Sawtooth National Recreation Area


One look at the vertical faces of the Sawtooth, White Cloud and Boulder Mountains will tell you that climbing and mountain scrambling are popular here. You'll find a vast array of technical climbs and spectacular peaks to match your interests.

The Sawtooths
The greatest variety of mountaineering options are located in the Sawtooth Range, from non-technical scrambles to technical climbs of all levels of difficulty. The Sawtooth range is compact, about 35 miles long by 20 miles wide. Although several peaks rise over 10,000 feet, the bases start at 8,000 to 9,000 feet, making one-day ascents relatively easy.

The entire range is composed of various textures of granite. On a single peak, the rock may vary from being very hard and sparsely jointed to flaky and "ball-bearinged." Careful route selection makes it possible to climb most major peaks while staying on solid granite.

Boulder - White Clouds
If you like off-trail scrambling and boulder-hopping, most peaks in the Boulder White Cloud Mountains can be climbed free of technical aid. The rock is composed largely of metamorphosed sediments, with some granite and volcanic intrusions.

Highly-fractured and loose, most of this rock doesn't lend itself to high-angle technical climbing. Remember, many ridges and peaks rise to heights of 10,000 or 11,000 feet, more than two miles above sea level. The air is thin!

Redfish Lake
Most climbing is concentrated around Grand Mogul and Mount Heyburn near the lake, where there is good rock and easy access. Redfish Lake Lodge has also become a climbing information and support center.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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