South Ridge

Page Type
Idaho, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Mountaineering, Mixed, Scrambling
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Most of a day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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South Ridge
Created On: Feb 5, 2007
Last Edited On: Feb 5, 2007


The south ridge route on Limestone Mountain is mostly a Class 2 scramble with some exposed Class 3 ledge crossings.  If covered in snow, depending on the condition of the snow, the route can be downright treacherous.  From the tarn lake at 9870, ascend the south slopes to a prominent gap on the SW ridge.  Follow this ridge to just below an obvious limestone band that seems to guard the summit.  This is a false summit, but contains a nice view of the real summit.  If you would like to get up this for scoping the route, etc. climb through the only V notch to reach the top of the false summit.  For the true summit, traverse left (toward the north) just under this limestone band onto some exposed and loose ramps that lead to a point just north of the lower south summit (false summit).   The exposed sections are easy, and relatively wide, but given the loose rock, caution should be exercised.  A fall in this area would most likely be fatal as the limestone cliff band drops off.  From the prominent notch between the south summit and the true summit, check out the wind cave with views of the southeast part of the range.  You'll actually be looking through a part of the mountain.  The last 100 feet ascend a very sharp and rocky spine to the true summit.

South Ridge Route from parking area: (5 Miles, 5009 foot elevation gain - one way)  

Stormy Morning on Lost River Range

Getting There

From a well used trail near some historic irrigation remnants, pass a newer gauging station, but as you continue you'll see what was once a massive pipe that went from an old dam, down toward Mackay. At around 2 miles you'll pass an impressive waterfall (most of the year) coming in from the northwest slopes of Wet Peak. After passing the historic dam that was breached, the trail becomes faint and you'll need to scramble through the wooded forests on the sides of the drainage to avoid rock hopping the creek bed. Once the trees disappear at around 8800 feet, the slope gets dramatically steeper as you approach a series of limestone cliffs that are easily circumnavigated. Some of these cliffs may have water seeping down them giving them the appearance of "weeping walls". The tarn lake at 9870 is a prominent landmark, as is the dramatic twin towers above this area. Follow the slope north contouring an obvious drainage line until your on the southwest ridge proper.
Limestone Mountain TraverseThe trail that we cut across the exposed slope is easily visible. It took over an hour of ice-ax and boot scraping hard labor to get through.
Limestone Mountain

South Ridge

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