About Tom

I took my first hike in Idaho in 1972 climbing into the Snake River Range along side Palisades Reservoir. I moved to Idaho in 1978 and have lived here ever since. I have climbed, as of the end of 2016, 560 Idaho peaks, some more than once. The site’s peak list shows the year of my ascent for the peaks I have climbed.

Tom Lopez

[Click here to go to an ARTICLE INDEX covering articles I’ve published in magazines or on this website about places and adventures I’ve had within and outside of Idaho.]

I started collecting information for the book in 1978 when I moved to Salmon to work for the BLM. Finally, in 1990 the first edition, Exploring Idaho’s Mountain, was published. The expanded second edition, Idaho: A Climbing Guide was published in 2000. I started this website in 2000 but added information to it slowly as work and climbing always seemed to take up my time.

I have been fortunate to have climbed with dozens of great climbers over the years. While some of these climbers were one or two peak partners, a few have graced many of my climbs. I climbed well over a hundred Idaho peaks, not to mention peaks in other states and countries, with Dana Hansen (the first woman to climb all the Idaho 12ers) including our first ascents of the north face of USGS Peak and Cabin Creek Peak.

Gary Quigley, Dana Hansen and David Nielsen at the tarn below Mountain Church back when there was no climbers track l, 1987.

Gary Quigley, Dana Hansen and David Nielsen at the tarn below Mount Church back when there was no climbers track through the talus, 1987.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basil Service in the White Clouds.

Basil Service in the White Clouds.

 

Basil Service and I climbed many peaks in central Idaho over a 20 year period. While it’s impossible to say for sure, I suspect Basil has skied more of the Sun Valley backcountry than anyone.

 

 

 

 

Brian Wright during the first ascent of Triple Peak.

Brian Wright during the first ascent of Triple Peak.

 

Brian Wright and I did a lot of technical climbing in late 1990s and early 2000s including climbing some new routes on Slab Butte and making the first ascent of Triple Peak in the Lost River Range.

 

 

 

 

 

With John Platt on the summit of JT Peak.

With John Platt on the summit of JT Peak.

More recently I have done a lot of climbing with John Platt, a climber with relentless energy, including our first ascent of JT Peak. John has lead me across many remote peaks in the area north of McCall.

 

 

 

Tom and Gilbert Gallegos at a Sawtooth trailhead. Andrew Chiles Photo

Tom and Gilbert Gallegos at a Sawtooth trailhead. Andrew Chiles Photo

For the last two years Gilbert Gallegos and I have explored the mountains within 3 hours of Boise, climbing many peaks not found in the book.

 

Dan Robbins on Six Lakes Peak, 2016.

Dan Robbins on Six Lakes Peak, 2016.

 

 

 

I have climbed many peaks with the Man behind Idahosummits.com, Dan Robbins. Dan has also turned me on to many peaks that are not in the book. He is always exploring seldom visited corners of southern Idaho.

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least my wife, Laurie Durocher, has journeyed with me to many Idaho summits as well as Sierra Nevada peaks and Colorado 14ers. Not only that but she has encouraged me to climb when ever the opportunity arises.

Laurie Durocher getting high in the Sierra Nevada.

Laurie Durocher getting high in the Sierra Nevada.

Rappelling of Mount Heyburn 1996.

Rappelling off Mount Heyburn 1996.

Climbing has not changed much since I started but equipment and clothing have changed immensely. Photos taken over the years, as shown in the photos on these pages demonstrate the evolution from blue jeans to hi-tech materials. Clearly, I am not a fashion maven.

1991, a time when short shorts were the thing.

1991, a time when short shorts were the thing.

Before I moved to Idaho I had worked with the Park Service at Crater Lake, Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Parks. One thing these locations had in common was the availability of guidebooks. I really liked the Sierra Club ToteBooks and more specifically, the “Mountaineers Guide to the High Sierra” by Hervey Voge and Andrew Smatko. The book was packed with peaks to climb and not cluttered with details. It identified a peak, named a route, the northeast ridge and told you the rating difficulty. What more does an explorer need?

When I moved to Idaho there were no climbing guidebooks. I remember driving between Salmon and Idaho Falls for the first time in 1978 and seeing Bell Mountain. I knew I had to climb that enticing peak but I could not find any information. It was at that point I decided to write a guide book.

Diamond Peak 1980. Back when blue jeans were proper climbing attire.

Diamond Peak 1980. Back when blue jeans were proper climbing attire.

The late 1970s.

The late 1970s.

To be or not to be. Why do I climb?

To be or not to be. Why do I climb?

Click here to go to an ARTICLE INDEX of articles  I’ve published in magazines or on this website about places and adventures I’ve had within and outside of Idaho.

On the summit of Mount Whitney, August 1972. The first peak I ever climbed.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta at the end of my first ever backpacking trip through Glacier National Park.