Williams Peak

Elevation: 10,635 ft
Prominence: 855

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Climbing and access information for this peak is on Pages 160-161 of the book. The book has three routes listed, Southwest Couloir, Northeast Face and Southeast Slopes. Below you will find a route description for the North Couloir. Two routes not found in the book are set out below. Updated October 2021

Williiams Peak is part of the spectacular backdrop to Stanley, Idaho. The peak is steep on all sides and, between its steep walls, the relentless talus climbing is difficult. USGS Stanley Lake

The west face of Willaims Peak viewed from the Summit of Merritt Peak.

The West Face of Williams Peak as viewed from the summit of Merritt Peak.

Williams Peak from Idaho-75.

Williams Peak as viewed from ID-75.

Williams Peak from the summit of Thompson Peak.

Williams Peak as viewed from the summit of Thompson Peak.

Williams Peak from Horstman Peak.

Williams Peak as viewed from Horstmann Peak.

East Ridge, Class 3+ by Neil Gleichman

Climbed to the crest of this ridge from the turnoff where the basin below Thompson-Williams Col is accessed, it appears there may be one or two steep sections leading directly to the summit. In truth this is a long ridge with a sequence of false summits which frequently reveal themselves to be steep gendarmes. The obvious method of passage is to drop down and left around the south side of each of these. There may be five or six that I passed in this way and a few that could be run straight over the top staying true to the ridge.

The ridge is long and not of particular interest after the pattern of repeated circumnavigations is understood. I was happy to have completed the line but on inspecting the summit register, I discovered that another pair had claimed the same line in 2020. Their description was minimal “July 11, 2020 First Ascent in 2020? MFRE Keeping it level in between Main Salmon trips. Fun scramble up the East Ridge! Super Bueno! Andrew Bepre & Riley (Swampy)”

The east ridge. Neil Gleichman Photo

North Couloir, Grade III, Class 5

Time Required: 13+ hours Round Trip
Mileage: 10-12 Miles Round Trip
Elevation Gain: 4,100 feet
Equipment: Good “alpine” mixed rack, 2 ice screws, 1-2 snow flukes or pickets

The pyramid-like North Face of Williams Peak towers over the Sawtooth Valley and provides a stunning backdrop for the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho. Its summit is often cloaked with a veil of early-morning clouds, which gives the peak an unapproachable look. While the mountain’s South Face and major ridgelines provides adventurous scrambles, it is the steep and fluted North Face that offers the peak’s classic alpine climb. The 1,100-foot North Couloir carves a sinewy line up the shadowy North Face of Williams Peak. 9 pitches of steep climbing that often inspires the “elevator shaft” feeling, carries climbers up snow, moderate ice and friable rock. Challenging climbing, good exposure and sweeping views from the summit make this one of the Sawtooth’s best alpine climbs.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: Sawtooth Range

Year Climbed: 1991

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: Northeast Face/June Couloir
  • Year: 1986
  • Season: Spring
  • Party: Kirk Bachman and B. Franklin

Longitude: -115.05751   Latitude: 44.152471


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