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City of Rocks

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Animal Cracker Rock 
Anteater Rock 
Bad Seed - Eviction 
Bath Rock 
Beef Jello  
BFD Rock 
BLM Rock - West Corridor 
Boxtop, The 
Breadloaves 
Building Blocks 
Bumblie Rock 
Buzzard Perch 
Cannibal Corridor 
Checkered Demon 
City of Rocks Bouldering 
Clamshell, The 
Creekside 
Drilling Fields 
Dungeon, The 
Eagle Rock 
Electric Avenue 
Elephant Rock 
Filing Cabinet, The 
Finger Rock 
Flaming Rock 
Gallstone, The 
Great Wall 
Heartbreaker 
Indian Chief Rock 
King on the Throne 
Lady Jessica's Rock 
Lion's Head 
Lost Arrow Spire 
Meadow Muffin - Cyclops 
Morning Glory Spire 
Mushroom Rock 
Nameless Tower 
Nausea Wall 
Nematode, The 
Odyssey 
Office, The 
Owl Rock 
Parking Lot Rock 
Peter Pan Boulder 
Practice Rock 
Private Idaho 
Rabbit Rock 
Shangri La 
Site 18 
Skinner's Roof 
Slabbage Patch 
Steinfell's Dome 
Stripe Rock 
Tahitian Rocks 
Transformer Corridor 
Twin Sisters 
Wart, The 
White Lightning 
White Wall 
Window Rock 
Yellow Wall 

City of Rocks  


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Location: 42.0778, -113.724 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,541,005
Administrators: grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Nathan Fisher on Jul 26, 2004
Forecast:
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Description 

City of Rocks is a mecca of climbing, just over the Utah/Idaho border in rural Idaho. Varnished and pocketed granite is the name of the game here. The granite ages with an iron based varnish on it and when the varnish wears through, it forms pockets that wear faster than the varnish. The result is pockets with edges or just edges. The majority of the routes have mixed protection, so caution or knowledge is required as the bolts may stop halfway up the route.

Camping is permitted in City of Rocks in developed sites that they charge for. Reservations can be made up to 90 days in advance. The town of Almo has the nearest refreshments and food at the Almo Creek Outpost as well as Rock City.

The history here is rich and deserves mentioning. The City of Rocks went by many names early on; Goblin City, Chapel Rocks, Pyramid Circle, and Ancient City were just a few of the monikers that were utilized by the early emigrants. They came through the area on their way to California for a better life, and the rock formations that take on many shapes and figures were a perfect landmark for them to use. As more and more of them came through they left their mark on some of the formations with axle grease.

The climbing history essentially began with the Steinfell Club in the early 1960's. As climbing grew in popularity so too did the impact of climbers. To preserve the nature and resources of the area, the NPS enacted strict rules on the bolting of new routes and also closed certain areas to climbing.

Getting There 

To get to City of Rocks, take I-15 north to I-84 to Snowville. At Snowville, take exit 5 and go west on SR 30 for 15 miles. After SR 30 becomes Idaho SR 42, continue for another 9 miles until you hit 3600 south (Strevell Road). Go west on this road for about 17 miles. Turn right at the "Y" in the road and right one more time on Yost road. After 3 miles, you'll make a left turn onto Eye Rd. and stay on this road for 5 miles. Turn right on 825 East and then turn left immediately on 3075 South. Continue on this road into the City of Rocks.

Climbing Season



Weather station 14.6 miles from here

389 Total Routes

['4 Stars',36],['3 Stars',179],['2 Stars',135],['1 Star',37],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',26],['5.7',33],['5.8',43],['5.9',37],['5.10',121],['5.11',88],['5.12',37],['5.13',3],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for City of Rocks:
Wheat Thin   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Elephant Rock : Elephant Rock - East
Adolescent Homosexual   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Breadloaves : Decadent Wall
Intruding Dike   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Breadloaves : Bloody Fingers Corridor
Columbian Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   Elephant Rock : Elephant Rock - East
Lost Arrow   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Trad, 2 pitches, 170'   Lost Arrow Spire
Theater of Shadows   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 4 pitches, 500'   Steinfell's Dome
Rye Crisp   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Elephant Rock : Elephant Rock - East
Skyline   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Morning Glory Spire
Too Much Fun   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 150'   Bumblie Rock
Batwings   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Parking Lot Rock : Parking Lot Rock - West
Private Idaho   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Bath Rock : Bath Rock - West
Scream Cheese   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Anteater Rock : Anteater - West
Funky Bolt   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   Parking Lot Rock : Parking Lot Rock - East
Bloody Fingers   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Breadloaves : Super Hits - Bloody Fingers
Tribal Boundaries   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Flaming Rock
Thin Slice   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Parking Lot Rock : Parking Lot Rock - Northeas...
Colossus   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Bath Rock : Bath Rock - West
Terror of Tiny Town   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 90'   Buzzard Perch
Crack of Doom   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Morning Glory Spire
She's the Bosch   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 120'   Window Rock : Window Rock - West
Browse More Classics in City of Rocks

Featured Route For City of Rocks
Andrew coming off of Gigantor.

