Bob Boyles

Bob grew up in Boise and started hiking and camping in Idaho when he joined the local Boy Scout Troop 77 at age 11. In pursuit of his Hiking Merit badge, Bob learned about the “ultimate” local scout hike – the 50-miler through the Sawtooth range. While his troop never organized such a trip, he and his friends did, and later made several crossings of the entire range, including several in winter on skis.

In the summer of 1972, Bob took his first technical rock climbing class at the Tablerock quarry where he honed his rock climbing skills and shortly after started exploring and climbing at the Black Rocks outside of Boise. Not wanting to hang up their climbing gear in winter, Bob and his friends started ice climbing in the canyon above Highway 21 in the winter of 1973. He remembers, “People used to beep their horns at us and stop in the middle of the highway to watch these crazy guys sticking to the short, vertical ice formations that formed in the canyon. One thing led to another, and after getting a tip from a friend who farmed near Twin Falls, we went spent a couple of winters climbing the multi-pitch ice formations in the Snake River Canyon. That was scary stuff and we’re lucky we didn’t get killed or injured using our primitive 70 cm ice axes and alpine hammers on vertical ice.”

Throughout the 70s and 80s Bob and his friends treated climbing and skiing like a career and ventured throughout the West in pursuit of new objectives. From 1973 through 1983, he made annual summer trips to the Tetons, climbing many of the big peaks in the range. Other trips led to the Cascade volcanoes, Yosemite, North Cascades, Canadian Rockies and of course, the Sawtooth and Lost River Range. Marriage, two children, and a 24-year career at Hewlett Packard slowed down Bob’s climbing pursuits but never stopped them.

In 2013, Bob made his 30th ascent of Mt Borah at age 60. As such, Bob is the undisputed Dean of Borah Climbers. He recalls, “I had just turned 60 so I had to get that number 30 out of the way. After 1973, I made sure I climbed it on my decade years of 1983, 1993, 2003, and 2013 when I was 30, 40, 50 and 60. As for 70, ha, who knows? Why do I keep doing it? It’s a personal physical test and I figure if I can’t make the summit of Borah then my days of doing this kind of stuff are coming to an end for good. Every year I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the grind and the altitude hasn’t bothered me (yet). I tell everyone when I climb now that someday I might just turn around on a trip and say “screw it” for good. Heck, I’m going to be 62 next year and it keeps getting harder to find any one in my age group to go with.”

Bob, both as a pioneering Idaho climber and a climbing historian, has contributed many articles and photos to this site. Here are links to several of his articles:

Bob working a classic mid-cliff slab in blue jeans and Fabiano Directisma “blue boots” as we called them. They were totally rigid from heel to toe making them terrible for walking, but they worked perfectly on the tiny nicks and chips in the quarried rock. Mike Weber Photo

Bob working a classic mid-cliff slab in blue jeans and Fabiano Directisma “blue boots,” as we called them. They were totally rigid from heel to toe making them terrible for walking, but they worked perfectly on the tiny nicks and chips in the quarried rock. Mike Weber Photo

Bob Boyles leading the “Roof” aka Bloddy Crack. Mike Weber Photo

Bob Boyles leading the “Roof” a.k.a. Bloddy Crack. Mike Weber Photo

 Bob Boyles supplied this photo, the only photo his team took on their winter ascent of the NF in January 1977. Frank Florence Photo

Bob Boyles supplied this photo, the only photo his team took on their winter ascent of the north face of Borah in January 1977. Frank Florence Photo