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The Elephant's Perch

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Astro Elephant T 
Chasing the Dragon T 
Direct Beckey T 
Divine Guidance T 
Fine Line, The T 
Mojo  T 
Mountaineer's Route T 
Myopia T 
Original Beckey T 
Sideline T 
Splittgerber-March Direct T 
Sunrise Book T 
Trunkline T 
Unknown T 
Wendy T 

The Elephant's Perch  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 9,870'
Location: 44.06858, -114.97445 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 142,055
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Jan 7, 2007
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From a climberís perspective, the Elephantís Perch is possibly Idahoís best piece of stone. Not just because of the quality lines and solid granite though, itís the whole experience.

You start with a nice, 5-mile boat ride across Redfish Lake. As the miles pass on the water, youíll be glad you paid the $10 for the ride. From the far end of the lake itís a steep and pristine, 3-mile hike to the camping below the Perch. If youíre out of shape, you will know it in the last mile.

It would be difficult to overstate the beauty of this camp. Youíre between the lip of the hanging valley and the first of the Saddleback Lakes, with the Elephant's Perch on one side and the multi-towered massif of the Goatís Perch on the other. Great stuff by any standard. Trout live in the Saddleback Lakes so get a license and pack a rod if you will be taking any rest days.

The Perch itself is a photogenic, golden granite with vertical fractures covering its flanks. It soars roughly 1000 feet for much of its width and hosts around 30 routes. You wonít find many fixed anchors, so be prepared to build your own. The rock quality is excellent, but loose rock does exist, especially on the less-traveled routes.

The easiest and most popular route on the Perch is the 5.9 Mountaineerís Route. Other popular classics include The Direct Beckey, Astro-Elephant, the Sunrise Book, and Myopia.

To descend there are two options:

1. Descend the gully to the climberís right of the Perch. This involves some loose rock and some rappelling.

2. When you top out, go to climber's left and work your way down and left around the bulk of the Perch to eventually meet up with the trail you took to the base. This involves some short downclimbs and may require some scouting around if itís your first time.

Getting There 

Take the boat across (or hike around) Redfish Lake and begin hiking up the main drainage. Youíre heading for the second drainage on the left after the Grand Mogul.

After roughly 2 miles, you leave the main trail and follow a smaller trail up to the base of the Perch. It can be hard to spot the trail junction where you leave the main trail so be alert. You will cross two foot-bridges close to one another and then another one a little farther up the trail. After the third bridge, look for the creek on the left. You want to leave the main trail at its point nearest the creek. You should cross the creek (on logs) within a couple rope lengths of leaving the main trail.

This trail becomes easy to follow after crossing the creek and leads up and right into the valley below the Perch.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.5 miles from here

15 Total Routes

['4 Stars',6],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

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

Featured Route For The Elephant's Perch
topo of Direct Beckey by Reid Dowdle, with some edits

Direct Beckey 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  ID : The Sawtooth Range : The Elephant's Perch
Very attractive direct line up the center of the wall, with several nice 5.10 pitches and a single hard move....[more]   Browse More Classics in ID

Photos of The Elephant's Perch Slideshow Add Photo
Camp below The Elephant's Perch.
Camp below The Elephant's Perch.
At the top of the descent gully with Saddleback Lakes and camp visible below.
At the top of the descent gully with Saddleback La...
Elephants Perch
Elephants Perch
The Elephants Perch  <br />Elephant mushrooms "be aware"
The Elephants Perch Elephant mushrooms "be a...
Alpine glow on the Perch.
Alpine glow on the Perch.
Saddleback lakes as seen from the ledge on Astro-Elephant. Ridiculous beauty.
Saddleback lakes as seen from the ledge on Astro-E...
not all bivy sites are created equal
not all bivy sites are created equal
One of the many beautiful Brook Trout caught out of Saddleback Lakes.
One of the many beautiful Brook Trout caught out o...
The Perch, with Sideline and Astroelephant in view
The Perch, with Sideline and Astroelephant in view
Saddleback Lake
Saddleback Lake
View of Saddleback Lack from top of Perch
View of Saddleback Lack from top of Perch
Matt at pitch 4 of Astro Elephant
Matt at pitch 4 of Astro Elephant
A smoky day at the Perch.
A smoky day at the Perch.
Mountaineer's route
Mountaineer's route
Traveling light! (Believe it or not, this is two people's gear for a 2 night stay at the trailhead!)
Traveling light! (Believe it or not, this is two p...
Our camp at Saddleback Lakes
Our camp at Saddleback Lakes
The Elephants perch <br />Summit View <br />Photo by Aerili
The Elephants perch Summit View Photo by Aerili
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...
At the end of our hike in - nice camp site here by the lake
At the end of our hike in - nice camp site here by...
Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right <br /> <br />14. The Thorn Bush 5.9 A3  <br />13. Slipstream 5.10 A3  <br />12. Hook & Ladder 5.9 A3  <br />11. Direct Beckey 5.11a **  <br />10. Original Beckey 5.11+, stemming pitch from Fine Line to Direct Beckey  <br />9. The Fine Line 5.11a ***  <br />9a. Fine Line Var. 5.8 A3  <br />8. Lost Horizons 5.10 A2+  <br />7. The Seagull 5.10 A3  <br />6. King's Highway 5.9 A3
BETA PHOTO: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right 14. The Thorn B...
Elephant's Perch - South Face <br /> <br />8. Lost Horizons 5.10 A2+  <br />7. The Seagull 5.10 A3  <br />6. King's Highway 5.9 A3  <br />5. Myopia 5.11a ***  <br />4. Divine Guidance 5.11- *  <br />3a. Elephant's Eye Var. 5.10+ A3  <br />3. Elephant's Eye 5.10+ A3  <br />2. Astro Elephant 5.10a **  <br />2.A. Sideline Variation 5.9  <br />1. Sunrise Book 5.12a or 5.10a A1 **  <br />
BETA PHOTO: Elephant's Perch - South Face 8. Lost Horizons 5....
Perfect composition.
Perfect composition.
Hiking back to catch the boat across Redfish Lake.
Hiking back to catch the boat across Redfish Lake.

