Trip Report
Finger of Fate- Open book 5.8+++++ and the Crystal cave!
Wednesday September 19, 2012 10:34pm
I first heard of the Finger of Fate from John Frieh, a total bad a$$ alpinist I climbed with at the city of rocks in April of 2010 or so. John said something like, it’s one of the best climbs I’ve ever done, and it’s only 5.8.

More on the 5.8 part later.

One of my regular climbing partners Matt L and I had the opportunity to climb it this Monday. We were more then a little apprehensive about the fires that are ragin in the area, so far 1.5 million acres have burned in Idaho this season, more then any other state. Other then a little smoke and diminished views, it wasn’t a problem. We left East Idaho at 2 pm or so on Sunday and after picking up a half case of Pabst Blue ribbon in Arco (is there a more depressing town any where?) we managed to make Stanley in time for dinner at the burger joint. I talked to two paramedics who were working with the fire crews, they said the fires were expected to burn until snowfall.

We made it up to the upper Hell-roaring lake trail head, in day light, it is a very rough road, with 4-low almost required (unless you hate your car).

We had a few beers and no fire (sadly a burning ban was in place), camping sucks with out a fire.

Sunset day 1
Credit: Ezra Ellis


I got up at 5:30 and read a book, Matt fought the urge to stay in his bag, and arose grudgingly at 6:30. It was Still 23 degres when we left at 8 am on the trail head. It was a 5.5 mile approach up 2000+ vertical gain past some stunning country to the base of the route, prolly took us 3.5 hours from the upper trail head.

Our first view of the finger from Hell-roaring lake
Our first view of the finger from Hell-roaring lake
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Hell Roaring lake!
Hell Roaring lake!
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Matt L
Matt L
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
give em the finger!
give em the finger!
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

A beautiful upper unnamed lake a perfect camping spot!!!
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

This grouse almost scared me senseless on the approach!
Credit: Ezra Ellis

East face up close
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

I got the first lead.
Looking Down p1
Credit: Ezra Ellis
up p1
up p1
Credit: Ezra Ellis


The Open book had some serious off width for which I employed my number 5 camalot, as I am a chicken sh*t for sure!!!
down p1
down p1
Credit: Ezra Ellis
down from p1 belay
down from p1 belay
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Matt L (Biatch!!!)
Matt L (Biatch!!!)
Credit: Ezra Ellis

I started out really cold it was probably 30 degrees in the shade at 11 am when we started, but was sweating profusely by the end of pitch1
Up p2, Pitch two was stellar and also requried the#4 and #5 camalot (new sizes)
up p2
up p2
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Mid way up pitch two we found a really cool crystal cave mid route, Awesome!!!
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

down p2
Credit: Ezra Ellis

unnamed lake form atop p3
unnamed lake form atop p3
Credit: Ezra Ellis

down p5
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Matt very happy, even though I stole p5 the best pitch...:)
Matt very happy, even though I stole p5 the best pitch...:)
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Pitch 6 had no protection at all in 100 feet and required tunneling under a huge block and then a 45 foot unprotectable 5.8+ arette, with massive exposuure.
Summit block from our first rapell
Summit block from our first rapell
Credit: Ezra Ellis
2nd of 3 rapells
2nd of 3 rapells
Credit: Ezra Ellis



We topped out at 3:15 were back at the base at 4:15 and at the car at 6:30 and were thankful for the uneventful drive home, over all a Stellar route with a great partner for sure!!!! One of my best routes yet!!!



  Trip Report Views: 3,409
Ezra Ellis
About the Author
Ezra Ellis is a trad climber from WA, & NC & Idaho.

Comments
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kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:37pm PT
awesome! tfpu
this just in

climber
north fork
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:41pm PT
Sh#t yeah Ezra, that Peak looks incredible. Way to steal the best pitch too. Good job and TR.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:41pm PT
That formation looks great. Great TR also as always.
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
I miss Idaho.....

Nice post!
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:56pm PT
Good stuff,
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:03pm PT
Gotta love them Sawtooths. Nice job, Ezra.
The Finger is sweet.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 19, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
Ezra! I am so glad you got to enjoy "The Finger."

When I first climbed it in mountain boots in 1971, it was rated 5.6----and I was terrified most of the way.

