Devil's Bedstead East

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A one day climb of Devil's Bedstead East in the Pioneer mountains near Sun Valley, Idaho.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

After a four-hour drive, I finally arrived at the Boulder lake trail head, just north of the campground. It's not really well marked, so it took me two passes to locate the right spot.

Then some quick packing and clothes changes, and I was off at just a bit past 9am. The first order of business was crossing the creek. It was not bad- ankle to mid-calf deep, and I had brought some wading shoes. But the car gauge said a 34 degree air temp, so it certainly woke me up.

Devil's Bedstead East from the trailhead

It took me about an hour to reach the upper basin. The trail is a little rocky in places, but overall quite nice. Just as you hit the upper basin, there is a faint trail to the right. When I got there, it was heavily cairned. Then the fain trail starts switch backing up the hillside. There are a few spurs, but just follow your nose, knowing it climbs quite a bit before traversing south to the upper lake.

Boulder Creek basin

The upper lake is close to 10,000' From here, there is not much trail to follow, and some scree to overcome to gain the ridge at about 10.600'

On the way up, I avoided some of the scree by going left and climbing rock. On the way back, I found a gully through the cliff bands and scree-skied to a slight trail on the right (looking up) side of the lake.

Upper lake on the route with Devil's Bedstead East in the background

Once you gain the saddle, the face is impressive, if not intimidating. It is steep, and looks like a giant pile of boulders, with none connected. It's actually not that bad, but deserves a helmet, if not two.

Although some recommend climbing the ridge as high as you can first, I would not. Instead, look for a series of dirt/grass terraces starting at most 100' above the saddle, and traverse flat until you've passed most of the black rock section. Then gently angle up to about 10,820' and look for another ledge system that will lead you to the first gully that allows a view of the actual summit.

More or less.

The north face of Devil's Bedstead East

When you get to that first gully, don't expect a lot. It's still loose, and as you can see, quite steep.

If you're really careful, you can climb most of it without knocking any rocks down. Good luck.

The steepness of Devil's Bedstead East

At the top of the first gully, there is a saddle that lets you look down the face back into the Boulder Creek basin. From there, it is about 500' to the top. Stay near the ridge crest, where there is some more solid rock.

The last 500 feet of the climb

From that same point, this is the view back down what you've just climbed, looking toward Kane Creek.

Looking down the north face

And then I was on top at about 12:30. In shorts and a damp t-shirt, it was very comfortable. The red line shows my approximate route.

The red line shows the route up the mountain

This is the view from Trail Creek road near the sign pointing out Devil's Bedstead (with the incorrect elevation- Thanks! FS). You'll note the long traverse necessary to gain the first gully.

I lounged on the summit for a while, and then I very carefully picked my way back down, following approximately the same path. Once I finished the rocky section, I stopped for a long break on the saddle atop the ridge, But the breaks only partially account for the long descent time- I got back to the car at 3:30.

The line up the upper face

Mr. Natural Home | 2006 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski