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The Sawtooth Range

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Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie 
Chipmunk Perch 
Diamond Peak 
Elephant's Perch, The 
Finger of Fate 
Mt. Ne'er-do-well 

Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

The Sawtooth Range 


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Location: 44.1487, -114.9184 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Jan 6, 2007
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A shot of the range from the docks.

Description 

The Sawtooth Range in central Idaho is one of the most beautiful and overlooked alpine climbing destinations in the United States. Only two and a half hours northeast of Boise (1hr north of Sun Valley), these mountains tower above the tiny town of Stanley and offer an incredibly pristine setting in which to climb.

Topping out under 11,000 feet, these granite peaks cover an area roughly 30 miles tall and 20 miles wide. The range was protected by Congress in 1972 when they designated it the Sawtooth Wilderness and a National Recreation Area. The Sawtooths are also one of the pilot sites for the 'Fixed Anchor Ban', so new routing can be tricky. Fortunately the rock is often vertically fractured, lending itself to natural protection.

The best month for rock climbing is August, but there is some type of climbing to be had all year long. Many impressive couloirs split the jagged peaks and towers and exposed alpine scrambles are far too numerous to count. Winter here is very cold.

The Elephant's Perch is the center of rock climbing in the range, offering 25+ routes from 5.9 to A4 and up to 12 pitches in length. Other standouts include the Finger of Fate, The Super Slabs, Barron Spire, Mount Heyburn, Blue Rock Buttress, and the extremely remote North and South Rakers.

Though the rock quality is impeccable in some places, there is no shortage of bad rock in this range, so expect some adventure when you're off the beaten path.

There is no modern guidebook to the area, but many of the classics have topos that can be found online. Beyond that, the best overview for the range may be Idaho - A Climbers Guide by Tom Lopez.

Stanley offers a few restaurants, a small grocery, laundry, and hotel rooms during the summer tourist season.


Getting There 

From the west on Interstate 84:

1. Take the ID-21 / GOWEN ROAD exit- EXIT 57- toward IDAHO CITY.
2. Follow ID-21 for 3 hours through Idaho City and Lowman to reach Stanley.

From the east on Interstate 84:

1. Turn north on 93 (used to be 75) near Twin Falls.
2. 93 will become 75 and leads over Galena Pass into the Sawtooth Valley.

From the northeast:

1. Take 93 south through Challis.
2. A few miles south of Challis turn right (west) on 75 and proceed to Stanley.


23 Total Routes


['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',4],['5.10',9],['5.11',7],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Sawtooth Range:
Open Book   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 800'   Finger of Fate
Mountaineer's Route   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Sideline   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Astro Elephant   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Splittgerber-March Direct   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Myopia   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Direct Beckey   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
The Fine Line   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Original Beckey   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Sunrise Book   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Browse More Classics in The Sawtooth Range

Featured Route For The Sawtooth Range
Such a cool stemming corner <br />

Original Beckey 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a  ID : The Sawtooth Range : The Elephant's Perch
The original line of the Beckey route, starting up what is now p1 of Fine Line, and then going up a hard stemming pitch to join what is now the Direct Beckey. Most people do the Direct Beckey or Fine Line instead.FFA(pitch one): Greg Lowe, Jeff Lowe, 1972FFA(entire route): Reid Dowdle, Paul Potters, 1985 or 1986...[more]   Browse More Classics in ID

Photos of The Sawtooth Range Slideshow Add Photo
Shirley rapping off the summit ridge of Warbonnet Peak.  Cool rappel but not sure if it's the best way down...(2003).
Shirley rapping off the summit ridge of Warbonnet ...
the Grand Mogul from Redfish Lake
BETA PHOTO: the Grand Mogul from Redfish Lake
The northern end of the Sawtooths as seen from Lower Stanley.
The northern end of the Sawtooths as seen from Low...
Finger of Fate, Sawtooths
Finger of Fate, Sawtooths
The Sawtooth Range as seen from the viewpoint on Galena Pass. This is your first view of the range if you are coming from Sun Valley/Ketchum.
The Sawtooth Range as seen from the viewpoint on G...
Approach map for Elephant's Perch and Finger of Fate, adapted from map by Mark Weber
BETA PHOTO: Approach map for Elephant's Perch and Finger of Fa...
Elephants Perch <br /><a href='http://rjohnasay.blogspot.com/2013/07/sawtooths-alpine-lake-elephants-perch.html' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >rjohnasay.blogspot.com/2013/07/sawtooths-alpine-lake-elephan>>></a>
Elephants Perch
rjohnasay.blogspot.com/2013...
Comments on The Sawtooth Range Add Comment
Show which comments
By Duncan
From: Salt Lake City
Jan 26, 2007

Tip: Don't forget your climbing rope, I did and that was a 6 hour drive there from SLC, UT.

The shop in Stanley across from the gas station (higher on the hill) was awesome. The owner hooked me up on a great deal because of our dilemma. Great guy, great store. Stop in!

By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Apr 11, 2007

Is late June a bad time to climb the Elephant's Perch?

By thorn
From: Flagastaff, AZ
Jan 23, 2014

has anyone climbed here in mid may? i am from mt, so i know how inclement the weather can be, just looking for someone with experience this time of year.