Elevation: 12,200 ft
This peak is found on pages 277 to 278. See the discussion below about an alternative west side approach that avoids the Jones Jungle. I have also included John Platt’s new route on the west face father down the page.
Idaho’s third highest 12er is a spectacular summit that was rarely climbed before 1990. Now it is a popular ascent by climbers seeking to climb all nine of Idaho’s 12ers.
See the Donaldson Peak Page for photos and information on climbing the headwall.
Alternative Access via the North Fork Jones Creek.
The traditional approach was via Jones Creek. [(B)(10)] Jones Creek is a rugged, unstable drainage which seem to change every year as the spring run off and healthy vegetation constantly changed the stream bottom and eroded the climbers’ trail. Climbers have established a new approach in the next drainage to the north which is some times called the North Fork Jones Creek.
This approach is reached via Lone Cedar Creek. [(B)(9)]. See the map below. From the end of the road the a good trail leads toward the mouth of the canyon. Once in the canyon, the trail tread is marked and, for the most part, easy to follow. Occasionally, it crosses the intermittent stream and at these spots you might need to look for a cairn to get you back on the tread.once you get above treeline the choice which way to proceed is up to you. The route to the pond at the base of the headwall is obvious.
Please see the Donaldson Peak page for additional details and photos relating to climbing the Church-Donaldson headwall. The standard route to the summit of Mount Church takes you to the top of the headwall just short of the summit of Donaldson Peak.
East Ridge Route.
There are a few obstacles on the East Ridge but most would agree that the crux of the climb is getting to the Church/Donaldson saddle.
West Face Direct. Class 4.
John Platt and his friend Brian climbed the west face of Church which I suspect was a first ascent. Check out John’s trip report for details on this route.