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Boulder Mountains (ID)
Area/Range

Boulder Mountains (ID)

 
Boulder Mountains (ID)

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 43.85112°N / 114.58054°W

Object Title: Boulder Mountains (ID)

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 11714 ft / 3570 m

 

Page By: mtybumpo

Created/Edited: Jun 17, 2011 / Feb 19, 2014

Object ID: 722838

Hits: 6498 

Page Score: 88.19%  - 26 Votes 

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The Heart of Idaho

 
The Boulder Front
The Boulder Front
The Boulder Mountains are a massive, high, and rugged mountain range in the very heart of Idaho. The range stretches from Ketchum in the South, nearly to Challis in the North. Highway 75 and the East Fork of the Salmon River form its western border while the Big Lost River Valley and the Pioneer Mountains are to the East and South. The range is increasing in popularity especially for backcountry winter sports as the highest portion is quite near the Sun Valley ski resort and is easily accessed from highway 75. Many of the high peaks have broad ridges that are conducive to winter climbing and large bowls with excellent skiing when conditions are right. In the summer the southern end of the range is a fairly popular hiking destination with many developed trails. However, solitude can still easily be found. Popular by Idaho standards means that (Gasp!) you might run into someone else during the day.

Geography



The Boulders rank as one of Idaho's highest mountain ranges with at least 12 summits topping 11,000 ft. and more than 16 other peaks over 10,000 ft. Most of the highest peaks are located in the southern portion of the range along what is known as the Boulder Front. This is the impressive wall of peaks that can be seen along the East side of highway 75 as one travels between Ketchum and Stanley. Here elevation gains can be as much as 4,000+ ft. and there are no intervening foothills. At 11,714 ft., Ryan Peak is the highest peak in the Boulders but it is not visible from any major road. 
Ryan Peak as viewed from the...
Ryan Peak


Geologically the range is quite complex and contains everything from granite to Challis Volcanics. The Boulders were once extensively mined and at one time the mining town of Boulder was Idaho’s highest town at 10,000 ft. Galena, the source of lead, was one of the most heavily mined minerals in the range. There are many landmarks named after the ore including the town of Galena, Galena Peak, and Galena Summit, where Idaho’s highest paved road is.

There is little in the way of technical climbing (although if you know where to go and who to talk to there are a few good snow and ice climbs) because the rock is so loose and rotten. As Tom Lopez puts it in his book, Idaho: A Climbing Guide, “Although there is stiff competition for the honor, the Boulder Mountains win the prize for being Idaho’s most rotten mountains. Even rock that appears solid will crumble in your hands.”

Climate



The area near the Boulder Front is heavily forested and is green and verdant. As you go to the North the range becomes more desert like and there a lot fewer trees. During the winter the Boulder Front can receive a large amount of snowfall that can linger on into the summer months. 
Peak 10941 Ridge
Snowy Peak 10,941, June 2011

Climate Ketchum
Source: U.S. Climate Data



All the typical Idaho wildlife is present in the Boulders including a very large population of Mountain Goats. They can commonly be seen on the steep slopes of the peaks along the Boulder Front. In fact, there is a mountain goat viewing site along the highway to the West of Boulder Peak.

Weather




Management



 
Boulder Mountains Map
The Boulders Area

Much of the highest portion of the Boulders is managed by the Sawtooth National Forest as part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). The SNRA also manages the Sawtooth and White Cloud ranges. The BLM manages much of the northern portion of the Boulders. Wilderness designation in the Boulders, as well as the White Clouds to the North, is a hot-button political issue in Idaho and there are several pieces of legislation in congress that would establish new areas in the region. The two most prominent are the CIEDRA bill sponsored by Idaho Representative Mike Simpson and the much more comprehensive NREPA bill. The CIEDRA bill would establish three new wilderness areas in the region totaling 332,775 acres. Two of those wilderness areas would be in the Boulder Mountains. The Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness would protect 110,370 acres in the highest, southern portion of the range, while the Jerry Peak Wilderness would protect 131,670 acres in the lower but more remote northern Boulders. The remaining 90,888 acres would be the White Clouds Wilderness. While this bill does protect much of the core of the range it does release 131,616 acres from Wilderness Study Area (WSA) status and prioritizes it for motorized use. It would also give some federal land to Custer and Blaine Counties for development. The NREPA bill would designate all 24 million acres of inventoried roadless areas in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington as new wilderness. This would include everything in CIEDRA and more. Which is better? Follow the links and decide for yourself.

