OverviewCome to Jesus!
The North face of Mount Church soars more than 2,500’ above Lake 9682 in the East Fork of Upper Pahsimeroi valley. Potential routes are lined up in a long row of vertical cliff bands that scar its broad visage. The face is visible for a good deal of the 4 mile approach hike and that’s ample time for the would-be mountaineer to feel the sting of pre climb jitters. However, once on the face, the climbing is strait forward and solid.
In late summer after the snow has cleared, the climbing is a pleasure compared to most Lost River routes. Nearly all of the scree is washed off the face so you’ll ascend solid rock ramps. The climbing is steep and may not forgive a careless stumble. It can be difficult to find a comfortable place to sit down and rest. Rock fall, although not common for a summer climb, is a very real danger on this face. There are very few obstacles that will stop rolling pain. Wear A Helmet!!
If a snow climb is more to your flavor, you won’t be let down. Conditions on a good snow year will hang on the face well into late spring. The photo below was taken on the 5th of June in 2004. Once again, this is a face that may not allow you to get away with a fall.
Getting ThereStop In Mackay or Challis and pick up a free Forest Service travel Map at the USFS. office or any convenience store.
From U.S. Hwy 93, 46 miles north of Arco (32 miles south
of Challis), follow FS Road 116 northeast over Double springs
Pass for 10 miles to the turnoff of FS Road 117. Look for the Horse Haven Pass sign. Follow 117 over Horse heaven Pass for 7.5 miles to The Mahogany Creek crossing, continue south along the contour of the mountains till you reach Ferd’s Cabin. (pictured above) Just past the cabin the road forks, take the left fork and drive to the end of the road. Hike 4 miles up the East fork to the start of the climb.
Route DescriptionFrom the small tarn at 9,682’ hike straight up through the wide chimney splitting the large cliff band. The Chimney is steep but easy terrain when covered in snow. You could bypass this section if you move to the left end of the cliff band and then rejoin the route above. In summer follow the rock ramp directly to the summit ridge, or cross a small class 5, rotten cliff step at about 11,900’ and go directly to the summit.
A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss.Many Lost River range snow climbs are known for puking a steady barrage of rocks. Savy climbers stack the odds in their favor by donning a hard hat. Most summer climbs are pretty safe from falling debris because it never gets a chance to gain momentum in the talus so the helmet gets left at home.
The North face of Mount Church is a series of long, clean rock ramps, the occasional rock that dislodges from the upper slopes has an unobstructed ride to the bottom.