Thursday afternoon Justin Woods, Kyle Neeley, and I hit the road for a few days trip to the Elephant’s Perch. The Elephant’s Perch is a 1,200ft granite formation in the Sawtooth Wilderness of Idaho. It has to be some of the highest quality rock and crack systems outside of the high sierras.
With August here, the fire season is now upon us. When we reached the town of Challis, ash was raining from the sky. Reluctant to continue on, we were assured conditions were better by the Perch from a quick phone call. As we neared the Sawtooths conditions did continue to improve. We got to Redfish Lake and quickly packed to make our boat shuttle across the lake.
The place was just as I remembered it. A mellow approach led to a beautiful cirque where we camped. As darkness fell, we set up camp next to the lake and settled in for the night. The next morning, being so close to the buttress, we had a casual morning before setting off to climb.
We set our sights on a newer route (“Mojo”) with hopes of learning some of the pitches. After two pitches, weather started to move in. Gusty winds and slight rain pestered us, forcing the decision to either bail down or up the “Mountaineers Route”. Since the weather wasn’t too bad, we decided to finish on the Mountaineers Route. A few great casual pitched got us to the summit.
The next day we decided to climb the “Becky Original” route. It’s about 10 pitches up the center of the buttress and I would describe it as a plethora of amazing corner and crack systems. One of the best routes I’ve done. We cranked away making good progress all day. Two pitches shy of the summit; we ran out of water and with the sun beating down on us, our pace slowed. We topped out in the early evening and made it back to camp with enough time for a quick dip in the lake and some fishing.
We were now feeling a little worked from all the climbing, but felt it necessary to get one more day in. With that, we headed back to “Mojo” to try and explore more pitches. This time the weather was great, but we were worked. We explored two more pitched before succumbing to the heat and exhaustion. We were happy taking the mystery out of two more pitches and are excited to return.
Monday we slept in and had a very casual morning before beginning the return journey home. The descent was mellow and soon we were on the road heading back to Missoula. It was another successful trip to the Perch and I’m excited to return.