Update


Because CIEDRA has failed to progress in congress for nearly a decade there has recently been a push to designate the Boulder-White Cloud area as a National Monument. For more information follow this link: BWCNM

Peaks


The range is divided into four major divides by Tom Lopez in Idaho: A Climbing Guide. Those divisions will be followed here. The class column refers to the easiest route to the summit.

Northern Divide


 
Kent Peak from Ryan Peak s...
Kent Peak

PeakElevation (ft.)ClassUSGS Quad
Lone Pine Peak9,6582Lone Pine Peak
Anderson Peak9,3392Horse Basin


Sheep Divide


 
Galena Peak rising from the...
Galena Peak

PeakElevation (ft.)ClassUSGS Quad
Sheep Mountain10,9152Bowery Peak
Peak 10,88310,8832Bowery Peak
Bowery Peak10,8612Bowery Peak


East Fork/North Fork Divide


 
Close-up of Meridian Peak
Meridian Peak

PeakElevation (ft.)ClassUSGS Quad
Griswold Peak11,0572Ryan Peak
Peak 10,55210,5522Jerry Peak
Meridian Peak10,400+2Meridian Peak
Jerry Peak10,0152Jerry Peak
Herd Peak9,8602Herd Peak


The Boulder Front


PeakElevation (ft.)ClassUSGS Quad
Ryan Peak11,7142Ryan Peak
Kent Peak11,6642Ryan Peak
Glassford Peak11,6022Ryan Peak
Peak 11,45811,4583-4Ryan Peak
Lorenzo Peak11,240+3Easley Hot springs
Perkins Peak11,220+3Ryan Peak
Cerro Ciento11,1542Easley Hot Springs
Galena Peak11,1532Galena Peak
Silver Peak11,1123Easley Hot Springs
Easley Peak11,1082Easley Hot Springs
Boulder Basin Peak11,0413Easley Hot Springs
Boulder Peak10,9813Easley Hot Springs
Peak 10,94110,9412Easley Hot Springs
Mystery Peak10,7853Meridian Peak
The Cone10,6802Ryan Peak
Peak 10,59810,5982-3Rock Roll Canyon
Peak 10,56610,5662Rock Roll Canyon
Rock Roll Peak10,4582Rock Roll Canyon
Basils Peak10,4142Amber Lake
Gladiator Peak10,2432Horton Peak
Peak 10,12610,1263Horton Peak
Avalanche Peak9,4332Horton Peak
The Cross9,2252Horton Peak

Getting There

 
Perkins Peak on the hike to Meridian Peak
Perkins Peak
 
Window Lake
Window Lake
Highway 75 provides easy access to the high peaks of the Boulder Front. There isn't very far to go off the road to begin climbing. Getting into the heart of the range is another matter. Many of the roads are high clearance, 4WD only and are some of the most rugged in the state. The range can also be accessed via the Trail Creek Road and the East Fork Salmon River Road. For more specifics I refer you to the many wonderful guidebooks and peak pages available for the area.

Red Tape


What's that? This is Idaho! Wander to your heart's content.

Camping


There are many wonderful campgrounds in and around the Boulders but there are limitless opportunities for backcountry camping in the range.

Please remember to practice Leave No Trace when camping in pristine areas.

External Links

Sawtooth National Forest-Ketchum Ranger District

Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Idaho: A Climbing Guide The Idaho Climbing Bible.

Idaho Outdoors Forum. Where the locals chat about the mountains.

Splattski.com Great trip reports and pictures. This link goes to his Boulders page.

Idahosummits.com Parent site of the Idaho Outdoors Forum with tons of trip reports. 
Lorenzo Peak when viewed from...
Lorenzo Peak

 
Taken from Silver Lake, this...
Solitude in the Boulders


Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
hgrapidProblem with Map

hgrapid

Hasn't voted

IdahoKid has Boulder Basin Peak in a way off latitude, so if you open your interactive map, it doesn't work so well due to his error. I contacted him to fix it.
Posted Jun 18, 2011 6:03 pm
mtybumpoRe: Problem with Map

mtybumpo

Hasn't voted

Which map are you referring to? Thanks for the heads up!
Posted Jun 18, 2011 6:53 pm
hgrapidLeft hand side

hgrapid

Hasn't voted

On the left hand side



Children

Mountains & Rocks (15) [Map]
Posted Jun 18, 2011 9:46 pm
mtybumpoRe: Left hand side

mtybumpo

Hasn't voted

I see now. I never noticed that before.
Posted Jun 18, 2011 11:39 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    

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