This volcanic plug sits just off the road near the Heise Hot Springs Golf Course. It is also referred to as Elephant Rock or Chuck’s Choss Pile.
Aid climbers practiced on this small crag beginning in the early 1970s. With the birth of sport climbing in the ’80s, Jeff Hursh started bolting some the most obvious lines on the south side. When Chuck Oddette moved to Idaho Falls in the late ’80s, he immediately saw the great potential for numerous lines and quickly went to work developing Heise Rock.
- Type of climbing: Sport, with a few lousy trad lines
- Number of routes: 23
- Difficulty range: 5.6 – 5.13a
- Type of rock: Welded tuff
- Season: Spring through late Fall
- Camping: Yes
- Guidebook: Sweet Spots of Eastern Idaho, by Jerry Painter and Matt TeNgaio.
From Idaho Falls drive east on Highway 26 for about 16 miles and turn left at the signs for Kelly Canyon Ski Hill and Heise Hot Springs – continue following the signs to the ski hill. At 3 miles, turn right after crossing the Snake River and continue past the hot springs. Just past the golf course, Heise Rock comes into view on the left. There is a small pullout parking area directly in front of it – be careful of oncoming traffic.
Note To Climbers
In 2006 the field on the east side of Heise Rock was leveled to make way for a future RV campground. In leveling out the ground the base of the wall was raised from 2 feet to 5 feet in places making the first bolt on some climbs useless. The original bolt count is still used in this guide but climbers should be aware of this change and use their own judgement when lead climbing - a stick clip is recommended.
Another issue that has arisen since the opening of the east side campground is that the owners require climbers to check in and obtain a daily pass. The pass is issued at the RV office just across the parking lot from the pizza restaurant. That said, it seems the rules for access change on a daily basis at Heise Rock – they have actually closed the area to climbing on peak summer holidays, (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day). Then the camp manager has even gone as far as to closing climbing on “watering days” which vary thorughout the week. It would be in one’s best interest to check on this website once the season is in swing out there and/or call the RV office, (208.538.7453), before making the drive out there.
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