Elevation: 11,598 ft
Climbing information for this peak is found on pages 308 to 309. The book only lists one route. This page contains additional route information for the Baugher route and a traverse from Diamond Peak by Wes Collins. Additionally, Derek Percoski and Daniel Todd climbed the peak’s south ridge on September 4, 2019. Derek’s route report is set out below. Updated September 2019
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
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.
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.
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.
And one more photo from George Reinier:
South Ridge by Derek Percoski
On Wednesday Daniel Todd and I climbed The Riddler via the south ridge. It’s possible that Wes Collins took this route already (see photo 1). Not sure if he made it to Big Boy and if so did he climb down Riddler’s south ridge? After traversing from Diamond and ascending the north ridge, that would have been small potatoes for him. The south ridge might be the easiest way to climb that mountain. Eventually someone will do both and make a comparison. I’d still like to do Baugher’s route someday, since I feel like I’m missing out on an adventure there.
I’ll give you a little backstory since I figure you’d be interested. The plan was to start in Bunting Canyon, climb Shoshone John, then Big Boy, then drop down to Baugher’s route on The Riddler. As we descended Big Boy it looked like we could stay higher, then either traverse into Baugher’s route or possibly climb the left side of the face. After skirting around an impassable section of the south ridge, we noticed our best option was probably to gain the south ridge again. From a distance it didn’t look doable, but from a distance nothing on The Riddler looks doable!
South Ridge, Class 3+/4- by Derek Percoski
Daniel Todd and I climbed the south ridge by traversing from Big Boy Peak (see Big Boy Peak approaches). This could be also be accessed via the same approach as the Baugher route. One obvious section of the ridge needs to be skirted (~11,200-11,400). The worst exposure probably happens here when doing some sidehill walking above cliffs, but there are plenty of things to hold on to when you want to play it safe. Route finding was pretty straightforward—generally nothing more than turning your head to find the best option. Our technical crutch was a steep gully/chimney, PHOTO 2, showing Daniel Todd descending the crux.
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