The Riddler

Elevation: 11,598 ft
Prominence: 600

Climbing information for this peak is found on pages 308 to 309.


Although the Riddler is only a few feet shorter than towering Bell Mountain it is overshadowed by massive Diamond Peak and seems a lesser mountain to those who have not climbed it. Nevertheless, the Riddler is a spectacular peak and one of the most difficult Idaho peaks to summit. As a result only a few people have climbed this hidden gem.

Rick Baugher made the first ascent in 1990, pioneering a route up the south face. In 2002, Wes Collins made the first ascent of north ridge by traversing over from Diamond Peak. Climbing the peak via the south face involves a 16 mile round trip which gains over 4,700 feet.  Chuck & David Ferguson summited, via SE Face route, Oct 1996. Rick Baugher believes this was the second ascent.

On this page you will find route photos from my climb and a trip report from  a climb by Judi Steciak and Carl Hamke. Also, use the link below to view John Platt’s and Larry Prescott’s well documented trip reports. The register was gone when I climbed the peak in 2015. Fortunately, Judi and Carl’s report (below) documents what was in the register when they climbed the peak.


Baugher Southeast Face Route. Class 3

This photo of the south face by Judi Steciak accurately shows the Southeast Face route pioneered by Rick Baugher in 1990. The photo was taken from Big Boy Peak. Please note that when you are at the base of the face, the perspective is much different and it takes a bit of study and experience to find the route through the confusing face from below.

This photo of the south face by Judi Steciak accurately shows the Southeast Face route pioneered by Rick Baugher in 1990. The photo was taken from Big Boy Peak. Please note that when you are at the base of the face, the perspective is much different and it takes a bit of study and experience to find the route through the confusing face from below.

Rick Baugher’s pioneering route on the southeast face is, in my mind, a crowning achievement. While the route line can be divined from the summit of Big Boy Peak, it is not visible from the base of the complicated, steep, rugged face. Finding the route was an impressive accomplishment as was making the first ascent.

A Google Earth image showing the southeast face.

A Google Earth image showing the southeast face.

This is my GPS Track for the Riddler. Note that my GPS measured the route at 19.6 miles. My iPhone measured 16.5. Larry Prescott's GPS measured 16.0 miles. In any event, it's a long jaunt.

This is my GPS Track for the Riddler. Note that my GPS measured the route at 19.6 miles. My iPhone measured 16.5. Larry Prescott’s GPS measured 16.0 miles. In any event, it’s a long jaunt.

From the end of the Pass Creek Road, an ATV continues up the Middle Fork Pass Creek. Follow it for roughly 1.5 miles and the turn into the drainage that leads to the southeast face. Cattle trails run up this valley until it steepens.

From the end of the Pass Creek Road, an ATV continues up the South Fork Pass Creek. Follow it for roughly 1.5 miles and the turn into the drainage that leads to the southeast face. Cattle trails run up this valley until it steepens.

The drainage is surprisingly park like for much of its distance.

The drainage is surprisingly park like for much of its distance.

In some ways the valley resembles a braided River as it does not have a well defined stream bed. Instead you will find that your route meanders between draws and steep slopes.

In some ways the valley resembles a braided River as it does not have a well defined stream bed. Instead you will find that your route meanders between draws and steep slopes.

The trees thin out around 9,700 feet. This photo looks back down the drainage.

The trees thin out around 9,700 feet. This photo looks back down the drainage.

From treeline you enter a world of talus and broken cliffs. This photo shows the long slog to the upper basin.

From treeline you enter a world of talus and broken cliffs. This photo shows the long slog to the upper basin.

Once through the cliff band showed in the last photo my route followed the red line which in the lower section is to the right of the original route.

Once through the cliff band showed in the last photo my route followed the red line which in the lower section is to the right of the original route.

Taking a break at the point where the route leaves the talus and starts climbing talus covered slabs.

Taking a break at the point where the route leaves the talus and starts climbing talus covered slabs.

