Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
The Sawtooth Range

Select Area...
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

Castle Divide
A unique and amazing Idaho backcountry route up and over the White Cloud mountains. Near Sun Valley, ID
Washington Lake
A high alpine singletrack traverse through the White Cloud Mountains. Near Sun Valley, ID
Fourth of July Creek
Short punchy climbs at altitude. Near Sun Valley, ID
Antz Basin
The heart of the white cloud mountains. Near Stanley, ID
Harriman Trail
Enjoyable cruise along the beautiful Big Wood River. Near Sun Valley, ID
Osberg Ridge Trail
Amazing traverse on high alpine singletrack. A new but Classic Sun Valley Ride. Near Ketchum, ID
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

The Sawtooth Range 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 44.1487, -114.9184 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 308,880
Administrator: Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Jan 6, 2007
Forecast:
Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Clear
74° | 44°
Clear
76° | 47°
Clear
75° | 47°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
66° | 37°
Clear
62° | 34°
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [3 people like this page.]
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.


Climbing Season


25 Total Routes


['4 Stars',10],['3 Stars',9],['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',8],['5.12',2],['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- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 800'   Finger of Fate
Mountaineer's Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Sideline   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Astro Elephant   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Splittgerber-March Direct   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Myopia   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Direct Beckey   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
The Fine Line   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Original Beckey   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Sunrise Book   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Browse More Classics in The Sawtooth Range

Featured Route For The Sawtooth Range
topo by Reid Dowdle, with some edits

Myopia 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  ID : The Sawtooth Range : The Elephant's Perch
Beautiful direct corner system up a steep clean wall. A one move technical crux, followed by a sustained stemming pitch and several other moderate 5.10 pitches....[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 Scrivm
Jun 27, 2014
CONDITION REPORT 

Update on Stur Chimney. The Stur seems to be in extra loose condition this year. Multiple parties (that I know of) have dislodged significant amounts of precariously lodged debris. Seems that the chimney is in a purging cycle and will be hazardous until it reaches an equilibrium. Travel with care.

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.