Gigantor 5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c  ID : City of Rocks : Checkered Demon
On the right side of Checkered Demon, next to 'Take a Hike' 12d, is an amazing series of dirt-red patina plates. Gigantor begins on a 25 ft. high flake / ledge and climbs through these plates directly to the top of the feature. The climb is characterized by long, powerful moves between the plates, balance intensive footwork and a spicy finish.Few good rests exist, and the climbing tends to get more difficult as you gain altitude. Unlike its neighbor 'Take a Hike' this climb is generally free of ...[more]   Browse More Classics in ID

Photos of City of Rocks Slideshow Add Photo
Bath Rock in winter.
Bath Rock in winter.
Sunset Storm
Sunset Storm
Twin Sisters at sunset. June 2011.
Twin Sisters at sunset. June 2011.
Sunset Storm
Sunset Storm
Sunset Storm
Sunset Storm
The city from campsite 15 after a September snow.
The city from campsite 15 after a September snow.
The Inner City on a stormy day.
The Inner City on a stormy day.
Sunrise at The City
Sunrise at The City
Flaming Rock Rainbow
Flaming Rock Rainbow
Welcome to southern Idaho. This picture was taken at 70+ mph on a winding road
Welcome to southern Idaho. This picture was taken ...
The view from the top of Bath Rock...
The view from the top of Bath Rock...
View of Parking Lot Rock, Morning Glory, Bath Rock, and the Twin Sisters
View of Parking Lot Rock, Morning Glory, Bath Rock...
Bob Horan bouldering at the City of Rocks
Bob Horan bouldering at the City of Rocks
You meet a lot of interesting friends at the City of Rocks!
You meet a lot of interesting friends at the City ...
Price's friend on the Crack of Doom.
Price's friend on the Crack of Doom.
Rock City Pizza!
Rock City Pizza!
Twin Sisters at Sunrise
Twin Sisters at Sunrise
Rainbow @ the City
Rainbow @ the City
Breadloaves with Iris
Breadloaves with Iris
Sunset
Sunset
Skiing into the Upper Breadloaves.
Skiing into the Upper Breadloaves.
A beautiful place to climb...for many reasons.
A beautiful place to climb...for many reasons.
sunset from campsite
sunset from campsite
Dean, Fred, Rick, and Gary on summit of Lost Arrow
Dean, Fred, Rick, and Gary on summit of Lost Arrow

Show All 67 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on City of Rocks Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 2, 2014
By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Jun 23, 2005
This is the best summer/fall weekend road trip from SLC.

Beware, however, that there are many selfish inconsiderate people climbing in the City. See for example the toproping story on Wheat Thin. Another example: I waited around to climb Intruding Dike (a great 5.7**) while another party was on it. There was a second party on the route to the right. When the group on ID finished, I went to get on it. The guy leading the route to the right yelled down at me ``Hey, I'm next on that route!'' Apparantly he is under the impression that you can reserve routes while climbing others. Nevermind the fact that I waited around at the bottom for the climb to free up, while he decided to go climb something else (``I only got on this one because I didn't want to wait around at the bottom,'' he said). It turns out that the guy I was waiting on was this other guy's friend. He says, ``Yup, he was next on this one.'' I shook my head and told him that my rope is there, stacked, my gear is racked, and I'm ready to go; and he could get on it after me, that is if nobody got in line before he got down. Climbing Ethics used to be simple neighborly courtesy. Something has seriously changed.

