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Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie

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Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie 

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Elevation: 9,837'
Location: 44.08542, -115.04384 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,545
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Trevor Bowman on Dec 1, 2007
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Baron Spire from the ridge dividing upper and lowe...


This gorgeous hunk of granite is the preeminent spire in this sector of the Sawtooths, and is home to several noteworthy routes. The ubiquitous Fred Beckey, accompanied by Pete Schoening and Jack Schwabland, were the first to the summit of Baron Spire (which they dubbed Old Smoothie) and several other formations in the vicinity. One of Baron's most unique and imposing aspects is its summit block, which is actually a massive boulder perched atop the ridge crest. This 120' tall block is composed of bullet orange granite which overhangs on all sides and is entirely absent of cracks. Over three days in the summer of 1949, Beckey and companions surmounted the summit block via a 22 bolt ladder, which to this day remains the only access to the summit.
Prominent Sawtooth pioneer Reid Dowdle has replaced many of the old bolts, but you'll still have to aid up on some pretty manky pieces, including the infamous drill-bit...just keep in mind the mantra "No Cumbre, No Ruta".

There are now ten recorded routes on Baron Spire. Beckey climbed the South Ridge to the summit block. There is apparently a line up the aesthetic northwest face. Dowdle's north ridge route "The Destroying Angel" V, 5.11 is the Sawtooth's longest free climb at 18 pitches. The Fang is a smaller pillar on the north side, with a six-pitch line which doesn't summit the actual spire. The sunny southeast face holds five grade III routes on excellent rock.

Baron Lake, the middle of the three Baron Lakes, offers several nice campsites and good fishing opportunities. From here, it's a stiff 900' slog uphill to the base of the east face routes--approx. 45 minutes. From the lake, you can contour up the ridge and across to the notch between Baron and Peak 9211' to drop down to the North Ridge and other routes.

Getting There 

From Redfish Lake, hike up the manicured trail to the Alpine Lakes and continue over a small pass and drop into the Baron Lakes. It's approximately 9 miles, but generally goes quickly and takes between 4-5 hours.

Climbing Season

4 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie
The start of the route is labeled.

Lawdogs' Lament 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A1-2  ID : The Sawtooth Range : Baron Spire aka Old Smoothi...
The obvious major chimney cleaving the southeast face. Named in honor of an unfortunate encounter with the local law enforcement and our friend's narrow escape from their heavy hand. An excellent, sustained route with great climbing throughout, especially the incredible third pitch! Scramble up ledges and corners 50 to a great flat ledge left of the chimney proper.Pitch 1: Squirm up the chimney for almost a full ropelength. The crux is a short ways up, with some squeeze moves. Chockstone bulges...[more]   Browse More Classics in ID

Photos of Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie Slideshow Add Photo
An underdrilled buttonhead partway up the Beckey bolt ladder.
An underdrilled buttonhead partway up the Beckey b...
The north ridge of Baron Spire. <br />
The north ridge of Baron Spire.
Baron Spire east face and southeast face. <br />
Baron Spire east face and southeast face.
Stylish on the first couple bolts of the Beckey bolt ladder.
Stylish on the first couple bolts of the Beckey bo...
Silicon Tower to Baron Spire, with middle Baron Lake in the foreground.
Silicon Tower to Baron Spire, with middle Baron La...
One of the many fine bolts on the Beckey ladder, this one protects a couple free moves near the top.
One of the many fine bolts on the Beckey ladder, t...
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