Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Photo Special: The Channel of Idaho!

This fall, Kyle and I spent two days bouldering at The Channel (aka Black Magic Canyon) in central Idaho. The area is certainly unique; when you walk through the canyon you are essentially walking along a river bed that is submerged by several meters of water for half the year.  In the winter, the water that ordinarily flows through The Channel is diverted for agriculture, and so climbers have a seasonal window of opportunity (mid-October to mid-April) to enjoy the fantastically eroded shapes of the area.

Visiting the area early in the season is a bit surreal, as the walls of the canyon (and all the holds) are draped with drying algae and snails, and periodically one walks by a pile of dead fish lying among the gravels.  Despite the fact that we had to sweep off all the problems we tried, we had a fantastic time.  If you are a climber, you will be blown away; if you are a route-setter or hold-shaper you will enjoy the climbing on an even deeper level.  The Channel is all about climbing on shapes, rather than holds, and as such the bouldering is athletic without being painful, and tends to be simultaneously aesthetic and intellectual. (So yes, in terms of quality of lines and the quality of the rock, it's pretty much the best area I've ever been to; the only downside is that you are in a little canyon, so you are fairly limited in terms of view.)

At any rate, I took hundreds of photos of some of the shapes we saw in The Channel, so I thought I would share a few more with you.  Cheers!

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