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Heise Rock Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,060'
Location: 43.6361, -111.6744 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 10,743
Administrators: WAGbag, Mike Engle, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bad Sock Puppet on Jul 29, 2008
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BETA PHOTO: Heise Rock (East and Northeast aspect)

Open with restrictions - Private Property MORE INFO >>>


Heise (Elephant) Rock is a large volcanic plug located just off Heise-Kelly Canyon Road about a mile before the mouth of the canyon. Heise Rock was first bolted in the 80's by Jeff Hursh and Chuck Oddette, and has some of the hardest climbs in Eastern Idaho.

The rock is fairly solid, depending on which face your choose to climb, and seems to be some type of conglomerate basalt; occasionally pieces may break lose along fractures. The rock is best climbed from late spring through the fall. Winter is suicidal. Snow melt and spring rain keep the area around the crag water logged for a couple of weeks during the early spring.

Routes vary from 5.6+ to 5.13c with most climbs somewhere in the moderate to difficult range; if your looking for more moderate routes head just up the road into Kelly Canyon to Paramount. All routes can be completed with a 50m rope and are somewhere between 35-55 feet high. Rappel anchors are also located above most routes as the rock is frequented by the climbing impaired. This does however allow you to rappel down to the climbing anchors so you can set up top rope on the harder stuff. The sun is always shinning on at least one face, so whether you're looking for sun or shade, you'll be able to find it. Heise Rock also offers a small number of trad climbs for those of who demand an extra thrill.

The area is located on the edge of the Palisades mountain range in Eastern Idaho. There are plenty of places to camp, not to mention world class flyfishing in the nearby Snake river. Restaurants are not prevalent in the area however there is a pizza parlor 1/2 mile back up the road in Heise. If you're not a local you might like to try out Big Judd's in nearby Archer for some of the biggest and greasiest burgers you've ever seen.

This is definitely not a destination spot, but would be a fun place to visit if you happen to pass by on your way to Grand Teton National Park, as it is only a few miles off Hwy 26.

Getting There 

If heading east on Highway 26 from Idaho Falls, turn left when you see the signs for Kelly Canyon Ski Resort (about 17 miles from Hitt Road / Hwy 26 intersection). Continue following the signs until you cross the Snake River. Go right continuing in the direction of Kelly Canyon; after about 1.6 miles you'll clearly see the crag on your left.

If coming from Rexburg, head south along South Yellowstone Highway and turn left right outside of town on Archer Road. Follow this for 12 miles (continuing past Archer) and then turn left following the signs to Kelly Canyon Ski Resort. Continue following the signs until you cross the Snake River. Go right continuing in the direction of Kelly Canyon; after about 1.6 miles you'll clearly see the crag on your left.

You can park on the shoulder.

Climbing Season

Weather station 12.9 miles from here

23 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Heise Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Heise Rock:
Hanging Humor   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   South Wall
Equilibrium   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Northeast Wall
Dark Justice   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   Northeast Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Heise Rock

Featured Route For Heise Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Setting up for last crux move

The Good Reverend Christopher Martin 5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c  Idaho : Heise Rock : Northeast Wall
Very short and powerful route, though it's pretty sweet! Crux is basically from the 4th move until after sticking the hold just above the first bolt. After that, it's just fun, easier movement to the chains. May be flooded right underneath during the early summer....[more]   Browse More Classics in Idaho

Comments on Heise Rock Add Comment
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By Bruce C. Anderson
From: Kuna, Id
Oct 7, 2008
One of the highlights of climbing at Heise Rock is eating at Heise Pizza afterwards. Great Pizza and cold beer!
By Justin Brunson
From: Broomfield CO
Mar 3, 2011
As of 2010, climbers are required to check in at the pizza parlor before climbing.

They have also specifically said no climbing after dark.

As always, pack your trash out and don't be obnoxious when campers are there.
By Ryan Moore
Nov 15, 2011
For all the Locals,

I am a climber that has moved here from California. A few days ago my wife and I went to climb Heise and Paramount rock. I noticed that high above Heise was miles of Rock band that looked a few hundred feet high in spots and shear enough. Why has that not been developed. Is the rock good quality. I am always looking for some good multi-pitch fun-longer routes. Any trad climbing interested in checking it out maybe developing some new routes?
By Justin Brunson
From: Broomfield CO
Nov 16, 2011
Spend some more time getting used to the area. Locally, try southpark, the playground, or midget widget. Maybe take a trip out to box canyon, palisades creek, or teton canyon. You'll forget all about that rotten cliff band.

Unfortunately there's not a ton of traditional climbing out here, but you can find good lines in and around the sport routes.
By Alex George
From: Rexburg, Idaho
Jun 4, 2013
As of this season there is a 5 doller charge per person, as well asas checking in a Rv store ( near the pizza parlor) a season pass is 50 bucks......Super Lame!!
By Ezra Ellis
From: Hotlanta
Jun 28, 2013
There is no way I'd pay to climb this garbage rock!!!
dirty, loose, dangerous and expensive, what's not to like??
By Jaren Watson
From: Rexburg, Idaho
Jul 17, 2013
To be fair, routes that have seen literally thousands of ascents can't accurately be described as dirty, loose, or dangerous. Indeed, one is hard-pressed to imagine a safer crag. Still, the charge is an uncomfortable issue.
By Bones Perkins
From: Rexburg, ID
Sep 13, 2013
Disclaimer: Heise rock isn't really dirty, loose, or dangerous. It's possible Ezra is talking specifically about the junky 5.5ish TR only route on the west side of the rock, or possibly the awful "crack" climbs. And if that's the case, I'd agree. But the majority of the routes are clean, mostly well bolted (what area doesn't have some less than ideal bolting jobs?), and just fun sport climbs. That being said, though it's worth visiting, it's by no means a destination point and $5 is a steep price to pay when there are a lot of other crags nearby.
By Nielsonru Nielson
Mar 1, 2014
I would call most of it greasy and slick from the many ascents. There are some great routes on this rock and you can't beat the approach, plus the family-friendly Class 5 climbs on the West side. But sadly, with the added cost and so many other crags being recently developed, this one is losing it's appeal.
From: Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Apr 13, 2016
Funny to see this 'rock' mentioned at all. I guess it has some significance for me. I first climbed here around 1966 on a scout trip (9th grade). First time I realized I could grab some rock with my hands and pull up on it. Wow, that's a novel idea. Hooked for life!

Fifty years ago!

We used this area for 'training' and to take girls to. Mostly easy stuff and the rappel off the top east side. Once, I forgot my swami belt and just decided to clip to my Levi belt loops. Jumped off the top and both belt loops snapped immediately. Slid to the bottom with both hands burning and landed on my butt. Real smart, and the girls loved it.

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