Tower of Babel, the sixth highest summit in Idaho's Seven Devils Wilderness, is an imposing spire of Andesite rising 1,400 feet above nearby Sheep Lake. With its proximity to the seven devils campground, easy access from camp sites at Sheep Lake, as well as a class 3 srambling route to the summit, this mountain sees many ascents per year. An interesting note is that the steep east face has no climbing routes on it.
The first ascent of the Tower of Babel was on June 1939 by A.H. Marshall. Marshall was a pioneer in the area and responsible for many first ascents.
The rock is this area is generally poor in quality, and offers limited protection in some spots (knifeblades and RURPs would be very handy if doing first ascents). The mountains do lend themselves to scrambling quite nicely featuring rock with many edges. The range has seen very few technical ascents. Routefinding can be the crux on some of the harder routes.
Drive US95 to the town of Riggins, Idaho. About 1 mile south of town, turn right onto Seven Devils Road, then drive 17.4 miles to the trailhead at Seven Devils Campground at 7,600 feet. The road starts out as paved then becomes steep and winding gravel for the remainder. Watch out for cows on the road, this is a grazing area. Figure on 30 minutes to drive this.
From the upper campground, find the trail heading to Seven Devils Lake. Hike 150 yards to the lake, then look for the nonmaintained cross country climber's path heading west towards the ridgeline. Hike up to the ridgeline, then traverse it south. From here either drop down into the basin for a camp at Sheep Lake, or traverse slopes to the start of your route.
The Marshall Ledges Route - Class 3
- A scrambling route that makes a rising traverse of ledge systems completely circling the peak. This was the route of first ascent.
South Ridge - Class 3
- A mostly loose rock scramble starting at the col between the Tower of Babel and Mount Baal. The route avoids several large gendarmes on either the east or west side. This is by far the most popular route.
North Ridge - Class 5.6 (mostly 3rd and 4th)
- An excellent scramble on good rock starting at the top of the gulley between the Turret of Babel (North Summit), and the Tower of Babel.
- Details are unknown.
- Details are unknown.
Mount Baal is more of a highpoint on the southwest ridge of the Tower of Babel than a separate peak. It rises approximately 200 feet above the high ridgeline between the Tower of Babel and She Devil. The northeast and southwest ridge are both easy class 2 scrambles from the adjoining ridgeline. The steep northwest face towering above Sheep Lake is probably unclimbed.
This summit is climbed often by climbers completing a He Devil to Tower of Babel traverse.
No permits, no fees, and no parking passes.
When To Climb
Early July to the end of September is the normal climbing season. The trailhead is at 7,600 feet, and will be snowed in if you go too early in the season. Bring a pair of skies if you want a winter ascent, snowmobiles are forbidden here.
According to records, none of the major peaks of the Seven Devils Wilderness have seen a winter ascent.
Camping is not restricted. There are several campsites at the various different trailheads that access the range. Even better, there are dozens of beautiful high alpine lakes with excellent views of the surrounding peaks to camp at.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area