Chris on the 2nd pitch.  Note the RR shoes and the bongs.  1971.
Chris on the 2nd pitch. Note the RR shoes and the bongs. 1971.
Credit: Fritz

Fritz in 1971 on an easy upper pitch.  I didn't place protection, so I...
Fritz in 1971 on an easy upper pitch. I didn't place protection, so I could top rope Chris & Harry up a "more-interesting" variation. Flannel shirt, Levis, and mountain boots.
Credit: Fritz

My next ascent was in 1977 and I was vastly more experienced!

Like you folks, we trotted in from the trail-head, but then


Based on knowing the route was “only” 5.6-----I insisted we could climb it in our hiking boots.

After leading the first pitch, my very good climber friend Mike commented: “Christ Fritz! That seems a little spicy for 5.6.”

The 2nd lead was mine, and my boots did not fit in the crack!

I was again terrified the whole pitch and slipped on the crux friction moves out of the crack at the top. I managed a one-arm swing, and somehow pulled up to a ledge.

Mike had the “lightly-protected” summit lead and kept muttering that it felt like bouldering 5.9.
I of course, assured him the route was only rated 5.6.

5.6 for sure! Nuts and hiking boots. That’s all you need on The Finger!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:00am PT
Fritz,
I can't even imagine climbing that thing with a couple of nuts and lugged boots. Wow, My hat is off to you pioneers.

What number Ascent do you think you were???
When was the first ascent done. I have been unable to find much info on the route.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:01am PT
If Jogn Freih likes it, it must be good! Great write up and pictures, thanks for sharing.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:13am PT
Ezra: Thanks!

Of course, there was little written information on climbs in the Sawtooths in the early 70's and I don't think there was anything published on The Finger.

However, The Finger was getting climbed a fair amount. Dorworth had already put up a harder new route.

The Open-Book felt like a "trade-route" to us, because we knew at least another 3 or 4 parties had climbed it, and likely more.

The secret lure of the Sawtooths is "fun-adventure"----and no guidebook!
Zander

climber
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:14am PT
Great TR's
Thanks,
Zander
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:27am PT
ROCK ON EZRA!

So awesome and beautiful.
Thanks for putting this up.

Something else I haven't been to...GRRRRRR!!!!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:36am PT
Oh! Look at the Grouse. - Curly Howard
cowpoke

climber
  Sep 20, 2012 - 08:22am PT
Positive reinforcement for the TR and history! Another one worth coming back to again and again...thanks
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Sep 20, 2012 - 10:37am PT
That's really a worthwhile climb. Tons of fun, nice setting, entertaining summit block to be sure.

Just be sure to descend off the right side, the left way gets a bit wankerish.

Next to last pitch looks something like this:

finger of fate
finger of fate
Credit: ddriver
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Sep 20, 2012 - 10:43am PT
Enjoyed your TR. Nice formation.

lars
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 20, 2012 - 10:49am PT
Good job....I've always wanted to climb that puppy.
fgw

climber
portland, or
  Sep 20, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Nice TR. I think the FS must've improved the Upper Hell Roaring TH road (this year or last) - now Subaru's make it & they've built a new trail (2 miles or so of it) on the TH side of the stream. Kind of weird since there's the old trail that comes in from the lower trailhead running parallel on the opposite bank.
paperplate

Social climber
Boyzee, Hi-dee-ho
  Sep 20, 2012 - 06:03pm PT
that next to last pitch is called Airy by local climbers and is the most exciting pitch of the climb, being a nice arm-width wide flake that is a bombproof crab walk up. to gain the flake you leave the relative safety of a super ledge and step back out onto the face with 500 feet of exposure below you. above it there is a nice section of friction climbing with your last pro in the exit of the flake that is now ten-fifteen feet below.
have to say something for the last pitch too...it's just as exciting with a two finger lie-back into a crystal pocket and then a mantle to gain the sloping summit block.
this was my very first trad climb back around 1975. since then I have been up it three other routes. one, Feeling Free, is just to the climbers right and joins the Open Book route just below the flake.
great rock, as is the Elephant's Perch up Redfish creek canyon, just a few miles further north.
imStein

Trad climber
Triumph, Idaho
  Sep 21, 2012 - 10:07am PT
Thanks for a fine TR, Ezra.
The Finger is a Sawtooth classic.
Louis Stur had a 17 lb crystal that he found on the open Book.
I would like to add a few 40 year old photos...
Chris, Jacques and Harry in camp. The finger waits above.
Chris, Jacques and Harry in camp. The finger waits above.
Credit: imStein

Getting comfortable on belay.
Getting comfortable on belay.
Credit: imStein

Yes, color film was available in 72. Photo by Jacques Bordeleau
Yes, color film was available in 72. Photo by Jacques Bordeleau
Credit: imStein
I never did like the summit move.
imStein
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Sep 21, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Exactly my fing, er, thing!