I've seen such selfishness elsewhere, but it seems I always see it in the City.
By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jul 15, 2005
Good for you, Bobby. I think that newbies think that they can just reserve routes for their convenience. The same thing happened to me in Eldorado Canyon, recently. I was unfurling my rope, to do a route, and a guy ran up the path, from about 300' away, to tell me that he was waiting in line. He had taken his gear with him and gone back to his car to have lunch. I laughed and told him that he might as well go back and enjoy his desert, because it was going to be awhile.
By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jul 16, 2005
I shouldn't have singled out newbies, as bad manners aren't endemic to any particular person of group. This type of behavior does seem more common in the last few years. It is possible that it is a by-product of gym etiquette, where people leave their rope at the base of a route and then hang out in another part of the gym while they wait.
By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 14, 2005
For what it is worth, those of you that may be making your first visit to the City, you will be happy to know (maybe) that the grades, in my opinion, are either right on or a little soft. I have yet to come to a route that was sandbagged. They either are the grade or easier. I am reminded of this every time I am there. It's semi-comforting to know that you aren't going to climb and get in over your head.
By Josh Janes
Jul 5, 2006
More beta:

The directions listed here (and in the Bingham guidebook) take you over a lot of dirt roads. Alternate, perhaps faster, directions from the South/East (Utah, Colorado, etc): Take I-84 west all the way to exit 245 (Sublett Road). This will take you through Malta and then on to Almo. The roads are ID-81 to ID-77 to the Elba-Almo Highway. This route adds a small amount of mileage, but the roads are entirely paved and you can travel much faster.

Gas can sometimes be had at Tracy's general store in Almo. There is also a good gas station in the town of Malta that takes credit cards at the pump.

Water is available at a tap at the information pullout across from Bath Rock or at the pump by the Breadloaves.

If you make reservations, you have to make them at least two days in advance. Every campsite was booked for Fourth of July weekend this year ('06), and I hear this is common. Reservations can easily be made online, but there's a $6 fee to do so.
By R Squared
Jul 6, 2006
I was there over the fourth and it was awesome. All of June and so far in July it has been raining right around 4 pm so make sure you aren't stuck up on a multi-pitch.
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Sep 6, 2006
I did some climbing @ Site 18 on a trip in July, I was wondering if a local could post the beta for that area... I remember a couple of 5.7's in the middle of the wall, a 5.8 on the left(super fun), and a 5.9 on the right(also super fun)... Can't remeber the names though. I thought site 18 was a great morning get away. Wasn't crowded, but shady for most of the morning. It would be a great addition to MP...

Thanks Tod...
By 426
Mar 21, 2007
If you ever see some old codgers driving around in beat up trucks, be sure to talk to them. One guy we talked to had a veritable museum in his rig including an old trapper rifle (Winchester??) from way out back somewhere in the City.

The local gas station is(was) closed on Sunday. Plan accordingly...
By Guy H.
From: Fort Collins CO
May 23, 2007
Josh, you are correct. There are a few issues with the description of one side of Bath Rock in the new guidebook.
By bissell
Jul 24, 2008
all true about the grades i felt as well when i used to climb there, that they are felt to me to be right on or alittle soft. the exception to this is double cracks 5.10a on king on the throne. try it and see what you think, especially onsite.
By Lyndsy
From: Laramie, WY
Jan 25, 2009
I am curious what the weather is like in mid-March at the city??
By John Ross
From: Wasatch Front, UT
Jan 26, 2009
Here is some info about the climate in Oakley which is close by. Average high temp in March is 50.8 degrees F, average low temp is 27.7. Find a sunny wall in the afternoon and it just might work. This site will give you weather history.
By Brian in SLC
Jan 30, 2009
I, uhh, climbed back on 18 January on the back side of Bath Rock. No wind, perfect temps, t-shirt for me, my partner climbed shirtless. So, if its sunny and no wind, can be just fine most any time in the winter. Note: road only passible to Bath Rock (snowpacked past that, but, plowed to the big parking lot/info kiosk in front of Bath Rock as of 18 January). Cheers.
By Scott Bennett
Apr 26, 2009
I have never been there, but I'm thinking of stopping there on an extended roadtrip, possible sometime in August. Would it be too hot then? How long could I reasonable plan to stay? Is there enough climbing to entertain me for a few weeks (looking at mostly 5.11-5.12, preferably trad, but whatever).
Anyways, thanks in advance for all the great beta!
-Scott
By John Calder
From: Spokane, WA
May 18, 2009
Price.. met you this weekend at the Crack of doom. There's a picof your buddy above and a few on the COD page. Send me an adress and I'll mail you a disk.
By triznuty
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 24, 2009
Does anybody got some good beta for the route South Shoulder, that's on the South Sister? It would be greatly appreciated.
By Ryan Jaret
From: Eldorado Springs
Jul 6, 2010
I'm headed to the city next Monday. Do I need a reservation to get a campsite? If so, any recommendations for sites?
Thanks,

Ryan
By jeffozozo
From: santa clara, utah
Sep 7, 2010
Here's some beta for camping at the city:

1. most of the time you don't NEED a reservation, but it helps. It is easy to do and you can do it completely on line.

