The Boulder’s are one of five mountain ranges that come together in what I consider my backyard and most others think of making up the Sun Valley area. Along with the Boulder’s, the Pioneer, Smoky, Sawtooth and White Cloud mountains consist of over 1.1 million acres of protected land. The Boulder’s have a plethora of peaks reaching between 10,000 and 11,714 feet in elevation. The Boulders are just north of town and for the most part sit in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA).
Ryan Peak at 11,714 feet is the tallest in the range and leads one rib of four peaks all sitting around 11,000 feet in elevation. The first three (Ryan, Kent, Perkins) in this rib are named. The fourth and farthest east peak in the rib is unnamed. Although not in our original plan for the day, Kyle and I scaled the fourth peak on Saturday. For the moment we named the peak for ourselves.
It should be noted that Linda and I have a small rule – no more technical mountain climbing for Jeff. In short this means no routes involving classification four or above as defined by the Yosemite Decimal system (YDS) in terms of technical difficulty. This agreement came into place after two climbers died descending from the summit of Mt. Rainier on the same route I was using a few hours earlier. I have held true to the agreement for over 20+ years.
On this day, I would push the limits, but not break the rule. The last mile of the ascent gained about 2,500 vertical feet. This portion was a steep class three rock scramble. For me, the only real difficulty was that I had a load of camera gear on my back and it was sometimes tricky keeping my balance. Kyle set a great pace and both of us never felt over extended despite the high elevation, elevation gain over well over 4,000 vertical feet and temperatures (80’s F).
The 360 degree view views at the top was terrific. I took photos while Kyle napped and got some sun.
For the descent we chose a more direct and somewhat trickier route. Given that the vast majority of accidents on mountains take place on the descent, Kyle and I took great care. Once back to the valley floor we were reminded how much different it was from the top. The valley is heavily forested with old growth and laced with waterfalls. The trip was a little over 11 miles in length round-trip.