In August 2012, two routes were established on the previously unclimbed east face of Mt. Idaho (12,065’). They both go more or less up the center of the diamond-shaped face. Kevin Hansen and Wes Collins completed the first ascent of the face via the Mountaineer’s Route (III 5.8). Their route starts to the left of the massive chimney at the base and continues up to the overhanging upper headwall, where it escapes left into a steep gully. During their ascent, Kevin noticed a series of cracks and features that went directly up the center of the face that looked fun. When he mentioned this possibility, I jumped at the chance to return with him.
Kevin and I started on a right-angling crack from the base of the chimney (5.9). Some easier terrain (5.6) took us to the headwall, which we climbed via a faint, overhanging water streak about 15’ right of the prominent white triangle in the center of the face (5.10a). Another long pitch of moderate terrain (5.7) took us to the base of the imposing and overhanging headwall. From there we climbed up a slightly less steep notch where there are two facing corners about 20’ apart. Kevin climbed the left-facing corner and, after excavating a lot of dirt and rocks from the crack in the middle of the crux, managed to pull through, climbing to the top of the face (5.10b/c). We called the route the East Face Direct (III 5.10b/c) and climbed it in five rope-stretching 70m pitches, with a bit of simul-climbing.
Cory Harelson, AAC