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Elevation: 4,314 ft 1,315 m
GPS: 42.6752, -112.99824
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Shared By: Andy Laakmann on Nov 13, 2006
Admins: Mike Engle, Eric Bluemn
Warning Access Issue: 1) As of August 17, 2023, all forms of rock climbing on the BLM managed portion of Massacre Rocks is CLOSED. Rock climbing on Idaho State Land at Massacre remains OPEN. 2) Do not trespass on private 'short cut' farming roads into Massacre. DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

ACCESS UPDATE August 2023:

As of August 17, 2023, all forms of rock climbing on the BLM managed portion of Massacre Rocks is prohibited and CLOSED.  All closed crags/walls that are in the Mountain Project database are designated CLOSED. Note that there are many crags and climbs that are not in the Mountain Project database that are affected by the closure.  Approximately 500 established routes are permanently closed to climbing, soloing or bouldering.

IMPORTANT: All the crags and climbs on Idaho State Land at Massacre Rocks remain OPEN including popular crags/walls like All American, Rural Wall, Thelma and Louise, South of the Border, Eagle Wall, Echo Point, Funny Business, Disney Walls, Lighting Bolt Wall, Red Light District, Love Connection, Choss Factory, Dance Wall, Gang Fight, Game Show, King Wall, Dragon's Den, Summer Wall, Wall of Zen, and the Morgue.  Approximately 250 established climbing routes remain unaffected and are open to all climbing.  Nearby Teddy Bear Cove is mostly unaffected by the closure as the majority of the climbs there are also on Idaho State Land.

Traditional vehicle access to Massacre Rocks, as described in Mountain Project, are unaffected by the closure and remain open to access the public Idaho State Lands at Massacre Rocks.

With regards to the Massacre BLM/BOR climbing closure, The Bureau of Land Management released  the Cedar Fields Record of Decision (ROD) and Plan Amendment which enacts the following:

  1. Remove the Cedar Fields SRMA designation.
  2. Designate approximately an additional 1,300 acres as Closed to OHV use; the remaining 2,640 acres of BLM land in the project area would continue to be managed as Limited OHV use, and 0 acres as Open.
  3. Prohibit all forms of rock climbing on 3,846 acres, including the District and two additional BLM parcels within Lake Channel Canyon.
  4. Prohibit campfires within 50 feet of cliff faces.
  5. Prohibit burning of local wood below the rim.
  6. Manage approximately ¼ mile of cliff face located on BLM lands on the east side of Lake Channel for sport, traditional, and bouldering-climbing routes.
  7. Remove existing rock climbing bolts in the District and repair damage to the rock.

More information can be found here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/36660/570

Although the details of the implementation and enforcement are still being worked out, do not climb in the BLM managed portion of Massacre Rocks.  Crags/Walls affected by the closures include (but are not limited to) Le Petite Covette, French Wall, Hobbit Wall, the Owl Cove, Main Wall, Wild Onion, Boulder Wall, Play Pen, Farmyard, Forbidden Planet, Far Side, Royalty Point, Windmill Wall, the Outback, Down Under, Camptown Towers, Westworld, and Mighty Mite Wall. All closed crags/walls that are in the MP database are designated CLOSED. .

GEOLOGY:

Massacre Rocks is a large natural area of sagebrush, ancient cedar trees, sand dunes, and box canyons sculpted by the Great Bonneville flood some 14,000 years ago. The flood carved numerous natural box canyons and 'alcoves' leaving steep rock walls ranging from 30' to 200' in height. The exposed basalt formations were originally formed from repeated volcanic activity in the Snake River Plain. The rock is high quality black, brown, and tan basalt. It is steep (sometimes overhanging) and heavily featured with edges, pockets, blocks, slopers, bulges, dihedrals, and cracks - perfect for much varied sport climbing.

CULTURAL RESOURCE AWARENESS:

Massacre Rocks is part of the much larger “American Falls Archaeological District” (AFAD). mountainproject.com/v/11224… There are multiple land jurisdictions in both the AFAD and where climbing takes place (see BLM Map). Extensive and well documented studies of the AFAD near and around the Snake River show many cultural resources and evidence of human habitation for at least the last 13,000 years. This area is considered sacred to the Shoshone peoples. Be respectful and minimize your footprint and impact in the area. Keep your staging area small and contained. Pick up and pack out your trash including tape, orange or banana peels, cigarette butts, etc. Prevent your dog from digging. Don’t start or make any fires, especially near the base of cliffs.

