Copper Mountain is the northern-most peak in the Sawtooth Range and is often over-looked for the more dramatic and interesting peaks during the summer. Winter is when this mountain is most often climbed and backcountry skiing is popular on it's broad and treeless southwest slopes. By distance and elevation gain, this is the easiest mountain in the Sawtooth Range.
Every summer thousands of people visiting Stanley, Idaho drive right by this mountain without much notice. Come winter when most all of the Sawtooth Valley approach roads are snowed-in, this is a popular destination. After Titus Ridge and the Mores Creek Summit area, this is the next most visited winter site for skiers and snow-shoeing. Thankfully, few snow-mobilers visit this area and it has a quiet, serene, wilderness feel to it.
Newman Creek to SW Ridge Route- In just 2 miles and 2105 feet this straight-forward route gains the broad ridge. To make the trip more interesting, you may want to check out Point 8895 to the southeast. Requires skis or snows-shoes, but no ice-ax.
Direct North Face- From the Newman Lake area, this route follows the prominent creek that drains into this lake. In 2 miles and 2395 feet of elevation gain, this route requires careful scrambling near the summit and a mindful watch of snow conditions during the winter near the summit. The last 300 feet are the steepest and are on loose and exposed rock. Ice-ax is required during the winter
Thatcher Creek Approach- starts at the Thatcher Creek Campground (or just southeast) and follows the Jeep road up to mining remnants at about 7500 feet. Aim for the saddle between the summit and point 8630. The summit is attained in 4 miles and 2422 feet. This is a difficult winter approach.
The high point on the summit ridge is point 8966 and technically the ridge extends southeast to point 8895. This long ridge often has huge cornices and offers a great view of the higher peaks to the southeast. To the north is the Salmon River Mountains and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Late winter or early Spring days can be sunny and warm. Conversely, storms can shut down Idaho 21 in this region. Avalanches are common and occur every year across the roads.
There is a small unnamed lake just west of Point 8895 that makes a good camp spot where you won't see a soul.
Equipment: Skis or snowshoes. Sunglasses on the sunny winter days when it can be blinding in the bright snow.
On ID-21, continue northeast past Lowman and eventually past Banner Summit. Approximately 1.25 to 1.6 miles past the summit, park your vehicle and look for a small side valley (Newman Creek)
From Newman Creek ascend the prominent ridge just to the northeast. Follow the ski tracks or snow-shoe tracks.
To check to see if ID-21 is open: Click Here
Red TapeNo permits of any kind are required. No fees or passes are required
When To ClimbWinter is the most interesting time to climb this peak. Nearby Stanley, Idaho Climate Data:
|Average Max. Temperature (F)||27.0||33.7||42.5||50.3||59.9||68.4||78.7||78.4||68.6||56.6||38.1||26.0||52.4|
|Average Min. Temperature (F)||-0.5||0.3||9.7||20.3||28.3||33.9||36.0||34.0||27.2||20.6||12.0||-0.8||18.4|
|Average Total Precipitation (in.)||1.64||1.33||1.02||1.02||1.17||1.16||0.59||0.59||0.78||0.92||1.46||1.55||13.24|
|Average Total SnowFall (in.)||16.9||13.2||10.2||3.4||0.9||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.4||1.7||10.4||14.6||71.9|
|Average Snow Depth (in.)||18||20||15||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||6|
Latest Avalanche Report (Sawtooth Area)
National Weather Service Current Forecast for Stanley:
Sawtooth Web Cam can give you a good idea of the conditions in the area:
Sawtooth National Recreation Area
SNOTEL site gives latest snow depth readings: