Michael Darcy (1957-2012)


Michael Darcy of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was an avid mountain climber who explored many remote Idaho mountains. On September 22, 2012, while climbing unofficially named Gooseberry Mountain (now Mount Darcy) in the Pahsimeroi section of Idaho’s Lost River Range, he lost his footing and fell roughly 100 feet. Injured in the fall, he called 911 for help. Despite the best efforts of Custer County Search and Rescue, when the rescue team reached him, they found that he had passed away.

Michael Darcy

Michael Darcy, mountain climber and IACG contributor. Rest in peace, Michael. Climb on.

Michael had a deep love of hiking mountains in Idaho and Montana. He was also an avid photographer who specialized in documenting his mountain adventures. He was an early contributor to the Idaho: A Climbing Guide website and a prolific contributor to the SummitPost website. He also shared his knowledge with Idaho climbers via the Idaho Outdoor Forum (IOF) under his moniker Montanaboy.

According to his sister Sue Hutter, Michael “hiked every weekend, leaving Friday night for travel. Saturdays were the hiking days and Sundays for the drive back to Coeur d’Alene. Michael was always solo. He would rather spend his time and thoughts in the midst of the Great Outdoors than anywhere else in the world, unless it was a weekday night having dinner with my husband, me and our children, Peter and Chloe. He also wrote a note on a yellow piece of paper at every mountain he climbed once he summitted it. Michael would take out his lunch, enjoy the view and quote a Psalm.

Family was important to Michael, a value he extended to the mountaineering community. He told the IOF a story of a 9-year-old and his dad who he encountered while navigating Chicken-Out Ridge on Mount Borah. “He sat down numerous times to rest while his dad patiently waited for him. Knowing that he needed the mental encouragement, I told him that he was the toughest 9-year old that I had seen in a long time.”

Michael unofficially named a few peaks (of which he believed he had first ascents) after family members and friends. As shown in the photos below, he left summit notes detailing his climb details and GPS data, took photos, and emailed his excursion highlights to his family members.

Photo of summit register

The summit register entry that is atop Petes Peak. Notice that my GPS has the incorrect height on it. This is normal as my GPS is routinely 20-30 feet too high. I place these notes in a vitamin bottle or ibuprofen bottle. They are tough containers that handle all extremes of weather. Michael Darcy Photo and Commentary.

Peak Cairn

This is one of my typical cairns that I build on the summit. I prefer a 2-story square with a flat rock as a roof and a square rock as a cap. The register is placed inside. It is protected well and is easy for others to access. Michael Darcy Photo and Commentary.

Many members of the Idaho climbing community e-communicated with Michael and a few lucky folks met him in person over the years.

Michael’s favorite climbs included Borah Peak, Homer Youngs Peak, Mount Howe, Piegan Mountain, Torrey Mountain and Yellow Peak. In response to what kept him motivated in the mountains, Michael said that he “generally prefer(red) to climb peaks that catch my interest and a variety of different ranges is the ticket as well. The one goal that has recently come to mind has been to climb the 9 Lemhi peaks over 11,000 feet, although the Riddler may be beyond my comfort zone.”

SummitPost.org still maintains his climbing page and photo collection: https://www.summitpost.org/users/montanaboy/17585.

The following is a partial list of peaks Michael climbed in Idaho, Washington, and Montana.
* Boise Peak Boise Mountains
* Mores Mountain Boise Mountains
* Shafer Butte Boise Mountains
* Peak 7,445 (Selkirk Mountains) Selkirk Range
* Three Point Mountain
* Cervidae Peak Boise Mountains
* Yellow Peak Lemhi Range
* Hyndman Peak Idaho County High Points
* Mount Church Lost River Range
* Donaldson Peak Lost River Range
* Lem Peak Lemhi Range
* Mill Point Bitterroot Mountains
* Mica Peak (WA)
* South Chilco Mountain
* The Knuckle & The Thumb Beaverhead Mountains
* Mt. Haggin Anaconda Range
* Dickey Peak Lost River Range
* Mount Idaho Lost River Range
* Goat Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Calf Robe Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Roman Nose Selkirk Range
* Engle Peak Cabinet Mountains
* Snow Peak
* Sherman Peak
* Chicago Peak Cabinet Mountains
* Teakettle Mountain (MT) Whitefish Range(MT/BC)
* Chilco Mountain
* Leatherman Peak Lost River Range
* Diamond Peak Idaho County High Points
* Lonesome Mountain Beartooth Range
* ‪Beartooth Butte Beartooth Range‬
* Rock Peak Cabinet Mountains
* ‪Borah Peak Idaho County High Points‬
* Haystack Butte Glacier National Park, MT
* Piegan Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Mount Breitenbach Lost River Range
* Mount Washburn ‪Yellowstone National Park‬
* Ch-paa-qn Peak (Squaw Peak)
* Sheep Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* South Heavenly Twin Bitterroot Mountains
* Lolo Peak Bitterroot Mountains
* Sweeney Peak Bitterroot Mountains
* Saint Joseph Peak Bitterroot Mountains
* Trapper Peak Bitterroot Mountains
* Garfield Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* Swiftcurrent Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Stanton Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Sacajawea Peaks Beaverhead Mountains
* Lost River Peak Lost River Range
* Bell Mountain Idaho County High Points
* Mount Kit Carson
* Center Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* Latour Peak Idaho County High Points
* Pyramid Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Castle Rock Bitterroot Mountains
* Mount Spokane Washington County High Points
* Hardscrabble Peak Bridger Range
* Goldstone Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* Hirschy Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* Ward Mountain Bitterroot Mountains
* Eighteenmile Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Little Saint Joe Bitterroot Mountains
* Freeman Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Divide Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Pollock Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Boulder Peaks Bitterroot Mountains
* Mount Howe Anaconda Range
* Mount Evans Anaconda Range
* Deer Lodge Mountain
* Monument Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Jumbo Mountain Beaverhead Mountains
* Eagle Cliff Peak Bitterroot Mountains
* Mount Coeur d’Alene
* Torrey Mountain Pioneer Mountains, MT
* Copperhead Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Mount Roothaan Selkirk Range
* Lone Mountain Madison Range
* Warren Peak Anaconda Range
* Mount Gould Glacier National Park, MT
* Reynolds Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Ajax Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Homer Youngs Peak Beaverhead Mountains
* Harrison Peak Selkirk Range
* Scotchman Peak Idaho County High Points
* Going-to-the-Sun Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Matahpi Peak Glacier National Park, MT
* Bearhat Mountain Glacier National Park, MT
* Sacagawea Peak Bridger Range
* Stevens Peak

Michael Darcy was born on May 14, 1957 in Missoula, Montana. Michael moved to Coeur d’Alene with his family at the age of 6 where he resided. From a young age, Michael was involved in sports and athletics. He graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1975 and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1979 with a degree in recreation. He was 55 when he passed and is very much missed. RIP Montanaboy.

—by Margo Mandella and Tom Lopez

(Thank you to the Coeur d’Alene Press, SummitPost, Idaho Outdoor Forum for information used in this piece.)