April 21, 2010

Box Canyon - Lemhi Range, Idaho

A doorway to the underworld?

Heather Lords feasting on a real life Texas Barbecue 5.12a

Weaner Dogs Ripped my Flesh 5.10c

A long way from anywhere, Box Canyon is a great little East Idaho gem! The southern tip of the Lemhi Range offers local and visiting climbers a unique (for East Idaho) limestone experience. The established routes offer something for everyone, short powerful bouldery sport climbs, hard single pitch crimp fests, and enjoyable moderates. However, the main attraction for many climbers visiting Box Canyon are the classic sport multi pitch routes. Generally slabby in nature with average spaced bolts, the multi pitch climbs are superb!

After a flurry of development, the Wood River Valley based climbers abandoned Box Canyon for the steeper and more pocketed walls at the Fins; leaving behind about 30 quality routes spread over 10 different zones. Further route development from other area activists have been halted due to a current Wilderness Study of the area.

I hear a lot of people say that the Box Canyon limestone is super sharp and correlate some of the crimp moves as to climbing on razorblades. I use to agree, but after climbing at many of the limestone sectors in Croatia, the Box Canyon stone is not that sharp compared to what other world class European areas offer. Sooo, stop your whining!

Texas Barbecue 5.12a
photo: N. Meacham

There are two zones in Box Canyon that offer multi pitch routes, the Bardini Wall and the Shade Wall. Both offer climbs up to three pitches in length. My favorite Box experience is the right hand route on the Shade Wall. Two nearly full rope pitches each, this route is spectacular in every way. The second pitch is the meat of the climb; it's easy to get lost in this sea of limestone crimps.

Heather at the anchors belaying Nat Meacham up the first pitch.

Heather on the stellar 5.11 second pitch!

It's easy to feel all alone on this route!

The Shade Wall in all of its glory! Can you spot the two climbers?

You can find all of the beta in Matt TeNgiao and Jerry Painter's guidebook, Sweet Spots of Eastern Idaho. Pick up a copy and help support our local guidebook authors and area route developers! Information is also available at http://www.seiclimbing.com/

Currently there is a bolting ban for the Box Canyon area due to nearby Indian artifacts and petroglyphs. If you visit, please treat this climbing area with respect, pick up your trash, don't be stupid, and help continue a healthy relationship with the BLM. Beware of rattlesnakes, summer mid day sunshine, cactus and the WIND!