Elevation: 11,305 ft
Climbing and access information for this peak is on Page 252 of the book. The book contains two route, one on the southwest face and one for the south ridge. There are problems with both routes. In my opinion the south ridge route is not practical for two reasons. First, the Forest Service has abandoned the Johnstone Pass Trail (because the slopes below the pass kept sliding) making access to the ridge more difficult. Second, the rock obstacles on the ridge are both complicated and friable. The South Face route described in the book is a good route but reaching it is difficult because of the loss of the Johnstone Pass trail. This update includes a Class 2 variation on the book’s Southeast Face Route and a new Southwest Face route. Finally, George Reinier’s photos of his climb up the Southeast Ridge Route are included below. Updated and a new route up the peak’s southwest face. August 2020
The Box is located on the main Pioneer Mountains. The East Fork Big Wood River drains its southwest face. An unnamed tributary of the Little Wood River drains its southeast face via Box Canyon. The Left Fork Wildhorse Creek drains its near vertical north face. The peak sees a fair amount of climbing activity as a result of its status as an Idaho 11er. USGS Grays Peak
Southeast Face Ledge, Class 2 by Nathan Cuvala
My friend Brian and I climbed Peak 11305 (The Box) via a Class 2 route variation. The route was a nice scramble. Follow Rick Baugher’s route as described in the book from Upper Box Canyon Lake but, at around 10,900 feet there is a rock ledge that cuts across the southeast face. Follow this across the face to the South Ridge for an easy scramble to the top. Attached is a picture of the beginning of the rock ledge and another picture of the route we took.
Judi Steciak and Carl Hamke provided the original Southwest Face route information. I roughly followed their route in 2020 but rather than continuing up the gully to the south ridge I climbed directly to the summit as shown on my GPS track set out below. I have expanded on their route description.
Southwest Face, Class 2+
Primary access is via FS-118, East Fork Big Wood River Road [(B)(1) Page 258]. Follow this road north to its end. The road deteriorates after it passes Federal Gulch CG. A 4WD is recommended. There is parking for several cars at the road’s end at just over 8,000 feet. The abandoned Johnstone Pass Trail [(B)(1)(a) Page 258] begins at this point. Although no longer maintained the trail is in fair shape as it climbs up the valley.
Follow the trail north up the valley. At the 9,000 foot contour the trail turns abruptly uphill. The route leaves the trail at this point, first crossing a somewhat flat meadow and then climbing up a talus headwall to the right of a cascading stream. At the top of the headwall, you are west of and directly below the summit. Hamke and Steciak ascended the gully on the south side of the face (shown on the photo below) to the top of the South Ridge and then followed the ridge to the summit. Jason Floyd and I started up the gully. After gaining up roughly 200 feet we exited the gully to the left angling directly for the summit across steep, loose talus and rubble covered slabs. Our line eventually reached a rib of broken granite which we followed to the summit. Round trip was 5.8 miles with 3,100 feet of elevation gain.
George Reinier’s photos from his climb of the Southeast Face as described in the book.