Show All 39 Photos

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Comments on The Elephant's Perch Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 17, 2013
By beavs
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Apr 8, 2007
This is without a doubt one of the prime alpine areas in the country. My time there was limited so my partner and I only climbed the Beckey Direct, but this climb alone is well worth the trip up there. There are also many stellar boulders scattered about in the trees below the Perch. We started climbing on them and were blown away by the quantity and quality of problems.
By mountainyack
May 13, 2011
My last trip to the Perch was, as always, amazing except for the climbers and their trash. A group of dread-headed posers wearing typical 'modern-hippie' shirts tented up proximate to the trail. They had an obnoxious dog that loved to bark AND bite. "Relax, man, our dog is chill" as it whipped is chain leash to reach it's assumed target (my leg!). What a bunch of douche-bags. Maybe they climbed hard. Anyways...

Just be courteous to fellow users of the Sawtooths -- don't be an asshole, people. This place, more importantly than an austerely beautiful cliff, is a even more beautiful mountain range. Respect it. Know the rules!

When I was there last, trash was scattered about: beer cans, wrappers, and human shit and tp poorly covered by rocks. Climbers have a reputation among the land management agencies that is similar to that of Boy Scouts -- bad! I have family who work in the USFS in the Sawtooths. They tell me these things.

Just because climb the Perch doesn't mean you own the place. Feel free to dirty your carpet or leave beer out at your place, but in the Sawtooths you're a GUEST. This place is a palace. Treat it like one. Let's leave it pristine and clean for future climbers and patrons to enjoy.
By hanshan
From: Canada Mofuga
Jul 30, 2011
I pulled a 'fixed' nut and whipped (past my belayer) on the 12a corner of sunrise book this week. Kinda got scared since that belay sucks- small nuts behind a flake, and bailed off a green camalot and a grey c4. They are there if you want them.
By claramie
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 9, 2012
The Elephant's Perch is not to be missed. This amazing cirque is great for both climbers and non-climbers, so bring your non-climber friends for some excellent alpine backpacking, fishing and beautiful scenery as you climb.

Two things to note: 1) the right side of the wall (astro elephant, etc) gets sun much earlier than the left side of the wall and can get really hot. 2) when descending the gully and eventually reaching the chock-boulder, go out left to the tree on the other formation. Single 60 rap to the ground. Don't bother downclimbing around the boulder.
By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Jul 25, 2012
FYI: the boat ride is $16 bucks round trip, or $10 one way. It leaves the Redfish Lodge Marina anytime as long as you have 2 people. It picks up from the inlet at 9,11,1,3,5,7 at the dock you get dropped off at, or anytime someone else is being dropped off.
By Jim D
Aug 17, 2012
Is there a guidebook for this area worth getting? Or should I just go purely off what's on Mountain Project?

Is the road in to Finger of Fate passable with a regular old Durango or do I need some jeep with a lift to get in there?
By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Aug 19, 2012
The road to Finger of Fate was a little rough, but not that bad. My Subaru didn't have any problems. Idaho, A Climber's Guide by Tom Lopez has some beta in it.
By Rob Dillon
Nov 14, 2012
Cool FA story from the 70's here on the Taco.
By Erik S. Gillis
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Jul 11, 2013
So I left my new 510 moccasins at the base of Myopia July 7th 2013. If any body finds them could you please email me at erkgillis@gmail.com thanks
By shakey
Jul 17, 2013
Hey does anyone have any info on routes that go up the tusk? I've heard there's an 11 but not much else as far as description (possibly runout?). Any info would be great!