Category Archives: Snake River Canyon
A while back, IDAHO magazine posted this photo on our Facebook page. It was taken by Robert Ford, who came across the old stone cabin beside the river in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, about eleven miles north of Grand View. “An interesting homestead,” he wrote, “but not sure of its history.”
Later, we received a response to the post from Steph Baldwin, who wrote that a man named Eric Jacobsen grew up in Grand View, where his family has lived for generations. Steph knew that Eric was familiar with the history of the cabin, but he said Eric didn’t use email. It was to our surprise and satisfaction, then, that we eventually did receive a note from Eric. Continue reading →
On the river, we dip our paddles into the reservoir’s slack water and head upstream into a stiff breeze. We make good progress on our standup paddleboards (SUPs) and soon leave powerboats and fishermen behind. The canyon walls narrow and become steeper as the calm water gives way to the river current once again. On our left, a hundred-foot-tall waterfall pours over the canyon’s rim. Ahead of us lies a bizarre landscape of sculpted and bleached white rock. Because it’s late summer and a dry year, the once mighty Snake River has been lowered by irrigation, reduced to a serpentine channel carved into the bedrock of the canyon. Still paddling upstream, we navigate the channel, which is barely ten feet across in places. Springs feed small cascades that spill over the rock walls and into the river. Finally, the river becomes so constricted that we pull the SUPs onto dry bedrock and consider our options.
As a photographer with an appreciation for adventure and nature, I spend much of my time exploring Idaho’s outdoor and recreational opportunities. Last year, as summer was quickly drawing to a close, I wanted to take advantage of one more weekend of warm weather. Figuring a river adventure would be a fitting close to the season, I made a couple of calls, to my son Elijah and daughter Jessica. They were eager for an adventure and we agreed to explore the Snake River on SUPs. Our plan was to paddle thirty to forty miles of the Snake in south-central Idaho while visiting some of the more iconic attractions along its course. Continue reading →
The sheer rock walls of the Snake River Canyon are laced with sinewy waterfalls during temperate months, but with the onset of winter and plummeting temperatures, these delicate cascades freeze. Taking on the form of veined curtains of glass and columns of crystal, this transient world becomes a frozen palace where the ice climber reigns.
For more than two decades I have sought out the bizarre adventures of this fragile kingdom, and I’m not alone in pursuit of it. Other climbers also have been visiting these ice formations for years, and these days I often am accompanied by my son Elijah and various friends, such as longtime climber David Weber, to whom I’m not related except in our passion for climbing ice.
“Ice climbing? It looks crazy to me. Too dangerous. No offense, but I think you are truly insane.”
How many times have I heard that argument from casual observers? And on some level I have to agree. Continue reading →