Rakers Access by Ray Brooks

[Editor’s note: climbing either of the Rakers takes a lot of climbing skill. It rarely occurs because the Rakers are difficult to reach. There is no easy approach. The following article provides the low down on one approach.]

North Raker.    South Raker.

After being interested in the Rakers since 1970, I finally fought my way up there in 2006 at age 55, with some equally ancient friends. We left the heavy climbing gear at the S. Fork Payette, which was a good decision. After making it to a lake north of the Rakers, it took us another day to make it to the Rakers.

North Raker on right & South Raker on Left. The USGS map designation of South Raker is wrong. That USGS mistake is a minor point, and not what early climbers considered the South Raker.  Ray Brooks Photo

North Raker on right & South Raker on Left. The USGS map designation of South Raker is wrong. That USGS mistake is a minor point, and not what early climbers considered the South Raker. Ray Brooks Photo

North Raker

Here’s a shot under the summit of North Raker. It looks much like the horror-show that Fred Beckey & Pete Schoening described from their 1948 climb, per my article on that big adventure, Titled “ Top of the Mountain” in Idaho Magazine, May 2012. Ray Brooks Photo

North Raker

North Raker. Ray Brooks Photo

In 2009, my wife & I & two younger and fitter friends, backpacked up Fall Creek to the Rakers from Elk Lake. After making it through the Elk Lake swamp, we camped in the first flat area in Fall Creek, then next day hiked up to the lakes under the Rakers. Here’s the North Raker from a lake above Fall Creek. That day was great weather, but when we hiked to the south side of Fall Creek the next day, our desire to scramble some easier peaks was thwarted by thunderstorms.

North Raker

Here’s another shot of North Raker on the right & South Raker on the left from the east rim of Fall Creek. Ray Brooks Photo

We had enjoyed only a miserable trip up Fall Creek, but on the way out we ended up going down a very steep slope (a lesser person would call it a cliff) to the swamp that Idahopeakgirl mentions. Other than climbing up the cliff again, the only way across the first part of the swamp involved moving a large log and making a bridge. Of course, as trip leader, I got to go ***-deep in water to help move the log to make & then stabilize our bridge.
It worked! (Part of the secret is to go in late August or early Sept in a dry summer.)

Elk Lake

Ray Brooks Photo