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Other states have their famous challenges. For instance, Colorado and California have highly publicized fourteener marathons, in which hikers try to break the record for the fastest time up all 14ers in each state. The current record in California is 4 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes. That's for 15 peaks! The Colorado record for 54 peaks is just over 10 days. In Idaho, our challenge is the nine 12,000 foot peaks. The number one goal for most Idaho scramblers and peakbaggers (yes, some climbers and hikers too) is climbing each of the 9 peaks. Because of the ruggedness of the ranges these peaks are found in, this is a tremendous challenge. With the exception of Hyndman Peak, all of Idaho's 12,000 foot peaks are challenging class 3 routes. While not as technical, Hyndman still presents a roundtrip of 12 miles/5,000 foot gain.

As things usually do, this craze of speed records has been slowly working its way to Idaho. Last year a friend of mine started scouting in the Lost Rivers for a possible traverse between Leatherman and Breitenbach. Then I started getting emails about it this fall. I've been asked by several people and have volunteered to post the fastest known ascent to date and update that as people attempt to break it next summer (2003).

I would also like to track those that have completed the 12,000 foot peaks. Please send your name and where you live if you have.

The Challenge

For us normal people, just climb the 9 Idaho peaks over 12,000 feet. For those with a flair for the extreme, climb them in the fastest time possible in accordance with the rules that follow...

The Rules

The following rules apply to be considered a record ascent:
  1. The clock starts when you leave from the first trailhead and ends when you return back to the last trailhead. So if you do Diamond Peak first, the clock starts there and continues as you climb that peak, drive to the Lost Rivers, go through them, drive to Hyndman, and ends when you touch your car at the Hyndman trailhead after having climbed that peak.


  2. No motorized means of travel can occur once you leave the given trailhead for each peak. For instance, you cannot drive a motorcycle into Hyndman Basin, then bag the peak. You can't have a helicopter fly you to the top of each peak. You get the idea... Some mountain bike the flat section on Hyndman Peak, this is fine, but I must warn you that a BIG asterisk will go next to your name!


  3. Traverses ARE allowed. For example, you can climb from Leatherman to Donaldson on the ridgeline if you so desire (and have the ability to).


  4. No porter rule! You must carry your own pack. Someone can accompany you on the climb, but they can't lug your stuff around for you.


  5. Drivers. It is acceptable for someone to drive you between peaks, cook you dinner, etc... However, no foot massagers are allowed, as that would provide an unfair advantage for any attempt at the record I might shoot for, as my wife refuses to rub feet and none of you freaks are touching them!

Current Idaho 12er Speed Records (Click on the name to read about the trip)
Time
Person
Residence
Date Completed
1 day, 14 hours, 50 min. Dave Bingham and Rob Landis Hailey 7/25/2005
2 days, 14 hours, 48 min. Dillon Mo Haws Boise 9/2009
3 days, 11 hours, 16 min. Nic Stover Boise 9/1/2003
5 days, 7 hours, 38 min.
Matt Darrington Shelley 8/24/2003
8 days Buck and Ron Horton Idaho Falls and Moscow (at that time) 9/3/1995


Idaho 12er Completers (the ones I know of)
Mike Howard - Idaho Falls Terry Howard - Idaho Falls Tom Lopez - Boise Jerry Painter - Idaho Falls Buck Horton- Idaho Falls Ron Horton - Puyallup, Wa
Rick Baugher - Idaho Falls John Platt - Boise Chuck Ferguson - Idaho Falls Dana Hanson - Boise Brad Chilton - Pocatello Marty T. Cooke - Pocatello
Dan Robbins - Boise Jim Just - Meridian Nic Stover - Boise Matt Darrington - Shelley Norman Wright - Filer Allen Ploss - Jerome
Rob Reterson - Nampa Bob Marcinko - Blackfoot Margo Lasky - Pocatello Mike Allen - Boise Dan Weeks - Pocatello Grayson Russell - Idaho Falls
Patty Russell - Idaho Falls Richard Wallace - American Falls Douglas Jones - Rupert Stan Siewert - Burley Earl McAlister - American Falls Larry McAlister - American Falls
Rob Landis - Hailey Eric Larsen - Idaho Falls Dave Bingham - Hailey Steven (JB) Harris - Ririe Pat McGrane - Boise Johnny Roache - Mountain Home
George Reinier - Caldwell Mike Sharpes - Boise Gary Chadwick - Boise Shane Jenné - Boise Aaron Christensen - Idaho Falls Curt Davis - Jerome
Michael Summers - Pocatello Craig Peck - Aberdeen Charles Trost - Pocatello Scott Trost - Lewiston Tammy Ryan Perkins - Boise Greg Perkins - Boise
Kent Hobbs - Pocatello Nancy Gaenzle - Twin Falls Brad Eidam - Boise David Maguire - Pocatello Kregg Aytes - Pocatello Ben Anderson - Chubbock
Sean Duffy - Boise Rick Surber - Boise Ted Brasket - Prescott, AZ Dave Pahlas - Meridian, ID Zach Vickery - Boise, ID Michael Pelton - Boise, ID
Matt Durrant - Boise Brenda Hughes - Kimberly Dick Huberty - Twin Falls Quint Pimentel - Pocatello Steve Carpenter - Idaho Falls Troy Schneyder - Idaho Falls
Dave Pacioretty - Pocatello Mike Fox - Idaho Falls George Lake - Idaho Falls Jerry Downey - Pocatello Jerry Manter - Boise Ryan Cameron - Pocatello
Chris Williams - Pocatello Jacob Robinson - Parma Vince Lowe - Boise Frank Gallant - Boise Quin Mace - Idaho Falls Doug LaMott - Boise
Irene Vogel - Boise Jacob Westrick - Boise Kevin Kunz - Ammon Nate Hunsaker - Ammon Rob Greenig - Ammon Nate Bender - Hamilton, MT
Clinton Wilson - Idaho Falls Erik Hallgren - Idaho Falls Dillon Mo Haws - Boise Daniel Paulson - Nampa Deb Rose - Boise Daniel Page - Idaho Falls
Mike Johnson - Firth Nick Karl - Denver (CO) Garrett Hale - Preston * Tony Hale - Preston Hugh Mossman - Boise Taylor Mossman-Fletcher - Boise
Jay Friedly - Mountain Home Reese Jackson - Blackfoot Kerry Kelley - Boise Jared Hopkins - Boise John Olson - Hailey Steven Sheriff - Missoula
Roger McMurtrey - Idaho Falls          

