American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Idaho, Baron Falls Tower, Carpal Tunnel

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Baron Falls Tower, Carpal Tunnel. John Frieh and I headed out to Idaho’s best-kept secret, the Sawtooth Range, in mid-August with the intent of spending four days climbing some of the excellent established routes in the area. We forwent the usual routes and crowds on the Elephant’s Perch and hiked back toward Warbon- net Peak. Our plan of attempting an established route changed when we got lost at 3:00 a.m. on the approach to our planned climb. Lucky for us, fortune favors the foolish, and once the sun came up John and I spotted a sweet line on the southwest face of Baron Falls Tower.

We named the route Carpal Tunnel due to the finger- intensive crux, as well as the most impressive inset dike either of us has ever seen, running roughly parallel to the route approximately 100 yards to its right. We stretched out (and then some) our 70m rope on each pitch, which allowed us to complete the route in six pitches; future parties should expect additional pitches if they do not use a 70m rope, as well as simul-climb.

The route parallels the dike for the first four pitches and then joins it at the top of pitch four, where you climb under a chockstone, wedged in the dike, that is as large as a bus. Pitch five climbs wedged blocks to gain the top of the chockstone. The rock was exceptional, minus a brief section of kitty litter.

From the summit descend east via two single-rope raps to a ridge that connects Baron Falls Tower to Point 9,211'. Once across the ridge, traverse south around Point 9,263'. Cross over to the south ridge of Point 9,211' and locate a gully system that diagonals northeast across the face. Downclimb this gully until, halfway down, a different gully, trending southeast, appears. This gully requires one single-rope rappel and a lot of downclimbing.Carpal Tunnel checked in at IV 5.11- A0 and was as good as anything on the Elephant’s Perch. The icing on the cake? We returned just in time to enjoy Idaho’s other best-kept secret, Josh Ritter, who played a free show at the Red Fish Lake Lodge.

Bryan Schmitz

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