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Best guide book for City of Rocks?

Original Post
grog m · · Saltlakecity · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Any recommendations?

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Dave Bingham, City of Rocks and Castle Rocks State Park, 2016.  Wolverine Press.  You can get it at the visitor center.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Yup. Pop for Bingham's, he's done a huge amount of work for not just COR, but a lot of southern Idaho climbing besides.

The Climb-On approach map is super useful, and also available at the visitor center. Both are a good investment, IMO, and complement each other well. You're supporting nice people who put a ton of work into these, the park itself, and at least one very nice pooch, too!

Best, Helen

grog m · · Saltlakecity · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Thank you all. I will pop by the visitors center and grab one on my way in. 

grog m · · Saltlakecity · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Any recommendations in the 5.8-5.11 range (trad or sport) besides the classics? Looking to avoid crowds if possible - not sure if this is possible in the city?

Christopher Haws · · Newton, UT · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 5

Definitely possible to avoid the crowds by hitting crags with a little farther approach.

One of my favorite sport climbs out their is Colossus on bath rock west, I believe it goes 5.10 or so. Definitely a busy crag, but that is a fantastic climb. 

mnjsan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 710
grog m wrote: Any recommendations in the 5.8-5.11 range (trad or sport) besides the classics? Looking to avoid crowds if possible - not sure if this is possible in the city?

Bingham’s guidebook is incredibly well done.  He has a trad list of 5 climbs in each grade from 5.7-5.10.  We ended up doing so many that we made a challenge out of it and completed the entire list minus the 2 that are closed in the week we were there.  Hit anything on the list and you won’t be disappointed.  We were there in the beginning of June and had no issues with crowds.  The city is an incredible place.  Enjoy.

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 1,082
grog m wrote: Any recommendations in the 5.8-5.11 range (trad or sport) besides the classics? Looking to avoid crowds if possible - not sure if this is possible in the city?

There is so much good climbing in that range.  I've never found crowds to be an issue and I've been there about a dozen times.  It's mostly cragging, if someone is climbing something you want to do, they'll be off it in 30 minutes.  Do something near by.  Most of the cliffs have multiple good routes within minutes walk, and most cliffs have other cliffs nearby. The issue in the City is more whether you are chasing sun or shade, and what the winds are doing.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 1,115

Greg, even when it's busy, it just isn't crowded the way some places are. Yeah, you might run into a group and have to wait, but usually there are plenty of other climbs to go to. We bailed from Bath rock last weekend, when there were two groups of four ahead of us. But, we were on our way out of town, and didn't have any significant hold-ups the whole weekend. We had other people there, but it was totally easy to share the space. One pair even put one of our ropes up on Private Idaho so my sport peeps could play on it, top roped! Sooooo much fun!

It's not on the radar, much, outside of climbing, so it's climbers you are sharing the place with. What that often means, is you may well get an offer from the guys next door to jump on their rope, especially if you offer that courtesy back.

If the weather looks iffy (rain, cold, hot, anything but exactly perfect) a lot of folks bail. Much emptier on weekdays. Hike out, you may see no one. Go to a non classic, it will still be fun. Place gear, less peeps. Climb one where you build your own anchor, ditto...

It isn't a cliff line, it's all separate rocks sticking up. So, just hike to the next one out that interests you, if you don't want to wait and no other routes are what you want. 

Truly, just peek at the close in ones, like Bath rock, see how it shakes out, and have a plan B. On Bath, warmup on Rollercoaster (easy but fun sport), pop gear into Private Idaho right next to it (super fun), hop up into the patinas on Colossus (I snuck over on a bit of it, from Private Idaho top rope, lol), and, if you are up for it, take a shot at the thing toward the right that has a move that often leads to screams heard across the street, with a safe, but significant whipper of a crux, lol!

Seriously, just go, have fun, and really watch the rappels and route length info. Two accidents this season, neither should have happened.

If you're there labor day weekend, watch out for an Old Lady flailing away! I'm making a trip every couple weeks, until the weather truly craps out! 

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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