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Black Cliffs

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Black Cliffs Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 3,059'
Location: 43.5373, -116.0879 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 81,278
Administrators: WAGbag, Mike Engle, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: R Squared on Nov 12, 2007

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Darius Azin on God (5.13a), Black Cliffs Photo b...

Seasonal Raptor Closures.


The Black Cliffs provide year round climbing if you don't mind being cold in the winter. Summer days are really hot so spring and fall tend to be the best times a the Black Cliffs. The rock is all basalt. Access is easy and the cliffs usually aren't crowded. The guidebook Boise Climbs by Sandy Epeldi is a great thing to have if you are going to be climbing the Black Cliffs. You can pick it up at REI or Benchmark.

Getting There 

Take Highway 84 to the Gowen Rd/Highway 21 exit. Take Highway 21 towards Lucky Peak. The cliffs will be on both sides of the river. Park in the parking lots and choose a trail up.

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.2 miles from here

213 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',88],['2 Stars',96],['1 Star',14],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Black Cliffs

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Black Cliffs:
Fat Ankles   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   Mid Cliffs
Little Nest   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 60'   Populace Wall
Stems and Jammies   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 60'   Populace Wall
Sweet Adene   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 55'   Populace Wall
Almer Casile Memorial Buttress   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Mid Cliffs
The Father   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Mid Cliffs
White Wash   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 55'   Populace Wall
Surf's Up   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 60'   Face Canyon
Perception vs. Reality   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 55'   Populace Wall
Macabre Roof   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 50'   East Car Body Canyon
Circumciser   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 75'   Tall Cliffs
Stone Tools   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The New Fringe
Holiday in Cambodia   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   East Car Body Canyon
Pabst Smear   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   West Car Body Canyon
Swallow   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Mid Cliffs
The Garden   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 50'   Green Acres
Geologic Time Includes Now   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 35'   Green Acres
Bologna Pony   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 40'   Short Cliffs
Unknown Leon   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Short Cliffs
In Your Face   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Face Canyon
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Black Cliffs

Featured Route For Black Cliffs
Rock Climbing Photo: Cory at the 'jug' on his send of Lights Out.

Lights Out 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  Idaho : West Idaho : ... : Face Canyon
Starts out with easy stemming to the high first bolt, then goes left onto the arete for the rest of the way. One hard move passing the first bolt is followed up with fun jug pulling for the next couple bolts. After the third bolt the business begins, with fun crimps and sidepulls the rest of the way....[more]   Browse More Classics in Idaho

Photos of Black Cliffs Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Moving towards fresh air on "Smelly Dark Hole...
Moving towards fresh air on "Smelly Dark Hole...
Rock Climbing Photo: Loose rock on populace wall
BETA PHOTO: Loose rock on populace wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan Flynn working a route at the Black Cliffs
Ryan Flynn working a route at the Black Cliffs
Rock Climbing Photo: More climbing in the Black Cliffs
More climbing in the Black Cliffs
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan Flynn first time climbing in the Black Cliffs
Ryan Flynn first time climbing in the Black Cliffs
Rock Climbing Photo: Black Cliffs climbin'
Black Cliffs climbin'

Comments on Black Cliffs Add Comment
Show which comments
By bheller
From: SL UT
May 22, 2010
Some of my best days at the black cliffs were on sunny cold winter days on the south facing cliffs and blistering hot days spent hiding in the shade on the north facing cliffs. The north and south sides have entireley different approaches. Consult Epeldi's book for the best published info for the south side approaches. The black cliffs can be a really fun place to climb, but it is by no means a destination. Out of the 100's of climbs, most are boringly similar. There are a handful of standouts though. The area is composed of numerous crags that are in close proximity. Digging in my memory for the standout sport climbs...Bologne Pony 10d-short cliffs, Unknown Leon 11a-short cliffs, Jet Screamin Hooter Queens 11b-tall cliffs, Pictures of Lily 11b-west car body canyon, Men Who Pause 11d-scary canyon, Beef Curtain 10d-scary canyon, Boise Gun Fighter 11d-scary canyon, The Groveller 11d-the dark side, Chassin a Snake 11d-the dark side, Sexual Underground 11c-easter island, Ehrlichman 12c-the nixon head, Watergate 13a-the nixon head.
By Cassidy Thomas
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 20, 2016
The Black Cliffs are seriously underrated in my opinion. I grew up in Boise and climbed here in high school. Never realized how much I loved this place until I went two years without climbing here. It's great climbing of varying difficulty that's very accessible from town. For some reason, the MP pages for the Black Cliffs are not very developed, you're much better off buying the "Boise Climbs" guide book by Sandy Epeldi. It's very easy to find climbs using this book.

Aside from that, here are few other words of advice. The cliffs are black and they get HOT. Main climbing season, like most other places, is the Spring and Fall when their are moderate temperatures, but expect the cliffs to feel 10-20 degrees hotter than the valley. During the summer, get up early to climb. My goal was always to be topping out on my first route right as the sun was coming up. I would wake up at about 4:30, leave home at 5:15, be at the cliffs 6, top out on my first route between 6:15-6:30. Maybe take a light jacket in the early mornings. As soon as that sun comes out though, you will bake, it will feel 125 degrees. By noon in the midsummer, most rock in the sun is just too hot. However, lot's of East Carbody Canyon will remain in the shade until the afternoon. Additionally, West Carbody will be in the shade in the evening (climbing after work or school).

While the black rock makes it a little tricky to get longer days there in the Summer, it allows the rock to be claimable in the winter and colder fall and early spring days. The rock heats up very quickly in the sunlight. My mark any day all year round was 40 degrees and sunny. If those two criteria are met, you can have a fantastic day climbing on this basalt.

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