Hike Photography

On Top of the Boulder Mountains – Ryan Peak

At 11,714 feet in elevation, Ryan Peak is the tallest of the Boulder mountains of Idaho.  From the North Fork of the Wood River trail-head in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Ryan Peak rises almost a mile in the sky (5,172 feet).


Ryan Peak from the east.
Ryan Peak from the east – courtesy Summit Post.

On Saturday morning my son, Kyle and I decided to take on the challenge of summiting Ryan Peak.  In about three and one-half hours we covered five and one-half miles in distance and almost mile up in elevation to reach Ryan Peak for a delightful lunch.

Looking west at Glassford Peak (11,602) from the top of Ryan Peak.

The effort to reach Ryan Peak does not involve climbing of a technical nature (i.e., ropes and other rock climbing tools).  However, the hike to West Fork Saddle (10,004) is strenuous.  Depending on route choice, the remaining 1,710 feet of gain can be a very demanding Class 3 Rock Climb.  We chose a direct route which is clearly the steepest and kept us using all fours simultaneously most of the time.  Once on the ridge line of the mountain what appears to be a Class 4 effort to the top is actually a stunning Class 2+ hike.  However, it does involve establishing some careful hand holds and foot placement on rock. A slip likely means a fall and unplanned descent of a few thousand feet.

Looking south at Kent Peak (11,664).


Our route up and down Ryan Peak as recorded on my Garmin Forerunner 405.


3 Replies to “On Top of the Boulder Mountains – Ryan Peak

  1. How beautiful!! Thanks for sharing the beauty & experience for those of us not there. ( & those of us who couldn’t climb it if we were there, but would love to!!)

  2. I am hoping that I can keep doing it for a while.

    One of the tricky things is bringing along the large format camera gear and tripod to support. It adds about 20 pounds to my pack and a little ungainliness with balance.

    However it is my choice and the resulting shots make it worth it to me. For example, the wide shot is almost 3 feet by 8 feet in size without any enlargement. The images will enlarge about 3x before starting to lose any resolution noticeably.

  3. Don’t know how you handle the awkwardness/weight, but certainly understand why! When you’re in that kind of majestic beauty, you really want a way to package it to bring home. So glad you share some of it here, & glad you can share the climbs with your son—-he is obviously moved by it, too. Your home must be filled with amazing photographic art! I’ve always felt property should be allowed to be owned only by those with a deep appreciation of the area—-you certainly would qualify!

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