Get Out There
(page 6 of 6)
The Higher You Get
Hiking and Climbing Spots throughout the Valley
BY KATHLEEN KRISTENSON
Sun Valley is defined as much by the mountains that surround it as by the space between them. Nestled at the intersection of three scenic mountain ranges (the Pioneer, Smoky and Boulder mountains) with even more nearby (the Sawtooth and White Cloud mountains), the area provides endless opportunities for climbing and hiking, the caliber of which is some of the best in the world. Whether you are looking for a technical adventure or an afternoon stroll through the sagebrush, there is something for everyone.
Located near the border of Utah in southern Idaho, the City of Rocks is known for its unique granite spires. Climbers from around the world are drawn by its easy access to almost 1,000 routes varying in length from one to five pitches. There is an abundance of car camping in the area and the climate makes it desirable as an off-season day trip or overnight adventure for local climbers.C
When summer turns up the heat, it’s time to head into the Sawtooths for some more great climbing. The slabs above Redfish Lake have incredible views and challenging climbs, some requiring a full day commitment. If that’s not enough, “the Pioneers are Idaho’s hidden gem,” explained Marc Hanselman, a guide for Sawtooth Mountain Guides, “and offer several remote alpine climbs of easy difficulty and fantastic exposure, which are seldom ever traveled.”
The Wood River Valley is full of hiking trails, good for lunch breaks or all-day excursions. Carbonate Mountain, on the west edge of Hailey, has a trail up the ridge, as well as switchbacks, and can be completed in a short amount of time. Two other quick hikes, Proctor Ridge and Corral Creek, are east of Sun Valley on Trail Creek Road, as is the longer hike to the historic Pioneer Cabin. On the north side of Ketchum is a network of trails called Adams Gulch and, of course, Bald Mountain has its own options. Hike to the overlook, or Roundhouse for lunch, or all the way to the top. There are three choices for getting back down Baldy: hike, take the gondola or fly in a tandem paraglider with Fly Sun Valley.
The right gear can make or break any experience. You can rent or buy basic climbing gear at The Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum and can find camping and hiking gear at Backwoods or Sturtevants in Ketchum or Sturtos in Hailey. If you prefer to have someone else handle the details of your trip, Sun Valley Trekking or Sawtooth Mountain Guides can make your outing safe and memorable.
The views of the mountains are spectacular, but the views from the mountains are even better. Get out and take a look for yourself!