Mount Breitenbach

Elevation: 12,140 ft
Prominence: 640

Climbing information for Mount Brietenbach is found on pages 278, 280 and 281 of the Climbing Guide. Also, see Wes Collin’s article on The Lost River Traverse in the Climbing History section.


Mount Brietenbach is located in the Lost River Mountain Range in the Challis National Forest. One of the nine Idaho 12ers, Mount Brietenbach is Idaho’s 5th tallest summit.

It’s a toss up between this 12er and Mount Borah as to which peak possesses the most impressive north face. While Borah’s north face hangs on to its snow and ice and sees more ascents, in my opinion, Brietenbach wins the north face competition. Read about the north Face at this link: Mount Breitenbach’s North Face – North East Ridge and First Ascent.

This page has additional information and photos about Breitenbach’s South Ridge route, its standard approach, as well as information on a West Face approach to the summit. Links to additional information are provided following the photo essays.

USGS Topo: Leatherman Peak

Mount Breitenbach from the west.

Mount Breitenbach from the west. The drainage in the center of this photo is Pete Creek.


South Ridge Route via Pete Creek, Class 3

The south ridge route described in the book has better footing than you might think from viewing the following photographs. Still, there is enough talus to make it an arduous climb when the snow is completely gone.

The hike starts out by ascending the Pete Creek drainage. Larry Prescott Photo

The hike starts out by ascending the Pete Creek drainage. Photo – Larry Prescott

Mount Brietenbach is most often climbed via its south ridge. The approach up Pete Creek is straight forward and gives relatively quick access to the rubble covered slope that leads to the ridge.

Mount Brietenbach is most often climbed via its south ridge. The approach up Pete Creek is straight forward and gives relatively quick access to the rubble covered slope that leads to the ridge.

Approaching the ridge crest.

Approaching the ridge crest.

Looking down Pete Creek from the saddle on the peak's south ridge. Larry Prescott Photo

Looking down Pete Creek from the saddle on the peak’s south ridge. Photo – Larry Prescott

Looking from the saddle to the summit. No Regret Peak is the peak farther along the ridge. Larry Prescott Photo

Looking from the saddle to the summit (right). No Regret Peak is the peak to the left along the ridge. Photo – Larry Prescott

Moving along the ridge near the summit.

Moving along the ridge near the summit.


West Face Route via Jones Creek, Class 3

I have only descended this route, and while it is not too difficult technically, the rotten rock and long walk up Jones Creek make it much harder than the South Ridge Route.

The west face of Mount Brietenbach viewed from the upper reaches of Jones Creek.

The west face of Mount Brietenbach viewed from the upper reaches of Jones Creek.

Two climbers descending the lower face. There a number of cliffs to skirt around on this route and enough lose rock to trip any climber up.

Two climbers descending the lower face. There are a number of cliffs to skirt around on this route and enough lose rock to trip any climber up.

The actual crux may a series of cliffs lower down in Jones Creek. I've ascended Jones Creek three time. It is constantly changing terrain full of ruble.

The actual crux may be a series of cliffs lower down in Jones Creek. I’ve ascended Jones Creek three time. It is constantly changing terrain full of ruble.


Also, visit these pages for additional information

Return to the Idaho 12ers page

Mountain Range: Lost River Range

Year Climbed: 1991

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: North Face
  • Year: 1983
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Bob Boyles, Mike Weber and Curtis Olson.

Longitude: -113.6729   Latitude: 44.06511

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