147 named or recognized peaks and towers exist in this area of roughly 30 miles from north to south, by 15 miles from east to west. 33 of the peaks rise above 10,000 feet and at least 40 prominent rock towers or peaks exist above and beyond this 116 that have no recognition. Some of these have never been climbed and most have absolutely no known information or first ascent data.
Out of the 147 recognized peaks, 1 has an official trail to it's summit (Observation Peak).
Here is a summation of the Peaks by Easiest Recognized Route Class:
|Class||# of Peaks|
|Noteworthy Rock Climbs||Noteworthy Couloir Climbs||Noteworthy Scrambles|
|Elephant's Perch-Mountaineer's Route(5.9)||Williams Peak-June Couloir||Horstmann Peak (Class 3)|
|Finger of Fate-Open Book (5.8+)||Horstmann Peak-Sickle Couloir||Mt. Regan (Class 4)|
|Mt. Heyburn-Stur Chimney (5.5)||Grand Mogul- The Chockstone Couloir||Tohobit Peak (Class 4)|
|Warbonnet Peak- Southwest Rib(5.9)||Tohobit Peak-North Face||Snowyside Peak (Class 3)|
|Fishhook Spire (5.5)||Mt. Heyburn-Petzoldt Couloir||Baron Peak (Class2)|
|Le Bec D'Aigle-East Face (5.3)||Chockstone Peak-Iowa Couloir||Thompson Peak (Class 3)|
|The Arrowhead-West Face (5.9)||Thompson Peak-SW Couloir||Alpine Peak (Class 2)|
|Grand Aiguille-(5.4)||Mt. Underhill-Mazama Couloir||Braxon Peak (Class 3)|
|Goat Perch-(5.9)||McGown Peak-NE Diagonal||Redfish Peak (Class3)|
|Chipmunk Perch-Four Horsemen(5.9)||Merritt Peak-East Side||Dave's Peak (Class 4)|
|Cirque Peak (5.9, A1)||Mt. Bush- East Ridge||Elk Peak (Class 3)|
|Baron Spire (5.9 A2)||Mt. Cramer-West Couloir||Decker Peak (Class 3)|
|Baron Falls Tower (5.10)||McGown Peak (Class 3)|
|Mayan Temple-NW Ridge (5.9)||Mt. Cramer (Class 3)|
|Blue Rock Dome (5.11)||Peak 10027 (Class 2)|
|Super Slab (Redfish) (5.6-5.11 routes)|
|Horstmann Peak-NW Buttress (5.9)|
|Mt. Sevy (5.4)|
Dave Williams came to the Sawtooth Valley and etched out a living doing various jobs. He had opened his own dairy and butcher shop, delivered the mail up and over Galena Summit (nearly 9000 feet- and can still be tough to get over in a car!), and worked the Vienna Mine south of Stanley near the Smiley Lodge. Like many Swiss guide, his hunting of goats led him high on the mountains and developed into a love of climbing. He informally guided Robert and Miriam Underhill of the Iowa Mountaineers up many of the local peaks like Mt. Heyburn and the first ascent of Williams Peak. He was considered a local expert in his time in terms of rock and mountain climbing skills and was always enthusiastic and willing to climb.
Enticed by the writings of the Underhills and Dave Williams, the Iowa Mountaineers entered the area after World War II and established a good number of first ascents. Led by John Ebert, the group established route firsts on Chockstone Peak, Goat Perch, Redfish Peak, Mount Carter, Schwartz Pinnacle, Mt. Bush, Mt. Iowa, Mt. Ebert, and Warbonnet Peak. In 1947 Paul Petzoldt and the Iowa Mountaineers made the first ascent of Warbonnet Peak. Also during this time, a cluster of new routes were established on Mt. Heyburn, including the Petzoldt Couloir that bears his name.Beckey Bolt Ladder on Baron Spire. Also to his credit are ascents of the West Pinnacle, The Thimble, El Pima, Splinter Tower, and the daunting North Raker. This spectacular tower is seldom visited, rarely photographed, and less often climbed. The easiest route is a hard aid route (Class 6). During a recent discussion, Beckey remembered little of his Sawtooth days.
In 1954 Louis Stur, a Hungarian immigrant, climbed Mt. Heyburn for the first time. He teamed up with Beckey and Jerry Fuller for some of his climbs. He pioneered 3 routes on Warbonnet, and his Stur Chimney Route on Heyburn is a classic. His personality was always positive and infectious. He died after a fall while exploring a chimney on Baron Peak in 1989.
During the 1970's, the massive sheer wall on the Elephant's Perch was finally explored and developed. Beckey, along with Greg and Jeff Lowe established routes on the wall. Around this time, Lyman Dye established a guide service and explored and guided such groups as the Mazamas and the Iowa Mountaineers. Kirk Bachman established his Sawtooth Guide Service in 1985 and had established some interesting and difficult rock and snow routes in the range in the years prior. In the 1990's Tom Lopez published his "Idaho: A Climbing Guide" book. The Sawtooth section provided information never before seen in print. Unfortunately, much of the information in the first edition was sketchy or second hand information that lost accuracy during translation. To his defense, many climbers from the previous era intensely guarded their rock climbing information and the original intention was to whet your appetite for climbing in the region.. The latest edition of Lopez's book is a vast improvement in regard to the Sawtooth area- better accuracy, more photos, diagrams etc. You will not, however, find a climbing topo for any of the routes in his book. Still, this book remains the best source of information for climbing in the Sawtooth Range.