Sunday, September 07, 2014

Climbing Bell Mountain Climb From Basinger Canyon


climbing bell mountain idaho
The Summit Block of Bell Mountain

climbing bell mountain idaho
Climbing the Summit Block of Bell Mountain
The hike begins at the end of Basinger Canyon on the east side of the Lemhi Range. To get to the canyon, travel to Howe and head north up the Little Lost River Valley. Go about 28 miles and pass a building with a large sign identifying the area as Clyde. Go about 5 more miles. Once the pavement ends, look for a yield sign to your right. The sign marks the road you turn on and is hard to see because it is for cars entering the highway from this road. You will pass some livestock pens on your right. After crossing the river, take the left fork. This road will lead you to Basinger Canyon. Drive to the end of the road and look for a trail that looks more like an ATV trail than a hiking trial following the north side of the canyon. If you pass the trail, the road soon ends and you can easily find it coming back down.

The trail is fairly good. It is a pleasant hike through the forested canyon for about half an hour. After passing a thicket of aspens, start looking for an old cabin on the south side of the canyon. The hike up Bell begins at the cabin. If you are interested in climbing Umpleby and the Knoll, veer northeast from the cabin, around the bend and to the very end of the canyon to find these two mountains guarding the end of the box.

climbing bell mountain idaho
On the Ridge Leading to Bell Summit
The Knoll and Umpleby in the Distance
Once at the cabin, the goal is to make the east/west ridge leading to Bell. Head south, down the gully and over the creek, and up the side of the mountain. Keep heading south and up. Once the timber is cleared, follow the ridge to the top. You will encounter two blocks on the ridge to Bell.  The first can be easily climbed. Veer a bit to the south and go up and over. The second block can be skirted on the north side.

The summit block looks imposing. Take it head on. Perhaps the center rib looks the most approachable. The nice thing about the climb is the rock is pretty blocky and foot and hand holds are numerous. If the route you take becomes too steep, bypass it by taking an adjacent one; there always seemed to be a way up. This is a fun class 3 climb.

The most memorable part of this hike/climb was the bear we saw near the summit block. As we approached the block, Don spotted a big bear turning over rocks looking for food. Once we were sure it was not a grizzly, we continued our approach. Once the bear became aware of our presence, he hightailed the opposite direction. I never expected to see a bear so far above the timberline this time of year. Several people have told me the bear was most likely looking for moths to fatten him up for the winter.

For Images of Bell Mountain, Follow this link.

bell mountain idaho climbing
Bear Near the Summit Block of Bell Mountain
climbing bell mountain idaho
Looking for a Route up the Summit Block
climbing bell mountain idaho
Climbing the Summit Block
climbing bell mountain idaho
On the Summit
climbing bell mountain idaho
Looking Down
climbing bell mountain idaho
Looking North
climbing bell mountain idaho
Looking South
Hiking Down the Ridge
The First Block Coming Down
Other Resources:

Tom Lopez Website:

For more trip reports of other mountains visit

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