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The Sawtooth Range

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Baron Spire aka Old Smoothie 
Chipmunk Perch 
Cirque Lake Peak (Central Tower) 
El Capitan 
Elephant's Perch, The 
Finger of Fate 
Grand Mogul 
Horstmann Peak 
Mt. Ne'er-do-well 
Super Slab 
Warbonnet Peak 
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The Sawtooth Range Rock Climbing 

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Location: 44.1487, -114.9184 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: WAGbag, Mike Engle, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Jan 6, 2007


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Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: the Grand Mogul from Redfish Lake


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

Weather station 1.6 miles from here

32 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Sawtooth Range

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Sawtooth Range:
Chockstone Couloir   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Steep Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 1200'   Grand Mogul
Regular Route (aka Central Gully)   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   Super Slab
SE Face   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700'   Warbonnet Peak
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
BINO BOOK   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 800'   Finger of Fate
Sideline   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
Astro Elephant   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     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   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches   The Elephant's Perch
The Fine Line   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     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 Rock Climbing Classics in The Sawtooth Range

Featured Route For The Sawtooth Range
Rock Climbing Photo: Don Cambell on pitch 3

BINO BOOK 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  Idaho : The Sawtooth Range : Finger of Fate
Pitch 1 Start far right of the Open Book route. GO until you can see some pine trees up the wall. Then start climbing just right of the trees on the lower face. This is class 4 scrambling to the trees. Climb until the tress are reached, then go left to a bigger flat spot. This the end of the pitchPitch 2 is the crux of the climb. At this point start up left of the balay you'll see a horizontal crack. This is a awkward crack it is the only place for protection. Once past this spot continue up the...[more]   Browse More Classics in Idaho

Photos of The Sawtooth Range Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Shirley rapping off the summit ridge of Warbonnet ...
Shirley rapping off the summit ridge of Warbonnet ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finger of Fate, Sawtooths
Finger of Fate, Sawtooths
Rock Climbing Photo: The northern end of the Sawtooths as seen from Low...
The northern end of the Sawtooths as seen from Low...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Sawtooth Range
The Sawtooth Range
Rock Climbing Photo: A shot of the range from the docks.
A shot of the range from the docks.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach map for Elephant's Perch and Finger of Fa...
BETA PHOTO: Approach map for Elephant's Perch and Finger of Fa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Elephants Perch
Elephants Perch
Rock Climbing Photo: The Sawtooth Range as seen from the viewpoint on G...
The Sawtooth Range as seen from the viewpoint on G...

Comments on The Sawtooth Range Add Comment
Show which comments
By Duncan Murray
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 Amylee T
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.
By AWinters
From: NH
Nov 7, 2014
This place is so amazing.
By Adam P H
Jul 10, 2016
The Elephant's Perch shop in Ketchum knows a ton about routes in the area. They have a collection of hand drawn topos.

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