Here's the link to the reservation web-site. Choose city of rocks, 'overnight stays' and pick your spot. You can pay on line as well.

parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/


2. All of the camp sites are cool, but there are wide differences between them. Some are right next to climbing areas, some are a little further. Some are close to the bathrooms, some you need to DRIVE to get to the bathrooms. Here's the best map I have found:


nps.gov/ciro/planyourvisit/upl...



3. There is a little store/cafe called "rock city" that is about a quarter of a mile north of the turn off to city of rocks. They have pizza and sandwiches, all hand made to your order, while you watch and the food is wonderful.
By wren raming
From: s.l.c., ut
Sep 26, 2010
found draw on double vision, last friday. i believe you guys were climbing bloody fingers after double vision as we waited are turn. Tell me the make of the draw and i'll see if i can get it to you.
By stredna
From: PA
Feb 2, 2011
whats up with non-standardized anchors at the City?! had a real experienced friend dropped as the rope ran through his balayers hands! guess you need a 70m rope to get off some climbs?! there was no note on anchor or clue to this anomaly anywhere! He is still recovering.
By zoso
Feb 3, 2011
Seriously? "Standardized anchors"? Sorry for your friends injury, but really?

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're screwing around. In which case, bravo.
By grk10vq
Administrator
Feb 22, 2011
stredna- whats up with non-standardized anchors at the City?! had a real experienced friend dropped as the rope ran through his balayers hands! guess you need a 70m rope to get off some climbs?! there was no note on anchor or clue to this anomaly anywhere! He is still recovering.

standardized anchors?

"i'd love to finish this route up that beautiful patina face, however it exceeds a 60 meter rope length?"

i'm sorry to hear about your friend as well, but there are only two people to blame here.

as far as your clue goes, check the opening paragraphs of just about all city of rock guides, somewhere you will find something to the effect of: making a mistake when climbing can kill you. in recent years the most common mistake is lowering off fixed anchors. when in doubt tie into the end of the rope or tie a knot at the end. i think the Bingham guide even lists the most common routes to look out for?

you want another one? Mystery Bolter or Strategic Defense or Redtail or Just Say No
just read the descriptions.

as far as getting a clue goes? it doesn't take much to look at a route and say "wow, that looks really long" or "i can count at least 14 bolts, wonder if we have enough rope?"

best wishes for a full and fast recovery; its going to take twice as long for someone so experienced to heal from such a novice mistake.
By kovacs69
From: Dallas, TX
Apr 1, 2011
This will just get worse as ropes get smaller in diameter and longer in length. Years ago the 50 meter rope was standard now I see companies selling up to 100 meter ropes. When I go in June I am taking two 70 meter ropes knowing that one rope will be enough on much of what I am planning to climb but will be more than enough for those extra long rappels.

Also, mark the 1/2 way point on your ropes so your partner can tell when you are in too deep for just 1 rope.

JB
By JeanGClimbs
From: Reading, VT
Apr 13, 2011
Looking for a level site to park VW pop-up camper van. Would like to be in the middle area near Bath Rock/Windows Arch, in the 30s or 40s. Anyone have beta about sites in a that are definitely NOT level or are likely good and level?
By Matt Brodhead
From: Logan, UT
Apr 17, 2011
Most of the sites are fine. I see campers all the time and everyone seems happy.
By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Jun 8, 2011
is june a good time to visit?
By Bruce C. Anderson
From: Kuna, Id
Jun 10, 2011
June is a great time to come to the City of Rocks, not too hot in the day time, but a little chill at night, Great for a good nights sleep, with fantastic climbing the next day!
By Ryan A. Ray
From: Keller, TX
Jun 11, 2011
what is the best most current guidebook to the city of rocks? I may be making a road trip to climb there at the end of june and would like to purchase the books in advance. Thanks.
By chongo pantz
From: park city, ut
Jul 19, 2011
Dave Bingham's book is the one you want. The other "author" used it to write his version.
By James Garrett
Sep 2, 2011
Almost 50% of the bolts we clipped had loose hangers. Also on very new and modern routes? A wrench might be recommended standard equipment? At both Castle Rock and the City?
By Jamotron
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Sep 10, 2011
at bumblie wall left a pair of white 5.10 ladies shoes with velcro straps and purple flower on the toe size 6.5-7 anybody seeen em?
By Philip Green
Feb 8, 2012
Can anyone confirm if Dave Bingham's current guide is Edition 7. The reason I ask is Amazon states it as being published in 2004 but I have read comments that the 2006 edition has better pictures and topo's for finding routes. I am wondering if they are the same edition. Is there any word of an updated edition coming out or any new guides of the area?