* At age 9, Garrett is the youngest finisher!


*Note: Some will argue that Peak 12003 and Peak 12247 (Borah's North Summit) should be on this list as well. However, neither have sufficient relief from higher peaks to be considered separate peaks.

My Status
On 8/17/2003, I completed the last of the nine 12,000 foot peaks!

Information About Each Peak
Borah from the west.

#1 - Borah Peak

Details: Borah Peak is the highest peak in Idaho. It is named after Idaho senator, William Borah. It is climbed quite often, as it is the state highpoint. Borah's most famous feature is "chicken-out ridge", which is a knife-edged at about 11,200 feet with 2,000 feet drop-offs on either side. Just after the ridge is a down climb and a snow-bridge crossing... added features that instill fear in some.

Main Route: Southwest Ridge
Roundtrip mileage: 7 miles
Elevation gain: 5,550 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,662 Custer Lost River 3 T.M. Bannon - 1914


Leatherman from the east.

#2 - Leatherman Peak

Details: Leatherman Peak is a giant peak when viewed from west from ID 93. It is named after Henry Leatherman, who was a early-day hunter, trapper, teamster, and freight carrier in the Lost River Valley.

Main Route: North Gully/East Ridge from the West Fork of the Pahsimeroi River.
Roundtrip mileage: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 4,100 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,228 Custer Lost River 3 T.M. Bannon - 1914


Mount Church from Donaldson Peak.

#3 - Mount Church

Details: Mount Church, which still has not been officially measured or named, is the third highest peak in Idaho. It is unofficially named after the late Frank Church, an US Senator from Idaho, who was monumental in the development of wilderness areas in Idaho during the 1970's. The peak is usually climbed in conjunction with Donaldson Peak (#8).

Main Route: South ridge from saddle between it and Donaldson Peak.
Roundtrip mileage: 9 miles
Elevation gain: 5,200 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,200+ Custer Lost River 3 Unknown


#4 - Diamond Peak

Details: Diamond Peak is a monster peak found in the Lemhi range of Idaho. It is the highest Lemhi Range peak and highest in Butte County. Climbing it via the east ridge is short, but very steep in places. I rate it a hard class 3.

Main Route: East Ridge
Roundtrip mileage: 5 miles
Elevation gain: 4,200 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,197 Butte Lemhi 3 T.M. Bannon - 1912


#5 - Mount Breitenbach

Details: Mount Breitenbach is a beautiful peak, named after Jake Breitenbach, an Idahoan who died on Mount Everest during the 1963 American expedition. Some views of the peak make it look like it belongs in the Himalaya.

Main Route: Up the Pete Creek drainage to the south ridge.
Roundtrip mileage: 7 miles
Elevation gain: 4,500 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,140 Custer Lost River 3 Unknown


Lost River's from the west.

#6 - Lost River Mountain

Details: Lost River Mountain is probably the least known of the 9 12,000 footers. It is located south of Mount Breitenbach.

Main Route: Southwest "super" gully, then follow the south ridge. This gully is nasty, consider a spring/early summer snow climb.
Roundtrip mileage: 6 miles
Elevation gain: 4,500 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,078 Custer Lost River 3 Unknown


Photo courtesy of Dave Pahlas.

#7 - Mount Idaho

Details: Mount Idaho provides the gorgeous backdrop for Merriam Lake. Getting to Merriam Lake is easy... getting to the trailhead is a long and dusty task.

Main Route: West ridge/face. Hike up Elkhorn Creek to a saddle at the base of the west ridge.
Roundtrip mileage: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 5,000 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,065 Custer Lost River 3 Unknown


Donaldson Peak from the saddle between it and Mount Church.

#8 - Donaldson Peak

Details: Donaldson Peak is named after Idaho Supreme Court Justice Charles Donaldson. It is most often climbed from the saddle between it and Mount Church via its north ridge. Do this in conjunction with an ascent of Church.

Main Route: North ridge from saddle between it and Mount Church.
Roundtrip mileage: .5 miles (if climbed in conjunction with Mount Church)
Elevation gain: 300 feet (if climbed in conjunction with Mount Church)
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,023 Custer Lost River 3 Unknown


Hyndman from Big Basin Peak.

#9 - Hyndman Peak

Details: Hyndman Peak is a very popular destination, as it is close to the resort area of Sun Valley. The route is also the easiest of all 9 peaks. Excellent views and terrain on this climb! Named after Major William Hyndman, a Civil War veteran and early prominent pioneer/mine operator in the region.

Main Route: East ridge from saddle between Hyndman Peak and Old Hyndman Peak.
Roundtrip mileage: 12 miles
Elevation gain: 5,009 feet
Height
County
Range
Class
First Ascent
12,009 Blaine Pioneer 2 W.T. Griswold and E.T. Perkins - 1889