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Areas in The Sawtooth Range

Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4 / 0 / 5 / 5
Chipmunk Perch 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Cirque Lake Peak (Central Tower) 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
El Capitan 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Elephant's Perch, The 18 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 18 / 18
Finger of Fate 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 3
Grand Mogul 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Horstmann Peak 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 1
Mt. Ne'er-do-well 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Super Slab 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Warbonnet Peak 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 1
Elevation: 6,560 ft
GPS: 44.149, -114.918 Google Map · Climbing Map
Shared By: Brad Brandewie on Jan 6, 2007
Admins: WAGbag, Mike Engle

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.

34 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Sawtooth Range

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Steep Snow
Chockstone Couloir
Trad, Snow, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Regular Route (aka Central Gully)
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
SE Face
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Open Book
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Mountaineer's Route
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
BINO BOOK
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Astro Elephant
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Wafer of Woe
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
TIPTOES
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Myopia
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Divine Guidance
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Direct Beckey
Trad, Alpine 12 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
The Fine Line
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Original Beckey
Trad, Alpine 12 pitches
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Sunrise Book
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Steep Snow Trad, Snow, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad, Alpine 12 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad, Alpine 12 pitches
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
More Classic Climbs in The Sawtooth Range »

Weather Averages

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The Elephant's Perch shop in Ketchum knows a ton about routes in the area. They have a collection of hand drawn topos. Jul 10, 2016
AWinters   NH  
This place is so amazing. Nov 7, 2014
Amylee T
Flagastaff, AZ
Amylee T   Flagastaff, AZ
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. Jan 23, 2014
Scotty Nelson
Boulder
Scotty Nelson   Boulder
Is late June a bad time to climb the Elephant's Perch? Apr 11, 2007
Duncan Murray
Salt Lake City
Duncan Murray   Salt Lake City
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! Jan 26, 2007

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