Abes Armchair is located at the southern end of the grand Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho.
Although the Abes Armchair doesn't fall under the typecast Sawtooth Peak as rugged and gnarly, it is still a beautiful summit and an enjoyable climb. Perhaps the most oustanding feature of this peak is its quartzite covered northern and eastern faces, which forms a beautiful contrast of colors.
Abes Armchair is quite a steep mountain but very little in the way technical climbing can be found on its slopes. Its numerous ridges and drainages rise from the Sawtooth Valley beautifully behind Sawtooth City forming what looks like a massive armchair, hence the name.
Access to this wonderul peak is quite excellent by Idaho standards. The main route requires no technical climbing whatsoever and only about a total of 2,500'.
Due to its prominence at the southern end of the Sawtooth Valley, and proximity to the famous Smiley Creek Store, Abes Armchair sees its fair share of traffic throughout the year. As of September 04, a family has established a summit register at the top. In it you will find, a seashell, a box of cigars, Excedrin, and a TOPO map of the peak that I left up there. Since the creation of this register by the family, two other parties, myself included, have signed it. Based on that info, I would estimate that this peak sees 5-10 ascents, at the most, per year.
Sawmill Canyon Route.
Primary access to Abes Armchair is from Stanley to the north, and Ketchum or Sun Valley to the south, via Highway 75.
Requirements For Climbing Abes Armchair
Trail finding skills
Good sense of direction
Frenchman Creek Topo Map
Leave Highway 75 at the Smiley Creek Road if coming from Stanley, or the Smiley Creek Cutoff Road if coming from Ketchum, both of which are located near Sawtooth City. These two road lead you up Smiley Creek and join near the mouth of the canyon.
After the two roads have joined continue south along Smiley Creek until reaching the spot where Sawmill Canyon descends from the west. Park just on the side of the road just before the point where the creek crosses the road.
Though it is not shown on any map, a faint trail on the east side of the creek that descends from Sawmill Canyon, leads up hill near the beautiful stream. This trail is difficult to follow in spots.
After about .25 miles the Sawmill Canyon Trail will lead steeply uphill. Take the trail uphill until it begins to deviate back to the south toward the creek. Leave the trail here and hike steeply uphill, north-northwest, through the forest heading for Pt. 8,527. It is easy to get turned around on this portion of the climb to be sure to keep your map handy.
Just before reaching Pt. 8,527, the ridge will mellow out and open up to a small meadow. This is your first glimpse at Abes Armchair since the trailhead. You may panic as it seems you are headed the wrong way, but continue north until the meadow tops out at Pt. 8,527.
From here, turn due west and walk along the flats of the forest until reaching the east ridge of the peak.
The east ridge is pleasent walk up large field of sage and wildflowers to about 8,800'. From here, the route enters an alpine forest and gains in angle.
Once through this small forest, angle a little southward and climb to the absolute top of the east ridge. The summit then comes into view with the impressive white rock to your left.
Continue hiking up the very small ridge between the white rock to the left and alpine forest to your right. Just above 9,800' you will come to a small false summit.
From the false summit it is a short walk on a ridge to the real summit of Abes Armchair.
Total Elevation Gain:2,600'
Total Mileage:3.3 Miles
Red TapeNo red tape or permits required for this area. The Smiley Creek Road is closed in winter.
When To ClimbAbes Armchair makes an excellent year-round destination. Although usually climbed in the snow-free months, late-June through early-October, because of its proximity to Highway 75 and its wide open bowls, back country skiiers usually flock to this mountain after a fresh coating of snow.
Mountain ConditionsAbes Armchair is not located near any major weather reporting stations. However, This website will give you a good idea of what conditions will be like in the area.