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Need beta on Sawtooth climbing
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Jun 27, 2005, 5:35 PM
Post #1 of 2 (2146 views)

Registered: Jun 18, 2005
Posts: 55

Need beta on Sawtooth climbing  (North_America: United_States: Idaho: Sawtooth_Range: Elephants_perch)
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Does anyone know how long of an approach it is to either The Elephants perch or the Finger of Fate (time or distance) from the parking area? Also which one is better?


Jun 28, 2005, 7:22 AM
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Registered: Oct 6, 2003
Posts: 264

Re: Need beta on Sawtooth climbing [In reply to]
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I'll start the ball rolling. I've been to each only once or twice and this is strictly from memory.

The approach to the Elephant's Perch starts with a boat ride across Redfish Lake. The boats are a concession and run frequently and on demand, cost about $5 for the round trip. From the far dock the hike into Shangri-La is about 3.5 miles and maybe a little over 2,000 vertical. So, that's probably 2 to 2-1/2 hours depending on load. Trail conditions are good. The only hiccup is finding the correct stream crossing and orienting properly after the crossing. Its fairly easy, just get the goods before going.

The approach to the Finger of Fate involves a few miles of somewhat rugged driving to the trailhead, so take your truck. The hike is 5-6 miles. The first say 4 miles is relatively flat on good trail. Then, you go steeply uphill to a plateau, traverse over, and look for the best looking "cross-country" route. There is a line of least resistance and a climbers trail leading to the base. I'd say this approach with rucksack is 2-1/2 to 3 hours, but you might do better.

Which one is better?

We did the The Book (5.8) on the Finger of Fate as a day route and that is highly recommended. It is comparable to the Petite Grepon, though not as much vert (~600 ft) nor quite the dramatic scenery. Nonetheless, a very good route on a cool formation. There are a few more routes there, but the climbing is definitely limited relative to the Perch.

The Elephant's Perch is more like a chunk of Yosemite that got lost. You can get in a dozen pitches (~1200 or more ft) on high quality rock at generally much higher standards than the Finger. The Mountaineer's Route is the only route to my knowledge that is as easy as 5.9. Perhaps there's another to its left, but with 30+ routes on its flanks, you need to be solid on 5.10/5.11 trad to get up very many climbs. There are other options nearby, however. There is a shorter pillar (name forgotten), the Goat's Perch, and the Chipmunk's Perch at hand. They offer more mountaineering style rock routes but on somewhat lesser quality rock.

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