Lorenzo Peak is complex mountain with many different ridges, faces, and summits. It sits on the main crest of the Boulder Range in central Idaho and is truly the crown jewel of the range.
The lower summit of Lorenzo Peak's outstanding southwest face has been on the cover of countless postcards. Its massive cliffs and multi-colored rock forms a picturesque background to the upper Wood River Valley.
The true peak, however, lies behind and much higher in elevation than the famous southwest face. The summit is beautiful as well as it towers over Silver Lake and the encompassing cirque. Each of Lorenzo Peak's 5 faces are impressive and nearly impassable as, like most of the Boulder Mountains, the rock is unstable and crumbly. The true elevation has yet to be determined and is usually labeled 11,240'+.
Just as Lorezno Peak is one of the most beautiful mountains in the Boulder Range, it is also one of the most difficult to climb. Of the three routes established on this peak, two involve some sort of class 4 climbing, while the standard route includes class 3 terrain and an elevation gain of more than 4,400 feet, you must have to be an excellent mountaineer to ascend this peak.
Because Lorenzo Peak is not officially named on maps yet, or has been given a true elevation, few people ever venture up this peak. The many spires, cliffs, and gullys may also create an intimidation factor to the average climber.
Lorenzo Peak came from a well known climber in the Sun Valley area who climbed the peak in the late 1970s and decided to name it after his recently deceased dog.
Southeast Ridge Route
Primary access for the Southeast Ridge Route begins in Kethchum and Sun Valley, Idaho via Highway 75.
Requirements For Climbing Lorenzo Peak's Southeast Ridge Route
Drive north from Ketchum on Highway 75 for roughly 14 miles to the Silver Creek Road. This road is across from Baker Creek on the right and is not well marked.
Silver Creek Road crosses quickly crosses the Big Wood River on a good bridge and begin to head up the Silver Creek drainage. The first mile of the road is in good condition and is smooth sailing. When the road splits, take the right fork.
After taking the right fork, the road begins to deteriorate and head up a hill. Silver Creek Road then drops into another valley and splits again. Take the right fork again.
Here the road climb high up on a ridge above the valley while turning from improved dirt road to rocky mess.
The exciting portion of the drive comes just before reaching the trailhead as the road steeply switchbacks up a hill. This is where excellent driving experience is a must.
Shortly after the switchbacks, the road heads into a grove of Aspen Trees and the trailhead for Silver Lake. Park here.
The Silver Lake Trail begins steeply as it climbs from the Aspens into an alpine forest. Right from the beginning, Lorenzo Peak's beautiful lower walls are visible. The trail levels out and paralells Silver Creek a few hundred feet higher on a west face.
The Silver Creek Trail is faint and difficult to follow. If you loose it, back track until you find it, as it is difficult to follow the creek bottom.
Near the 9,200' contour line, you will reach a point where the trail descends from the forest and follow along Silver Creek. Shortly afterward, the trail disappears at the base of some waterfalls. Turn due northeast and bushwhack until you find another trail a few hundred yards higher.
This trail will lead you to a point just below Silver Lake. From where it fades, it is an easy walk over to the lake.
From Silver Lake the next move is to gain the Southeast Ridge, which is the crux of the climb. Head straight for the base of the ridge. While you can't see it you are headed toward the gully that allows you to access the southeast ridge.
I will do my best to describe how to access this gully.
The scree fields below the the ridge form two chutes that join just above the valley floor. Head up the main scree chute and take the right fork. This will take you to a very small gully that angles westward below intimidating cliffs.. The rock in this gully in very loose so be careful.
About half way up this gully is a 8-10 foot tall nearly vertical broken wall. A climb up this gives great exposure and class 4 climbing. The best footholds are found to the right.
Once you have made up the wall, continue up the small gully that eventually broadens out onto the steep southeast ridge of Lorenzo Peak.
The first few hundred feet of the ridge is on mellow, semi-loose scree. At about 10,800', the ridge runs into a hulky looking rock. Climb up some class three exposure up the face of this rock to the steep and rocky terrain above.
The next hundred feet is on very steep and loose rock but is manageable.
Around 11,000 you will run into another cliff on the ridge. This time, contour around it to the west. Once you have passed the cliffs, gain the ridge again and climb the remaining obstacle-free ridge to the steep-sided summit.
Total Mileage: 4.2
Total Elevation Gain:2,800'
Southeast Colouir Route
The Southeast Colouir Route is found in the upper Silver Lake Cirque, access is from Silver Lake.
Requirements For Climbing the Southeast Colouir Route (from Silver Lake
This is an alternative to the Southeast Ridge Route and is an spring/early-summer snow climb. Loose talus would make it nearly impossible during summer and fall months.
From Silver Lake (see above) hike to the high ridge at 10,000' just west of Lake 9,772. From here, continue hiking up the cirque until the small gully opens up to your left.
It is possible to kickstep to about 10,200', but afterward the gully narrows and steepens. Crampons and an ice axe are a must with a rop being optional.
The crux of the snow climb comes about half way up as the angle of terrain approaches 45'. Before this point, however, it is possible to climb out of the colouir to the right (if its dry) and up on a small ridge that paralells the ridge just above.
To gain this ridge requires some class 4 moves with great exposure.
At about 10,600' the both the ridge and colouir dead end at some cliffs below the southeast ridge. At this point, a faint ledge leads southwest at the base of the cliffs to the southeast ridge. See above for an explanation to the summit.
Requirements For Climbing Lorenzo Peak's Unnamed Route
For access to the Unnamed Route, drive north from Ketchum on Highway 75 for 18 miles to the Prarie Creek Road turnoff. Park in the turnoff area and begin in your wading shoes.
Cross highway 75 and immediaetly ford the Big Wood River, which is dangerous until late August. Cross the remaining portion of the Big Wood River Valley aiming for the unnamed drainage that leads up the western side of Lorenzo Peak.
The drainage begins as a somewhat wide valley but narrows quickly into and heads into a thick forest. Continue heading upstream always staying left when the drainage splits.
Near 8,400' the the terrain becomes steep and rocky. Bypass this portion of the drainge by climbing from the creek bottom onto the slope coming from the west.
Once past the rocky terrain drop down into the small valley once again and continue uphill. Follow the curve of the valley near 10,200' to the east then southeast aiming for the saddle of Lorenzo Peak and its lower summit. From here it is a 700' scramble up the very steep, yet obstacle free, southwest ridge of the peak.
No red tape or permits required for this area. On the Silver Lake and Southeast Colouir approach, of wheel vehicles are prohibited past the trailhead.
Many mountain goats roam this area, please, leave them alone.
When To Climb
Snow-free climbing conditions on a normal snow year would be found from early or mid-July through October.
This mountain has been climbed and skiied in winter but only by professionals. Their account of the ascent was disturbing. The steep nature of this mountain makes it nearly impassble during winter.
There are several campgrounds along Highway 75 before the turnoff for either of the routes.
Camping at Silver Lake is possible.
Lorenzo Peak is isolated and not located near any repoering weater stations. This website will give you a good idea of future conditions.