In an effort to respect the cultural resources and tribal concerns, several routes names in this guide were changed to honor a request to eliminate potentially offensive names.

Remember, as on any Federal land, damaging cultural resources is a felony and punishable by fines and imprisonment. Deception Cove is posted closed to climbing. Please respect this and any other closures. While nearly all the established climbing cliffs do not have known petroglyphs or pictographs, should you happen to find one, usually near ground level, cease climbing and notify the Bureau of Land Management at the Burley Field Office, 208 677 6600.

Also, please, only park in one of the designated parking areas and respect all road closures. Sandy soils in the AFAD are prone to wind erosion. Motorized vehicles and even foot traffic can damage the fragile ecology and could destroy rare, irreplaceable evidence of 13,000 years of human habitation. When hiking to the crags use established trails and don’t short cut or braid existing trails. See the graphic from the BLM to understand which areas are closed to motorized travel. mountainproject.com/v/11180…

SPORT CLIMBING:

Massacre Rocks was one of the first modern climbing areas in the United States to fully embrace the sport climbing ethic. Most of the routes here were established in the 80's and 90's.

There are over 750 well equipped sport routes at Massacre on more than two dozen different walls ranging from 30' to 200' in height. The average climb is about 60'. The "climb anywhere" nature of the rock has led to a high concentration of routes on most walls. Sometimes routes are as close as 5 or 6 feet apart which can make identifying routes a challenge. A good strategy is to count bolts. Once a route has been identified, it's easy to track routes to the right or left. This guide and the free online guide have accurate bolt counts for most route descriptions.

The sport climbs at Massacre typically have closely spaced bolts for pushing your limits. Climbs range from 5.8 to 5.13 with most being in the middle of that range. If you climb 5.10 to 5.12 and like to clip bolts, you will find a nearly endless supply of high quality sport climbing.

GEAR:

A rack of up to 18 quick draws will suffice on the longer routes, while the majority of climbs take six to eight. There are some natural pro lines but they are seldom climbed. For these a standard rack of cams and nuts should do the trick.

SPORT ANCHORS:

The vast majority of routes have sport anchors which are typically an open cold shut and a steel or aluminum carabiner. This makes finishing and lowering from a route convenient. Please use your own gear if you plan to top rope the route. Occasionally, the routes will have chain anchors at the top of the climb, if in doubt always bring a couple extra draws.

ROPES/SAFETY:

Most climbs at Massacre allow a leader to be lowered using a single 60 meter rope however some longer routes may require two ropes. There have been lowering accidents at Massacre, so if you are not sure, tie a knot in the end of the rope so you don’t drop your partner, or even better, take two ropes. The Owl Cove, Main Wall Area, and Eagle Wall are places to watch out for two rope descents.

WEATHER/SEASONS:

The best climbing weather at Massacre is in the late fall and early spring although there are many very climbable days in the winter. Provided the sun is out, the dark rock and wind protected alcoves create micro-climates where it's possible to climb in t-shirts on 30 F winter days. These same features make climbing in the summer unbearably hot, though early morning or late evening outings on shady walls are possible.

CAMPING:

There is pleasant but primitive free camping at several locations near the parking on the west rim. Bring your own water, firewood and shovel.

HAZARDS:

There are rattlesnakes in the area though they are typically not a problem. If you bring dogs or children scope the area before settling down to climb.

It can be extremely hot at Massacre during the summer. The sand can burn bare feet. Dogs in particular can have a very tough time with the hot sand. Due to some long treks across hot sand, it is not advisable to bring dogs during summer, even if you intend to climb in the shade.

Getting There Suggest change

 

Massacre Rocks is situated across the Snake River, northwest from Massacre Rocks State Park entrance fee station; the 200 foot Main Wall is visible from Interstate 86. Traditionally climbers accessed Main Wall and Owl Cove by taking a canoe across the Snake River. However the vast majority of the climbing is in box canyons and alcoves situated behind Owl Cove and Main Wall. For easier access to these walls climbers drive across the American Falls Reservoir Dam and follow paved roads to a public access dirt road. Three miles of two-track through BLM public land and state of Idaho public land lead to the parking areas along the west rims. From the the parking, some crags can be reached in as little as five minutes and the Main Wall is still only a 30 min hike through the back country.

