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. He later made several crossings of the entire range, including several in Winter on skis.

In Summer 1972, Bob took his first technical rock climbing class at the Table Rock 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 ID-21 in Winter 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 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 70cm ice axes and alpine hammers on vertical ice.”

Bob bouldering near Stack Rock in 1975.

Bob bouldering near Stack Rock in 1975.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Bob and his friends treated climbing and skiing like a career and ventured throughout the West in pursuit of new objectives. From 1973-1983, 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, the North Cascades, the Canadian Rockies and the Sawtooth and Lost River Ranges. 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 Mount 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 that 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 that if I can’t make the summit of Mount 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 anyone 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 website. 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” (Bloody 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. It is the only photo that his team took on their Winter ascent of the North Face of Borah in January 1977. Frank Florence Photo

Clint Cummins

Clint grew up in Enumclaw, Washington and learned to climb in the Cascades with his mom and dad. In spite of being curious about Idaho climbing based on the climb lists in the back of Fred Beckey’s “Challenge of the North Cascades”, he only managed one climbing trip to the Elephants Perch in 1991 after cutting a cloudy Bugaboos trip short. But oh what a trip it was! Clint is a longtime guidebook nut, having produced a 1993 guidebook to Index Town Wall. He is currently working on an updated edition of Yosemite Free Climbs. Clint has provided this site with his two web pages cataloging Sawtooth Rock Climbs and Elephant Perch Rock Climbs.

Livingston Douglas

Liv Douglas is by far the most prolific contributor to this website and an Associate Editor. He is a Colorado based mountaineer who has reached the summits of over 3,000 peaks, mostly in the Western United States and Canada, but also in Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand and Australia. He was called “The Gazelle” by spotters for Custer County Search & Rescue in August 2009 when they spotted him scrambling across the connecting ridge between Borah Peak’s south summit (11,898 feet) and Sacagawea  (11,936 feet). Apparently, he appeared to just cruise across the choppy, knife-edged ridge, handling it with relative ease. “So that’s my claim to fame in Idaho, though I find it hard to believe that I looked like a gazelle—probably more like a mountain goat. It took me over an hour to cross the 1-mile ridge and just under an hour coming back across it. It was a rather tedious endeavor, certainly no cruise.”

Liv is by a wide margin the most prolific non-Idahoan Idaho peakbagger. His goal is to reach the summit of all of Idaho’s ranked summits of 11,000 feet plus in elevation. To date, he has climbed just shy of 100 of these peaks. Most recently, in 2019 he climbed 316 Idaho peaks. This total included 24 new routes that were likely first ascents and 14 new first descents. This brings his Idaho total to 123 FAs and 94 FDs. He now has climbed 629 Idaho peaks of which 552 are ranked.

Livingston often follows the path less followed whenever possible. Rather than follow the standard route to the summit he, almost always, looks for alternative routes. As a result, to date, he has climbed and reported on 123 Idaho routes which were likely never climbed before and descended 94 Idaho routes likely never followed before. In the process he has opened up new climbing opportunities for Idaho peakbaggers and vastly increased our knowledge of Idaho’s mountain terrain.

Livingston’s extensive climbs of Idaho’s 11ers and Continental Divide peaks has given him unique insights into that marvelous terrain. While his explorations are a work in progress he has provided us with his current favorite Idaho peak and favorite ridge climb.

Favorite Idaho Mountain: Leatherman Peak

“Leatherman Peak is an ominous, dark mountain when viewed from the pullout along Highway 93 north of Mackay. It towers over Highway 93 and is intimidating. But, of Idaho’s big mountains, Leatherman Peak is the best. The black/dark brown, crumbly lava rock on it is absolutely dreadful for footing and handholds. But at least there is a trail up to the saddle at the base of the West Ridge. A very worthy Class 3-4 day climb and not crowded like Borah Peak to the north.”

Favorite Idaho Ridge Climb: North Ridge of Devil’s Bedstead East

“Hands-down, this is THE pre-eminent ridge scramble in the State of Idaho. It is a full-on Class 3 endeavor, knife-edged with magnificent exposure. And, surprisingly for Idaho, the rock is SOLID on this ridge. I have done a lot of ridge climbs in Idaho but this one has always remained my favorite. It is breath-taking.”

 

 

 

Matthew Durrant

Matthew Durrant is from Preston, Idaho and grew up hiking and camping with his dad. His interest in climbing mountains began in earnest as a Boy Scout while on a trip to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 2000. There he had the opportunity to climb his first really big peak, Baldy Mountain (12,441 feet). Since then he has climbed extensively in Idaho, Utah and surrounding states. He has climbed the Idaho 12ers and while he is not one for constantly confining himself to strict lists, he does occasionally enjoy ticking one off now and then. Currently he is working on ultra-prominence peaks, but his passion is simply to get outdoors and fill in the blank spots on his mental map especially if those blank spots are in Idaho. However, if he was forced to choose only one range to ever climb in again it would have to be the amazing Pioneer Mountains near Ketchum.

When he is not out bagging peaks (or focusing on his studies in grad school), Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters and actively volunteers as a Scoutmaster and Leave No Trace Master Educator. In this capacity, he has been able to help the next generation have the chance to climb mountains and learn to love and respect the outdoors.

Ray Brooks

Ray became a climbing force in the Sawtooths in the 1970s. He has contributed outstanding articles on his 1970s climbing experience in the Sawtooths. Check them out in the Climbing History Section or use the links below. Also check out Ray’s recent article on mining and Lemhi Range peaks in the vicinity of Big Windy Peak which was published in Idaho Magazine, entitled Of Mountains and Mines.

Ray relates that he “grew up working-class poor in Ketchum, spent a lot of time in the Sawtooth Range in the early 1970s and likely did a number of new routes but, at the time, the local anti-guidebook ethics kept me from publishing route descriptions until a new century. The one published exception was a new route on Elephants Perch in 1977, Pacydermial Pleasantries.

Ray’s Climbing Journal Index — Ray’s articles on his Sawtooth exploits are a must read!

Elephants Perch – Pacydermial Pleasantries 1977.

Pursuit of “Bluebonnet Tower and the Search for the “Crystal Cave.”

Fred, Pete and Jack’s Big Sawtooth Adventure

Ray ran an outdoor shop in Moscow (ID) from 1973-1983 and, during those years, he climbed a number of new routes on Lightning Dome on the South Fork Clearwater River and at a now-forgotten area near Manning bridge, 13 miles upstream from Riggins. He notes: “There were various other Idaho climbing adventures during those years, including 3 new, boltless routes on Slickrock (see below).” Ray has contributed a good description of the Three Crack Route on Slick Rock.

Slick Rock Route Drawing 1982. Ray Brooks Photo

Slick Rock Route Drawing (1982). Ray Brooks Photo

Ray says: “I’m still hiking an occasional ‘safe mountain’ and also enjoying rock climbing mostly at the City of Rocks, in between whitewater rafting trips, mineral collecting at old mines, and hikes to photograph Native-American rock art sites. I’ve continued writing about my outdoor adventures and those stories are mostly ending up in Idaho Magazine.”

Ray following near the chossy crux.

Ray following near the chossy crux on Bluebonnet Tower.

Ray today, with “small crystal” he saved in 1975.

Ray today with “small crystal” he saved in 1975.

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