From Albion Idaho
Feb 5, 2013
Twin Falls ice is an interesting beast. (95% of the routes are 40-70 feet tall, and WI 3-4) Good enough to get you pumped if you run laps. You will probably be the only one climbing even on Saturdays.
Here is the life cycle of the water there.
As water flows vertically under the City of Twin it hits horizontal impermeable units of Basalt. The Basalt was laid down like a stack of pancakes. The water then flows North down hill toward the river underground. Once the water reaches the sidewalls of the canyon it is exposed to subfreezing temperatures and freezes, but often only on the vertical side of the basalt flow. (i.e. Ice doesn't grow on horizontal surfaces. Too much sun?) Often dirt, vegetation, bottles, and trash will form on anything horizontal.
Why the science lesson?
Because it helps in understanding why the ice disappears when you top out on a route, and why there are no top anchors when you finish. Often climbers will make a V-thread just below the lip on the last good ice and lower off. Some folks try to make an anchor out of grass, weeds, and bushes that grow just out of reach above the ice. I've found that if you stick your picks at the highest point possible on the last bit of ice, then let go of the handles and grab the top of the axe, pushing down in a mantle type motion, a person can kind of walrus up onto the wet dirty ledge. From there he can bring up a second with a hip belay, or maybe you can set up an anchor on a stolen car bumper, shopping cart, or natural vegies mentioned before.
Twin Falls is not a great destination, but like sniffing the glue, it passes the time. Some years, its the closest/best ice for folks in the Boise area.
1) park at the welcome center and walk down the asphalt path downstream to the first big Juniper Tree near the canyon lip. Some fixed slings will give you a 60 meter rap down to the lower levels. One more short rap will get you to the good ice.
2) Take a right (west) at Golden Coral and drive down into the canyon via a neighborhood street, go slow, then make the switch back. Be sure to stop at the switch back and look at Idaho's hardest mixed route.
Park at the bottom and bushwack painfully up stream till you see the ice you'd like to climb.
Reversing option #2 is the best way out of the canyon.