DRIVING ACCESS:

Note that the last three miles is a two-track dirt road that requires moderate clearance.  The two track While trucks and Subaru's have no problem and plenty of sedans (like Camrys and Accords) have made it too, be aware that clearance may be an issue.

From the town of American Falls, take State Highway 39 across the American Falls Reservoir dam. Take the first left turn onto the Lamb-Weston Road and set your trip odometer to zero.

* 0.0 miles: Left turn onto Lamb-Weston Road

* 0.2 miles: Turn left onto Borah Road

* 1.8 miles: Turn left onto the paved Lake Channel Road; it follows the river for awhile before heading across potato fields.

* 13.7 miles: Turn left onto a dirt two-track road. Follow this road for about 100 yards all the way to the fence line. A very short distance before the fence, you will cross a dirt road. DO NOT TURN RIGHT YET!! Go all the way to the fence and then turn right and follow the fence line until you come to a BLM gate at 14.1 miles.

* 14.1 miles: Turn left and go through the BLM gate (please close it behind you). Continue along a two-track dirt road. After about a mile, you will pass through a metal gate (close it behind you).  Continue on the two track.

* 16.5 miles: You will encounter two metal gates. Beyond the left metal gate is private land. DO NOT GO THROUGH THE GATE AND TRESPASS ON PRIVATE LAND. Use the right hand metal gate. This gate separates BLM public land from state of Idaho public land. Follow a 2 track road through sage brush for about a quarter mile until you can take a right turn onto a well established 2 track road. (Note this avoids a 200 yard section of private land farm road).

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* 17.1 miles: Take the right fork and continue on a well used two-track dirt road.

* 17.7 miles: Most popular parking spot. "P2" on the access map.

RIVER ACCESS:

If you have access to a boat, the quickest and easiest way to reach the Main Wall and Owl Cove is to cross the Snake River at Massacre State Park. Drive about 11.5 miles west of American Falls on I-86. Take the Massacre Rocks exit, exit #28. Park your vehicle near the fee station and portage your boat about 200 yards along a faint trail to the river. If you paddle straight across the river you will be near the entrance to Owl Cove. Alternatively, you can drive to the boat ramp, put in, and navigate a quarter mile upriver.

480 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Massacre Rocks

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 13
Woody in the Woods
Sport, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 24
Main Street
Sport, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 11
Flies On A Hotdog
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 11
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Crack Baby
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 4
[Redacted]
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 4
Just For Laughs
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 8
CLOSED TO CLIMBING This Schmoo's…
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 4
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Toxic Socks S…
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 6
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Freudian Slip
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 9
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Space Violator
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 27
Pretty Woman
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 9
Run For the Border
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 5
She Ain't Pretty, She Just Looks…
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 7
Wildfire
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 6
Love Connection
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Woody in the Woods Red Light District
 13
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, TR
Main Street All American Area > 1. All American Wall
 24
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, TR
Flies On A Hotdog Eagle Wall > Eagle Wall - Left & C…
 11
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Crack Baby CLOSED TO CLIMB… > CLOSED TO CLIMBING Lo…
 11
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
[Redacted] Gang Fight Wall
 4
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Just For Laughs Funny Business… > Funny Business Wall
 4
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
CLOSED TO CLIMBING This Sch… CLOSED TO CLIMB… > CLOSED TO CLIMBING Fr…
 8
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Toxic So… CLOSED TO CLIMB… > CLOSED TO CLIMBING 4…
 4
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Freudian… CLOSED TO CLIMB… > CLOSED TO CLIMBING As…
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
CLOSED TO CLIMBING Space Vi… CLOSED TO CLIMB… > CLOSED TO CLIMBING Ow…
 9
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Pretty Woman All American Area > 1. All American Wall
 27
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Run For the Border All American Area > 4. S of the Border Area
 9
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
She Ain't Pretty, She Just… Eagle Wall > Eagle Wall - Left & C…
 5
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Wildfire Eagle Wall > Eagle Wall - Left & C…
 7
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Love Connection Love Connection
 6
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Massacre Rocks »

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