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Idaho's Best Scrambles

A good scramble in my opinion has:
  • limited brush
  • solid rock
  • scenic views
  • a little bit of exposure

  • Based on that, here are my top 10 Idaho scrambles I have done thus far.

    Old Hyndman

    #1 - Old Hyndman

    Details: Old Hyndman looks like a technical rock climb from numerous angles. However, there is a really stable and fun scramble to be had up the east face utilizing the "Black Rock Dike", a line that is indented into the face that provides a stable and fun scramble. Views from the top are stunning and so is Big Basin, which you hike through to reach this route.

    Elevation: 11,755
    Route: East Face (Black Rock Dike)
    Roundtrip mileage: 13 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,800 feet
    John Ferguson on Snowyside Peak

    #2 - Snowyside Peak

    Details: Snowyside Peak in the Sawtooth Range not only packs the great views one would expect in the scenic Sawtooth Range, but it also delivers a fun and challenging scramble. The final 400 feet to the top require several ascents over walls that look like technical challenges from below, but each are on good rock and great fun. From the top, take in views of several dozen alpine lakes and hundreds of peaks.

    Elevation: 10,651
    Route: Southeast Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 17 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,000 feet
    One of Castle Peak's scrambling sections

    #3 - Castle Peak

    Details: If you have climbed in central Idaho, you have seen Castle Peak. Castle is visible from half a dozen ranges in Idaho. Castle also offers up a terrific scramble from Chamberlain Basin via it's southface. The lower gully holds a bit of scree, but the top is nice, blocky rocky and just enough exposure to get your blood pumping. Once you've earned the top, take in views of dozens of lakes and the surrounding mountains and valleys.

    Elevation: 11,815
    Route: Southface
    Roundtrip mileage: Varies (Numerous Approaches)
    Elevation gain: Varies (Numerous Approaches)
    John Fadgen downclimbing on Perfect Peak

    #4 - Perfect Peak

    Details: A second entry for the Sawtooth Range in the top 5. The approach on this one isn't a clean as other peaks on this list, but the top 200 feet offer a challenge on route finding, dealing with exposure, and spicy scrambling. You are essentially surrounded by steep drop-offs on all sides. The tiny summit offers typical Sawtooth views that will thrill... so long as you can get your mind off that steep 30 foot pitch you have to downclimb at some point :-)

    Elevation: 10,269
    Route: Southeast Slopes
    Roundtrip mileage: 9.9 miles
    Elevation gain: 3500 feet
    Ivory Peak's Northeast Ridge

    #5 - Ivory Peak

    Details: Ivory Peak is located 1.7 miles northeast of Washington Peak in the White Clouds. We did this peak as part of a 6 peak traverse. The northeast ridge was spicy to say the least. Good handholds make it safe, but the snow on the rocks certainly made it challenging. This is one of those peaks where you are intimidated looking up at the route and then proud after you climb it. If you only do this peak by itself, you could probably complete this route from 4th of July trailhead in 3 hours roundtrip!

    Elevation: 10,408
    Route: Traverse of Northeast and West Ridges
    Roundtrip mileage: 5.4 miles
    Elevation gain: 2,000 feet
    Diamond Peak

    #6 - Diamond Peak

    Details: A lot of people climb Diamond Peak because it is a 12er, a range highpoint, has 5k of prominence, and well... because it is cool. This peak dominates the skyline in the Birch Creek Valley. The east ridge route is clean down low (trail mostly), then presents several short walls that require class 3 climbing up high. Each wall has good handholds and just looks scary, but the climbing is fun.

    Elevation: 12,197
    Route: East Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 7 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,200 feet
    Big Basin Peak

    #7 - Big Basin Peak

    Details: Another entry for the Pioneer Range. This one is scenic, but the fun doesn't stop there. The final 500 feet of climbing on the south ridge are challenging and you never really know you are going to make the summit until you take that final step foot onto it. Views into Wildhorse Canyon are worth the trip alone!

    Elevation: 11,510
    Route: South Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 8 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,000 feet
    Angel's Perch South Ridge

    #8 - Angels Perch

    Details: Back-to-back entries for the Pioneer Range here. Angel's Perch is a spectacular climb, especially when you come up from Wildhorse Canyon and up the south ridge. Knife edge ridges, steep dropoffs, and good rock all make this route a blast.

    Elevation: 11,687
    Route: West Face to South Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 4 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,200 feet
    Leatherman Pass from the West Fork Pahsimeroi Trail

    #9 - Leatherman Peak

    Details: Idaho's 2nd highest peak is my 9th favorite climb. This one isn't necessarily a lot of scrambling like the other's on this list, but it does have a nice scramble finish. The route from West Pahsemeroi to the Northeast Ridge is on generally solid scree. The West Pahsemeroi trail is incredibly scenic.

    Elevation: 12,228
    Route: Northeast Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 8 miles
    Elevation gain: 4,100 feet
    Peak 11272 from D.O. Lee Peak

    #10 - Peak 11272 (White Clouds)

    Details: Another entry for the White Clouds on the list! The first excitement on this trip is the gorgeous scenery in the Big Boulder Chain of Lakes. The next is the spicy scramble up Peak 11272, located just south of Cove Lake. This route is on good granite, but it isn't for the faint of heart. The tiny summit and awesome views are your reward for this challenging climb.

    Elevation: 11,272
    Route: North Ridge
    Roundtrip mileage: 3 miles (from Cove Lake)
    Elevation gain: 1500 feet (from Cove Lake)