One thumb up for the Finger of Fate.

Fritz freed the ficking fing, the fickle old fart!

Good on yez on all of these intrepid ascents and TY for the TRs.



Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 21, 2012 - 10:22am PT
Way to post up Imstein!

Those photos are of the 1st winter ascent of the Finger by the hard-lads of the Decker Flat Climbing & Frisbee Club.

I was supposed to be on that trip, but instead spent those days in comfort, shacked up in Ketchum with a hot babe. I have some regrets, but none at the time.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Sep 22, 2012 - 10:29pm PT
Thanks for the kind words all

The first ascent according to a 2001 climbing magazine article by Mark Weber was: John Beaupre, and Gordon Webster in 1967, a very impressive route for the time, they are Idaho locals according to the article.

imstein- wow the first winter ascent, March I hope???
that had to be hella cold, I was cold in September, can't imagine climbing that dark north face in the winter,
Great pics from the way back!

Paperplate, what did you think of the other routes on the finger?

PaulPeterson

Trad climber
Prescott, AZ
  Sep 23, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
Nice TR. Did you guys climb this over labor day weekend ?,
If so, we were the 2 old guys camping at unnamed lake.
We were able to backpack over the pass at Red Bluff, down to Crammer Lakes.
Tricky but saves the 17 miles it is to hike there on known trails.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Sep 25, 2012 - 04:57am PT
Two thumbs up for the Finger! You're making me start to realize that I haven't climbed any trad in Idaho yet . .. :-)
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Sep 28, 2012 - 02:00am PT
That looks f*ckin' RAD!

Great pics of a stellar looking route.

I still dont know what TPFU means

but this probably deserves it

TEE EFF PEE HUE

FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 10:12am PT
TFPU
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 10:55am PT
What a stellar looking climb and great TR. Thanks.


Pitch 6 had no protection at all in 100 feet and required tunneling under a huge block and then a 45 foot unprotectable 5.8+ arette, with massive exposuure.

That probably knocks me out of the running.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Sep 28, 2012 - 10:56am PT
Thanks For Posting Up folks.

Since this TR has legs: I'd better post some more vintage photos.

Fritz heading up to the Finger in 1971.  Cotton T-shirt & Levis, Mille...
Fritz heading up to the Finger in 1971. Cotton T-shirt & Levis, Millet pack strapped to Camp Trails pack, North Face Unimog sleeping bag, Stubai "Nanga Parbat" axe.
Credit: Fritz

Chris on 2nd lead of The Open Book in 1971.
Chris on 2nd lead of The Open Book in 1971.
Credit: Fritz

chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
  Sep 28, 2012 - 11:01am PT
Pitch 6 had no protection at all in 100 feet and required tunneling under a huge block and then a 45 foot unprotectable 5.8+ arette, with massive exposuure.
The tunneling part isn't hard, and you can get a cam in but it isn't really needed. The very last move of the climb is an exposed mantle onto the very top of the summit block, protected (as of a few years ago) by an ancient fixed pin. Great finish!
Gal

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Sep 28, 2012 - 11:33am PT
Very cool-45ft of run-out on 5.8+.... yikes.... looks awesome, great job.
fgw

climber
portland, or
  Sep 28, 2012 - 11:53am PT
what a fun route!
my wife on the summit mantle:
eKat

Trad climber
  Nov 11, 2013 - 07:49pm PT
BBST!

(As a reminder = BBST = donini for Bump for a Better SuperTopo)
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
  Nov 11, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Awesome! Looks like a great climb. No summit beers?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Nov 11, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
Larry, we had beers the night before, maybe one the night we got home,
Next time maybe , next time. ;)
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Nov 11, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
It's fun to see this thread "pop-up" again tonight.

I had hopes of a couple of talented friends climbing the Open Book with me and Heidi this summer. One fell off a ladder and broke his arm, one was mostly out of country.

Then there were the big forest fires that filled the Sawtooths with smoke for the month of August.

Donini! Yeah! That's the ticket!
Donini wants to climb it, and I know the short-cut for old guys.

Next year for sure!
Credit: Fritz

Idaho is some of the best "NEXT-YEAR" country I've ever lived in!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Nov 11, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Still has awesomeness upon it!

Thanks to all that have posted pix to this fine thread!
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