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Living in Idaho falls

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CaseyElliott · · Salt Lake City · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 470

Can anyone tell me what it's like to live as an avid climber in Idaho falls? I'm thinking of accepting a position at INEL but if I cant climb or be around people who climb I might go crazy. Thanks!

Levi Painter · · Boise, ID · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I used to live in Idaho Falls. There is a ton of great climbing nearby. Grand Teton National Park is also close, like an hour and a half away on the west side.

A brand new gym just got built in IF. It is the best gym I have ever been to.

There are a lot of noob climbers around Idaho Falls, mainly from the college in Rexburg. I have seen them leave trash (a diaper once) at the crags and they TR right through the anchors on routes. I think they are learning though. There are a few old timers (hi Dad!) in IF that are still putting up routes and teaching the younger generations. Dudes from IF established many of the routes out at the Fins which is quickly turning into a classic destination. Just off the top of my head, nearby climbing spots are:
Heise Rock
South Park
Blackfoot River Canyon
Hot Potato (?) <----actually don't bother
Ross Park in Poky
Massacre Rocks
The Fins
Darby Canyon
Teton Canyon
Some bouldering near Rexburg

Idaho Falls is a very religious town with not a lot of night life which could be a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective! The geographic location is hard to beat though!

chris24graham · · Idaho Falls, ID · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 45

The nearest climbing is all around 45 minutes away, and consists of short basalt cliffs with rock quality ranging from OK to bad (Heise, South Park, Pointless, Playground, Crank Cave, etc.) Some fun routes, only one or two dozen routes 5.12 or harder, so if you climb hard you'll run out of after-work projects pretty quick. The new gym is good, though.

For weekend trips, Massacre rocks is about 1.5-2 hours away, and offers better quality basalt with a wider selection. The Fins are excellent near-vertical (+ or - 5 degrees from vert) pocketed limestone with lots of routes from 11 to 14d. It's 1.5 hours from IF, plus a 30 minute hike if you don't have 4wd. (hey, if you're working out at the Site, you could always live in Arco, which is about 30 minutes from the Fins and closer to the Site, so long as you don't mind living in a tiny town in the middle of the desert). I'm sure you know about the City of Rocks and the Tetons.

The climbing community in Idaho Falls is pretty small, on the order of a dozen somewhat dedicated climbers. The wider area, including Jackson/Driggs and Pocatello, expands the pool considerably.

CaseyElliott · · Salt Lake City · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 470

Thanks Chris. Thats good info

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

If you end up in Arco, the Lost River range is right there also, if that appeals. I've not been to the climbing, but I believe there's some sport up toward Mackay, in one of the drainages in the LRR (not the Fins).

The Fins is the hardest climbing in the state, LRR is the toughest range, and King Mountain (Howe) has a world class glider port, so some pretty adventursome people come through, if you want to expand beyond climbing.

Best, Helen

CaseyElliott · · Salt Lake City · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 470

Is there a large paragliding community there?

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Casey, I don't know that there's a large anything community out there. Idaho I'd pretty sparsely populated.

But, Howe is a destination for hang gliding. I think they've set distance records from there.

My point was just that you may still find interesting folks out there. INEL is also not an easy place to get a job, so you'll likely run into some who are the sharpest in their field. My co-workers daughter got her first big ticket job there a few years ago, as a young person, so it isn't all codgers either.

If you can't stand the area, and the isolation, and the winters there, weigh that in your decision, yes, but if it's a great job offer in your field? Tough call.

In Idaho Falls, remember, you are in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Your "back yard" is getting into some beautiful, wild, empty country.

Wishing you the very best! It's a big decision. Helen

Paige Brimley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hi casey, 

I realize this is a bit late, but if you're looking for a climbing partner I will be interning at the INL this summer. My boyfriend lives in Jackson, WY so I'll be going out there, to Bozeman, Lander or City of Rocks most weekends. I'm also hoping to climb at the gym in town or nearby crags during the week. 

Let me know if you'd be interested! 


Idaho Ian · · Pocatello, ID · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 5

I live and play in Pocatello. Can't add anything to the list, but if you end up here there are plenty of climbers and plenty of places to be climbed. To be honest, it is very poorly developed for the sheer amount of rock that is around, but after being here awhile you might appreciate that.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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