As in all alpine and climbing areas, there appear to be two kinds of visitors: bad-ass sport climbers who all have rotator cuff injuries, and âif you don't fall at least three times on a route, you're not challenged enoughâ. When you're never more than three feet above a bolt, you don't have to worry about exposure.
The other kind of course is the hiker. If there's a drop-off beside the trail, they appreciate a handrail.
In between these two extremes, the province of what was once called âmountain climberâ, there is no one left. The species has become extinct. Oh, there are still the peak baggers, the population that keeps up the membership numbers of the various alpine clubs. This group is even more fit than the hikers, and almost as shy of exposure.
For the few old farts like myself who still enjoy gaining a summit of some technical challenge, unencumbered by modern safety gear and procedures, here are some outings in Idaho's City of Rocks that I can recommend. All lower 5th class.
Castle Rock State Park
Wedding Wall -- gain the col between this and Poultry Pillar from either side, then easily up the south ridge. Maybe 5.3 or so.
Kid Rock â can be ascended more easily than the 5.5 route Small Fry on the opposite side of the formation, just right of Honeymoon Arete.
City, Parking Lot area
An enchainment not to be missed:
Buzzard's Perch N ridge. From the col between this and Clamshell, where the climbing starts, find a hidden (north-facing) short chimney (which doesn't need to be chimneyed) which leads around to the South Slabs of the Clamshell. Trend right for easier climbing and soon you are on this, the highest summit easily accessed from the parking lot. Buzzard is not 5.5 â more like 5.1. Ditto the slabs. These two take only a few hours at most. On the way back to the parking lot, detour to the col between Buzzard and Rabbit, and bag Rabbit Rock N ridge.