Route: Boulder Crest Traverse (ID)

Location
Idaho, US
Description

Submitted by Sam Linnet:

The Boulder Crest is made up of a chain of 11,000’ foot mountains in central Idaho. It is the dramatic skyline paralleling state highway 75’s to the east. The Boulder Crest is partially in the Boulder-Whitecloud Wilderness, which may explain the lack of trails and people in the range. This is juxtaposed with the fact that there is ridiculously easy access to the ridges and peaks that make up the Boulder Crest. The Wood River Valley, including the towns Hailey, Ketchum, and Bellevue are a short 30 minute drive from most access points to this route. The combination of rugged peaks, easy access, and close proximity to my home led to my desire to attempt a backyard fastest-known time route. 

The route begins at state highway 75, climbs to the top of Boulder Peak, traverses the crest via another eleven peaks, and finishes at the historic Galena Lodge (french fries and beer are served until 3:30 PM). In total, the route covers 17 miles, climbs ~8,200’, and has a healthy dose of 3rd and 4th class terrain; moving quickly is even more challenging due to the chossy, crumbling, and unpredictable rock. The first 3.5 miles and last 2.5 miles of the route are on trail. The rest is completely comprised of off-trail ridge-top scrambling. As rugged and steep as the route can be, it is also entirely within view of a state highway 75.

I love that this route is doable in a day, has a mix of technical scrambling and ridge top running, and feels remote even though it is easily accessible. It follows an obvious ridgeline connecting numerous main peaks (along with some lesser known and unnamed peaks) until you end at one of the areas best mountain lodges.* My ultimate goal was to create a backyard FKT that contributes to our already badass mountain community. This route will be easily repeated in the future, and I believe it will serve as a fun and competitive test piece for Idaho’s central mountains.

*The obvious terminus peak would be Galena Peak, if you were to simply look at the map. However, a large vertical ridgeline with serious fifth class climbing prevents runners from staying on the ridgeline to connect Galena Peak. As a result, I chose to end the traverse at Peak 10941 to maintain the ridgeline aesthetic. Connecting Galena Peak via the Boulder Crest would require serious climbing skills and gear, while the route as proposed only requires shoes, water, and food. 

A trip report can be found at: https://www.summitpost.org/boulder-crest-traverse/1040621.