook

Stienfell's Dome
& Little Thumb (right)
14 September 2003

600 feet high, the Thumb...

Jackson's Thumb
is on the left
14 September 2003

I had the lack of foresight to bring along a fine bottle of Scottish single malt whiskey. Turned out to be a bad idea,
because we reveled late into the evening our first night there. Yes, we drank too much cleaning product. Our first morning
on the rocks was painful and minimally productive. We limped around Bumblie Rock, the shortest walk we could manage, gladly
waiting in line to climb just a handful of routes. We were only marginally better the following day, taking a walkabout in search of
a route which we found, unfortunately, occupied by a couple having an epic. We slunk away,
unwilling to offer any sort of heroic measure. And unable to as well, really.

Our Canadian neighbors, two guys on a long road trip, joined us for grilled halibut one night. They filled us in on Canadian fish regulations
as Greg & I stuffed our faces with my brother-in-law's tasty Alaskan bounty.We offered them the rest of the scotch, but they declined:

"Oh! Scotch! Oh, no thank you! You guys must be alcoholics!"

The following morning, a trio of women showed up at their campsite. Greg, who can be quite a social butterfly, was immediately
at odds with one of the girls, through no fault of his own. She had a toxic, angry personality, and from our site next door,
we could hear her dragging the whole group into a dark, contrary mood. Some folks just have a gift for that sort of thing.

We parked an hour away from this crag

Jackson's Thumb
with climbers on top
14 September 2003

From the North Fork Overlook

Granite Mtn (7689 ft)
high on the left
14 September 2003

Makes you think that maybe there are omens in everything

Almo Creek native
hunting over head
14 September 2003

Sorry I went cheap, in retrospect

Test photo #1,
AOL digital camera
14 September 2003

Bumpkin & Squeak, below Theater of Shadows.

Team self portrait,
before the climb
14 September 2003

A couple of days of shorter routes had us ready to try something longer, and easy.
Theater of Shadows (II, 5.7) is such a route on Jackson's Thumb, a satellite of the giant
Stienfell's Dome, which is over a half mile North of the remote North Fork Overlook trailhead. There
are up to 18 bolts on each of the route's four long pitches. Jackson's Thumb is 600 feet high.

Wonders why I clipped every bolt!

Greg coming up
the first pitch
14 September 2003

Talking to himself, as usual...

A few feet later,
on Jackson's Thumb
14 September 2003

Squeak visualizing salmon steaks...

Almost to the
first belay
14 September 2003

A quick exchange of gear, and he's off!

Squeak away on
the second pitch
14 September 2003

Greg missed two bolts, he was moving so fast.

Skipping clips on
Theater of Shadows
14 September 2003

You're correct: this shot was posed!

Third pitch of
Theater of Shadows
14 September 2003

I stopped to photograph Squeak as he was belaying me to the top.

Last belay on
Jackson's Thumb
14 September 2003

This one is a bit steep...

1st of two rappels
into the descent gulley
14 September 2003

This is a panorama of 3 stitched photos

No more rappels.
Scramble down now...
14 September 2003

Stienfells is another couple of hundred feet higher still.

Squeak gazing up
at Stienfell's Dome
14 September 2003

I took the first & third pitches, while Greg took the second & fourth. The crux was in the first
fifty feet of the route. After that, it was the joy of movement. Squeak said it was over-protected,
and as I recall, he skipped a few bolts now & then on his leads. Not me, though. I savored every
nugget of 3/8" steel I clipped into. From the summit of Jackson's Thumb, we rappeled into the
gulley between our summit and the higher Stienfells Dome (two 80-foot abseils). It's an easy
3rd-class scramble down to the base of the Thumb after that. We collected our stuff and hiked
back down the hill to the Rattle Van. It was time to eat. Tomorrow, we would drive home.

I'm no artist . That much is obvious.

Study in lighting
from the descent gulley
14 September 2003

Funny how squatty it gets when you're beneath it.

Foreshortened view
of the climbing route
14 September 2003

It's a long way from Alaska. Thanks, Glenn!

Squeak & sacrificial
salmon steaks
14 September 2003

We still had all of his tools & parts inside...

The diesel-powered
plumber's van
14 September 2003

Obsessive Compulsive Re-order

Playing with toys...
er, sorting gear!!
14 September 2003

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