Situated north of the Monte Verita Ridge in the Sawtooths is one of the best kept secrets in terms of mountain scrambles in the range. Moolack Mountain is an unofficially named peak that actually sits taller than neighboring Baron Peak, but is virtually never summitted. Baron Peak and Moolack Mountain share the same north-south ridgeline and sit just 0.5 miles from each other. Most scramblers choose Baron Peak and Moolack is often an after thought. As a day scramble, Baron Peak is long, and those that accomplish both have accomplished no small scrambling achievement. Moolack Mountain itself is as worthy a goal as any other Class 3 type peak in the range.
Moolack Mountain takes it's name from the Chinook term "Moolack" which means elk. Just to the southwest is Moolack Creek, and appropriately enough there is lush vegetation in the lower sections of the creek and abundant elk and deer. Even moose have been seen near the confluence of Moolack Creek and the South Fork of Baron Creek. Mountain Goat frequent the ridges and slopes surrounding the Moolack-Baron area. The alpine basin just south of Moolack Mountain is one of the most spectacular and hidden valleys in the whole range. It takes considerable effort via bush-whacking, route finding, and rugged scrambling just to get to this scenic and stunning basin. From the basin, both Baron Peak and Moolack can be accessed.
From the summit of Moolack Mountain the views are spectacular and unique. Warbonnet, Tohobit, and Grandjean, which form the northwestern anchor the the most comprehensive collection of rock towers in Idaho, is visible to the south. Directly north is the majestic Mt. Regan, with one of the more challenging scrambles in the range (Class 4). On the north side of both Baron Peak and Moolack is the largest collection of permanent snowfields in the Sawtooth Range. If there ever was a glacier, or ever will be, this is the area that would contain them. These snowfields linger on the cold, shady north sides all year round.
The routes up Moolack Mountain are varied and numerous. The most challenging sections are at the summit block, and several towers near the summit are close to the same size as the true summit, which adds to the route- finding challenges.
South Slopes (Class 2-3)-The standard and easiest route ascends the mostly open and scree ridden south slopes with great views of Baron Peak. See Routes Page for more
West Ridge (Class 4)- This challenging route provides a scenic route across a rugged ridgeline. See Routes Page for more
Other Routes (Class 4-5)- The NNE ridge is a distinct possibility that starts in the very upper reaches of the North Fork of Baron Creek. This alpine route combines rock and snow and has yet to be documented. The south ridge starts at the Baron Peak-Moolack saddle. Avoid Class 5 towers on the west side of this south ridge.
On ID-21, continue northeast past Lowman for 25 miles. Turn right at the sign for the Sawtooth Lodge and Grandjean and continue for 6 miles on very good dirt road. At Grandjean, take the left fork to the hiker's/horse trailhead and campground area. Park at the Backpackers / Hikers trailhead.
From the Grandjean trailhead, follow the trail along the South Fork of the Payette River until it forks and follow the Baron Creek Trail. After 3.5 miles, cross the creek utilizing a large log. Stay in the South Fork of baron Creek with views of Baron Peak and Tohobit Peak. Leave the trail after another mile near the Moolack Creek crossing.
Check the road conditions at: Idaho Transportation Department
Conditions may vary greatly. Access is typically from May to October.
The Grandjean Area access to the Sawtooths is typically a little warmer and drier than the east approaches. The Grandjean Trailhead is at 5200 feet, compared to the 6500 feet of most of the east approaches. The Grandjean Road still gets snowed in every year and snow-mobilers usually recreate on the road up to the wilderness area.
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|