The Elephant's Perch
> Central Idaho
> Sawtooth Range
From a climbers perspective, the Elephants Perch is possibly Idahos best piece of stone. Not just because of the quality lines and solid granite though, its the whole experience.
You start with a nice, 5-mile boat ride across Redfish Lake. As the miles pass on the water, youll be glad you paid the $10 for the ride. From the far end of the lake its a steep and pristine, 3-mile hike to the camping below the Perch. If youre out of shape, you will know it in the last mile.
It would be difficult to overstate the beauty of this camp. Youre 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 Goats 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 wont 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 Mountaineers 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 climbers 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 its your first time.
Take the boat across (or hike around) Redfish Lake and begin hiking up the main drainage. Youre 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.
Routes from Left to Right
Camp below The Elephant's Perch.
At the top of the descent gully with Saddleback Lakes and camp visible below.
not all bivy sites are created equal
One of the many beautiful Brook Trout caught out of Saddleback Lakes.
A very nice piece of stone
The Elephants Perch Elephant mushrooms "be aware"
Alpine glow on the Perch.
Saddleback lakes as seen from the ledge on Astro-Elephant. Ridiculous beauty.
View of Saddleback Lack from top of Perch