Larry Prescott mid-way up the gully. He is getting ready to move to his left into a parallel rill in the gully so that I can follow without getting beaned by falling rock.

Larry Prescott mid-way up the gully. He is getting ready to move to his left into a parallel rill in the gully so that I can follow without getting beaned by falling rock.

Near the top of the gully. John Platt Photo

Near the top of the gully. John Platt Photo

Leaving the top of the gully.

Leaving the top of the gully.

Larry Prescott ascending from the top of the gully to the summit ridge.

Larry Prescott ascending from the top of the gully to the summit ridge.

John Platt on the summit.

John Platt on the summit.

My GPS track superimposed over a Google Earth image.

My GPS track superimposed over a Google Earth image

The route drawn on a Google Earth image.

The route drawn on a Google Earth image.


Judi Steciak provided the following information and photos which  include three route photos and help flesh out this interesting peak’s history.

We followed Rick Baugher’s route on the Riddler; attached is a picture taken from Big Boy. This picture looks like it is taken from the same place as the one in your book. We happened to do the climb in early July after a big snow year and we were pleasantly surprised to be able to thread a snow climb from low on the mountain (around 10,080 ft) all the way past the crux, where we left our ice axes and crampons, followed by a short Class 3 move to a short Class 2 ridge walk to the summit. When the route is free of snow, the Class 4 crux is probably near the top of the final couloir where the snow was the steepest. We never used the rope that we hauled all the way up there. We felt guilty because we did not suffer more.

In 2005, Rob Landis left a note saying that he climbed the face directly to the summit and found Rick Baugher’s note from 15 years earlier. In 2009, Nathan Basford and Jody Butler said they traversed from Diamond Peak. Attached are the pictures we took of these summit notes, sorry that Carl’s hands are in the way of some details.

The route. Steciak Hamke Photo

The route. Steciak Hamke Photo

Looking up the route. Hamke Steciak photo.

Looking up the route. Hamke Steciak photo.

Looking down the route. Hamke Steciak Photo

Looking down the route. Hamke Steciak Photo

IMGP3883 IMGP3884 IMGP3882 IMGP3885

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Diamond Peak/Riddler Traverse (Rating Unknown)

As mentioned above, Wes Collins made the first ascent of the peak’s north ridge. The photo above references the second ascent of this route by Nathan Basford and Jody Butler in 2009. Jody’s register entry refers to the Maze. The ridge this route follows is shown in the photo below. Wes Collins told me the following about the route:

I climbed that in 01 or 02 and the details of some of these mountains have gotten a little fuzzy. I remember one part of that traverse very clearly though; Shortly after passing the saddle from Diamond and starting up the false summit block I spotted a really nice 2″
crack on the North side of the peak leading straight up the first or second big obstacle. It seemed tall then, maybe 60′ but was probably only half that. It was fairly steep, probably 5+ and tremendously exposed but too tempting to pass up. It was kind of a stretch just to reach the crack from the last good ledge and I probably wouldn’t have given that step or the crack a second thought except for the drop on the face below (100′ maybe more). Once I got onto the crack the climbing was easy and very solid, I was on easier ground in no time and from there to the top was a piece of cake. Before trying the crack I scrambled over on the west side of the ridge, the route looked easier on that side but I couldn’t pass up that silly crack. Nowadays I wouldn’t give that a second glance without a belay.

Looking from the Riddler to Diamond Peak. This ridge has been traversed but I do not know the details. George Reinier Photo

Looking from the Riddler to Diamond Peak. This ridge has been traversed but I do not know the details. George Reinier Photo

And one more photo from George Reinier:

The Riddler's southeast face. George Reinier Photo

The Riddler’s southeast face. George Reinier Photo

Mountain Range: Lemhi Range

Year Climbed: 2015

First Ascent Information:

  • First Ascent Year: 1990
  • Season: Summer
  • Route: Southeast Face
  • Party: Rick Baugher
  • Other First Ascent: Diamond Peak to Riddler Traverse
  • Year: 2002
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Wes Collins

Longitude: -113.085747   Latitude: 44.125839

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