Baker Peak is located in the the heart of the Smoky Mountains of central Idaho.
Baker Peak located near the southern end of a group of 10,000'+ peaks that make up the most impressive terrain in the Smoky Range. Although not outstanding in appearence, Baker Peak is an elusive peak and not easily seen from anywhere. Many believe Backdrop Peak
is indeed Baker Peak itself due to its location above Baker Lake and impressive east face, though those with any map would know different.
All of Baker Peak's north, south, east, and west faces are made of broken talus that is steep, but certainly passable. Its south face is the most grand and therefore is perhaps the most attractive when viewed from the East Fork Big Peak Creek drainage, a valley that is most likely never visited. The most interesting feature may be the summit area of Baker. The large and round summit is made of pure broken rock but is expansive for a summit area and dips and rolls like the Palouse. The summit is capped by a small easily attained little rock tower smack-dab in the center.
Although Baker Peak is remote and isolated, reaching it is not a difficult endeavor. Many find their way over from Baker Lake or head directly up Baker Creek. Either way, a climb up this mountain involves limited class II climbing but allows for a wilderness experience. Based on a summit register placed on the summit by the Sierra Mountain Club in 1990, it seems about an average of 1-2 parties summit each year. By Idaho standards, this is a moderately visited peak.
To access the Northeast Ridge and Baker Creek Routes from Ketchum, Idaho, drive north on Highway 75 for 16 miles until reaching the turnoff on the south side of the highway for Baker Creek.
Take this turn and follow this outstanding dirt road for 9.5 long miles to the depth of the Smoky Mountains. At the end of the road is the trailhead for Baker Lake.
No red tape or permits required.
Baker Creek Road is closed during winter to cars but is a popular area for snowmobilers to play. Deaths out Baker due to this activity are almost seasonal.
When To Climb
Baker Peak could easily be climbed as soon as the road is opened in spring. A mountaineer with some experience would have no difficulties climbing Baker in snowy conditions.
During winter with the road closed, access would be very difficult.
Camping at the trailead allows the luxury of an outhouse and a large parking area in the woods. Many may also choose to camp at Baker Lake at summit from there.
Camping along the ridges and unmaintained valleys in and around Baker Peak would not be advisable because of exposure.
Baker Peak is remote and not located near any reporting weather stations, large or small. The following links provide the best information available for the area near this mountain
Sawtooth Avalanche Center- Gives daily avalanche reports during winter.
Idaho Outdoors Forum- Frequent reports of local conditions and climbs in the area.
Sawtooth National Forest Website- Provides information on road closures, wildfires, and other current happenings in the area.