Till Dawn Ridge by Michael Tilden

I spotted this ridge on a trail run on nearby Cervidae Peak. Closer inspection revealed a fun ridge scramble up the peak’s Southeast Ridge! This ridge climbs toward the summit of Macks Peak. It is perfect for testing new approach shoes or alpine training. The highlight of the ridge (first two sections) is 1000 feet long and gains 500 feet. With an average slope of 45 degrees. Exposure on the ridge is mostly minimal, but there are some spicy sections. Opportunities abound to hop on and off the ridge. Various ways exist to climb the ridge, creating a custom adventure from 3rd class to easy 5th class. I first summited the ridge at sunrise, hence the name: “Till Dawn Ridge.” The ridge is likely a dike of the Snake River Plain made of basalt with intruding granite. I am sure that I wasn’t the first to spot or climb this ridge, but I could not find any information on it.

The “Till Dawn Ridge.” Michael Tilden Photo


Follow Idaho 21 from Boise toward Idaho City. Just after crossing the high bridge over the reservoir turn right onto the Middle Fork Road heading towards the Springs Shore Marina and Atlanta. After 3.6 miles, pull off the road and park. From the pull out parking area, I went up the overgrown jeep trail to the power-line poles, then up the ridge, and finally left around a hill to the start of the ridge. This steep approach takes approximately 30 mins to one hour and involves a 900 foot elevation gain in just under a half mile.

GPS Coordinates:

Parking area: 43.609936, -115.945275. Start of Till Dawn Ridge: 43.6164870, -115.9453759

Be careful. This could be a great place to practice alpine rock skills and placing protection. But I found no protection was necessary. However, loose death blocks abound. Be careful on what you pull!

Till Dawn Ridge, Class 3-5

First section:

The Rock Fin. The beginning of the ridge starts at an intersecting creek bed. This first section is steep, fun, and ends shortly after a rock fin.

Second section:

The Towers. The second section contains several distinct towers, offering the cruxes of the route. An unmistakable White Pinnacle “The Flaming Sword” is found during this section. This is the most engaging and exposed section.

Third section:

Discontinuous Wrap-up. After the towers the ridge become discontinuous and less steep. You can hike a wandering animal trail or do an occasional third class problem. Once you have topped out the ridge you can continue to the summit of Macks Peak, or run down one of the various ridges. Either way it’s a great workout with an alpine rock feel.

A Google Earth Image of Macks Peak.

A Google Earth Image of Macks Peak.

The Till Dawn Ridge route follows this rocky ridge. The ridge is viewed from the South Ridge.

Mountain Project Link: Till Dawn Ridge