Sheep Mountain North Face Route

This route information was provided by Garon Miskin. Climbing and access information for Sheep Mountain is on Page 304 of the book.

North Face of Sheep Mountain, Lemhi Range

The Miskin-Steadman Route was first climbed by Garon Miskin and Kyle Steadman on July 2, 2010.

Snow, AI 3; 1,800 feet

This beautiful route climbs the continuous couloir 4th from the left when looking at the North Face of Sheep Mountain. The short, easy approach, remoteness and moderate nature of this route makes it a ‘must do’ for every Idaho mountaineer.


Approach via Long Canyon from the Gilmore main road. The road up Long Canyon forks about midway. The LEFT fork is identified by a Forest Service sign indicating FSR-1A. Continue along the RIGHT fork for another 0.75 miles. When the road dips downward, locate a small pullout to the left and park.

The Approach

From your parking spot, hike directly west and drop quickly into a small drainage. More or less follow the drainage (when in doubt stay low and left) for approximately 1.5 miles on easy ground to a large meadow. The North Face of Sheep Mountain will be in full view. Cross the meadow to another smaller meadow and cross to the edge of the meadow into the trees and emerge out of the trees at the base of the route.

The Climb

The route begins at treeline and narrows very quickly. The lower 1/3 of the route is 40-50 degree hard snow. After a few easy pitches, the couloir steepens to 60 degrees and becomes narrower. In the upper half, the climbing becomes more varied and more difficult. The angle approaches 70 degrees and continually steepens with the final 2 pitches of 80 degree alpine ice and an exhilarating exit consisting of 30 feet of vertical alpine ice leading to the summit ridge. The route was protected with running belays in the lower sections. Belay stances in the upper couloir were easily found and well protected. Gear: 4 snow stakes, 4-5 lost arrows and knifeblades, 2 ice screws (18cm), 4-5 small cams up to a #2 Camalot. The rock is solid and the objective hazard is low, except for the overhanging cornice which extends along the entire rim of the upper bowl. Check avalanche conditions prior to ascending.

The Descent

Descend the Northwest Ridge and locate the last couloir which appears to descend straight down to the base of the route. You know it’s the right one because the top is the most moderate angle from off the Northwest Ridge. At the point where the descent couloir appears to cliff out, traverse right/south connecting narrow ledges until more moderate down-climbing is revealed. Alternately, descend all the way right into the lower section of the next couloir and down-climb steep, soft snow.

The north face of Sheep Mountain. Miskin Steadman photo.

The North Face of Sheep Mountain. Miskin Steadman Photo