American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Idaho, Sawtooths, Mt. Ne'er-do-well and Baron Spire, New Routes

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Sawtooths, Mt. Ne’er-do-well and Baron Spire, new routes. In August 2007 Trevor Bowman and I climbed two new routes in the Baron Spire area. The first was on Peak 9,211', the highest summit on the serrated ridgecrest just north of Baron Spire. A Bum’s Rush (870' + 660’ of 3rd/4th to the summit, 5 pitches, III 5.11-) ascends the obvious cracks in the center of the west face. We believe this to be the only route to the summit, and if so we name it Mt. Ne’er-do-well.

Our other line ascends cracks and corners 30' right of the main chimney system that splits the southeast face of Baron Spire. The second pitch is stellar and would be at home in Yosemite. Tallboys and Breakfast Burritos (700', 6 pitches, III 5.10c A1). [The aid is for the summit-block bolt ladder of the Beckey Route.]

We returned in August 2008 for 12 days and completed three more new routes, the first two on Baron Spire’s southeast face. Lawdogs’ Lament (600', 5 pitches, III 5.10 A1) ascends the left portion of the obvious major chimney cleaving the face, and was named after an unfortunate encounter with local law and our friend’s narrow escape from their heavy hand. We consider this the best moderate in the area. Next we linked cracks and features to the amazing splitter crack on the prominent golden prow right of Lawdogs’. This route starts in a clean left-facing dihedral 50' left of Dowdle’s southeast face route. Deliverance (700', 6 pitches, III+, 5.10c A2).

We finished with the west ridge of Baron Spire, which had been on my mind for several summers. Beginning from Baron Lake, we hiked 500' to the low notch between Baron and Peak 9,211', then dropped 1,200' to the unnamed lake and headed up the drainage to the southwest for 800' to the base of the route. The route began with 300' of 5.8, leading to an obvious splitteron golden stone (70', 10c). Another 250' took us to a chimney system behind the ridge’s first spire (the Queen). From here the route ascends the ridge proper, climbing all significant spires and pinnacles until the west ridge joins the south ridge. We named the significant spires on the ridge after other castle characters, each spire seeming to exemplify its climbing character. The Queen is a 5.7 move, with a rappel off the notch; the Serf is 5-easy, the Jester is a 5.9 wide crack on the north side of the spire (downclimb the east ridge); the Dark Knight climbs cracks right off the true west ridge (5.9+, rap off); the King (140', 5.10-) begins on wedged blocks, and a 35m rap just makes it. From there we climbed to the south ridge and finished via the Beckey route. Royalty Ridge (1,700', IV 5.10c A1 [for Beckeys bolt ladder]). Topos can be found at the Perch.

Bryan Schmitz

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