Total aside but is there any good places to swim in the area? Lakes, Rivers etc.
By chalk jockey
From: twin falls
Apr 10, 2012
Durfees hot springs. super nice. north end of almo. you can usually get in on the weekend nights, but open hours change seasonally so better call ahead 208-824-5701 or 208-824-5543.
By Jason Shumaker
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
May 21, 2012
site 59 and 60 are labeled as 'walk in' they should change that to hike in. they are about a 1/4 mile from the parking area and vehicles are not allowed at the site. great spots for being secluded.
By hws
Jun 12, 2012
How far is it to a grocery store & beer? We are camping for a week. Anything else we should know? It's next week - June 18. Can't wait!
By Doug Lintz
From: Kearney, NE
Jun 14, 2012
Less than 10 minutes if you're camping for free on the BLM land south of town. It's maybe 15 to 20 minutes depending on your campsite in the Reserve.

Rock City is a nice little store at the south end of town where you turn to drive up into CoR. They have plenty of beer and make pizza and sandwiches too. It's a nice place to hang out after a day of climbing. You can also access the wifi from the BLM office nearby. You'll need to register for it and they'll give you 30 minutes a day for free. Ask the people in the store for more details.

Enjoy. City of Rocks is sweet!
By James Yates
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 18, 2013
Accidentally left a #2 yellow BD camalot on the small ledge just below the first bolt on Loch Ness Monster at Bath Rock. The cam was not clipped to the rope and as such I forgot to clean it upon finishing the climb. About two hours later I realized I had left it, and went back and it was gone. If you stumbled across this camalot and are in the need of some extra karma points please PM me so we can work out a return.
Thanks
By W Viner
Oct 7, 2013
Are there any access problems at City of Rocks due to the government shutdown? It looks as if some of the campsites are closed, are there any other restrictions?
By Bruce C. Anderson
From: Kuna, Id
Oct 7, 2013
Just called them and they said that only campsites 5-51 are open, and they have reduced the area that is open to the old state park boundries. There will be maps showing where you can go at the visitor's center
By Lucas Kramer 1
Feb 5, 2014
I am thinking of trying to convince some friends to head to City mid March. Good idea? The post above says average daily temps of 50. "Feels-like" true? Gov't site says pleasant April through w/e.

Should I continue with my plan or choose somewhere else? Folks who have been there in March, thoughts? Seems like some climb year round, just want to get a better feel.
By S.Lee
Mar 28, 2014
Lucas I just spent tue-thur there (25th-27th). Tue was amazing weather, then a storm blew in and it was scattered snow for wed and thur. Bottom line this time of year is probably fine if the weather report for the area doesn't indicate a storm coming in.
By splitclimber
Apr 8, 2014
can anyone recommend campsites that are close to the majority of climbs? We have a pop-up camper and prefer not to break down camp every day and drive to climbs? Would a bike be a good idea to get to climbs?

thx.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Apr 9, 2014
With the exception of the Twin Sisters area and the upper elevation campsites (can't remember their names but they are the northern most sites) all major climbing areas are walkable from most any campsite- 40 minutes is probably the longest walk to get to an area you would come up against, and it would be a great walk. No bikes needed- the trails aren't overly bike friendly anyways.
By Lucas LePrey
Jun 26, 2014
Hey all,

Looking to get in contact with a group of climbers from Portland that we met at Window rock East. We dropped a couple cams (BD #3 and BD #4) by your stuff and you must have accidentally grabbed them mistaking them for yours. Please contact us so we can work out an exchange.

Lucas LePrey
763-538-1868
lleprey@gmail.com
By Elliott686
From: Tonka bay, MN
Oct 2, 2014
I lost a Blue Nalgene with Black Duct tape around webbing with an oval on it in the City of rocks two weeks ago. If any body found this I would pay to get it back. This water bottle although inexpensive to replace has been with me up El cap twice, Mt Watkins, Half Dome, routes in the Black, Skiied with me on spines in AK, Pillows in BC and every adventure in between. Ive had it for 5 years and to get it back would be an insane gift. If found contact me at 303.957.6455 and we can work it out. Thanks!
Elliott Bernhagen