Introduction to Idaho: A Climbing Guide

The opportunities for those who enjoy climbing mountains are unlimited in Idaho. This guidebook is an idea book and a starting point for mountaineers, hikers and explorers. In the 10 years since Exploring Idaho’s Mountains was published, Idaho’s population has skyrocketed, Boise has become a city and Coeur d’Alene is now a major resort destination. Surprisingly, this growth has had a positive effect and has not seriously degraded Idaho’s environment. The increased recreation use has lead to major improvements in access roads and trails. While there are many different political battles still to be fought, outdoors-lovers are now an irresistible force demanding the wise use of the mountains.

The climbs listed in this guidebook represent a multitude of climbing opportunities throughout the state, ranging from extremely difficult technical ascents far from roads and trails to short trail walks. This book includes over 100 new peaks and hundreds of new routes. Nevertheless, a lot of Idaho is still terra incognita. The adventurous will find that Idaho is far from “climbed out.” There is still room to explore, still time to create your own climbing history.

Mountaineers will find no shortage of challenging routes on granite, basalt and limestone. The Bighorn Crags, Lost River Range, Sawtooths, Selkirks, Seven Devils and a host of individual peaks scattered throughout Idaho’s remaining mountain ranges provide high-quality Class 5 and Class 6 climbing opportunities. Many other peaks not suitable for technical climbing (because of rotten rock) offer exceptionally good Class 3 and Class 4 climbing on exposed ridges and incredible broken walls.

“Scramblers” will find at least 1,000 Idaho peaks well suited to those inclined to get to the top without ropes. The variety of non-technical routes is staggering. “Peakbaggers” (those who climb to collect summits) will find a wealth of ideas to stimulate their psyches, starting with Idaho’s nine 12,000-foot summits and, perhaps, ending with the highest peak in each Idaho mountain range. No one has come even close to climbing all of Idaho’s 10,000 peaks.

Hikers will discover that many Idaho mountain summits are reached by trail and that many of Idaho’s most “chic” hiking destinations are not listed in hiking guidebooks. Trails lead to more than 100 Idaho summits, ranging from craggy 7,009-foot Scotchman Peak in the Cabinet Mountains and nearly 10,000-foot Trinity Mountain in the Boise Mountains to tiny Three Tree Butte (3,330 feet) in the Hoodoo Mountains.

Travel to many of the peaks contained in the book and this web site can be treacherous. Please be careful!

Travel to many of the peaks in the book and this website can be treacherous. Please be careful!

A Union Pacific Poster promoting Idaho.