Placeholder Routes & Places


Backpack - White Clouds Wilderness Loop

Epic eight-day backpack trip to central Idaho. Visit over 50 lakes and numerous ridges, peaks and meadows. We will be exploring off-trail and swimming almost every day. Possible fishing. High altitude scenery every day and amazing camps and views. Expect the best trip of your summer. Special Leader's Permission Required--Read the Leader's Notes in Detail.

  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 80.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 20,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 11,000 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0

The first day, Friday August 18th, is an all day driving day to Stanley Idaho (about 10 hours from Seattle). Various options for accommodations that night near Stanley are up to the participant.  There are campgrounds and hotels in the area.

The trip proper begin on Saturday, August 19th.  We will meet at the Four of July Creek TH, southeast of Stanley, ID at approx. 8 AM.

Correspondingly, the trip official ends on Saturday August 26th, the next day--Sunday August 27th is set aside for the drive back home.

More information to follow.

This trip will be a highlight of your summer.  The area is just gorgeous and we will explore it all (well a good chuck at least).  The trip will be above treeline for much of the time with elevations varying between 8,000 and 11,000 feet. This trip is organized differently from many Mountaineers backpack trips and will involve many days with shorter camp to camp full pack carrying segments, balanced out each of those days with additional after camp set-up or before camp break-down 'day hike explorations' to off-trail lakes, ridges or peaks.  Some of these exploration will be optional and participants can have the choice of join the exploration hike, hang-out near the camp and/or trying their hand fishing.  A fish for dinner would make me happy.  A couple days are longer slogs, the longest, on Day 6, is 13.3 miles and about 3200' gain with a full, but now lighter pack.  Participants need to be in excellent physical condition, be prepared for higher altitude travel, have experience and comfort with off-trail travel and be well experienced backpackers.  Additionally participants need to have completed several backpack trips this season (2023) prior to this trip, including a trip of at least three nights.  Participants additional need to have completed a trip of at least five nights in the past two summers.  Allen White will be the Co-leader for this trip.  A Bear Can or Ursack and trekking poles are  required equipment.

Since this is an unusually long trip and for many of us will be our apex trip of the summer, I will be hand-selecting participants based on experience, conditioning and group compatibility.  It is important that we can all work together, and have similar paces, expectations, objectives and temperaments.  I will unfortunately only be considering folks that I or Allen have backpack with in the past or come with high recommendations for someone I know and respect in the Mountaineers.  I want us all to enjoy the trip, enjoy each other and be both safe and successful.

Here is the proposed Gaia Route:  (you can expand the folder map to full screen and click on the individual route lines to see the itinerary for each day--including those segments with and without a full-pack).

Note:  This proposed route is the initial plan and may change in the field with new discoveries and conditions.  Participants need to be flexible and open to itinerary changes as the trip unfolds.

In requesting permission, please respond to the following questions/issues in detail:

1)  Do you have prior experience backpacking and camping above 9000'? Did you encounter/struggle with altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness)?  Please specify these trips.  If you have had altitude issues in the past, what were they and what is your plan for this to not be an issue on this trip?

2)  Please explain your recent backpacking history.  What trips will you have completed this year prior to the start of this trip?  What trips of at least five nights have you done in the last two summers?  Please notes the Mountaineers Leaders for these trips listed.  I may be contacting them for references.

3)  Please explain your comfort and experience with off-trail (low-exposure) travel.

4)  Do you like chocolate, camp fires, peak bagging, swimming or fish? --or in your own words:  What do you think makes a truly great backpacking trip?

Please use the tab on the right (bottom if on smartphone) for requesting permission.  Allen and I will review the applications starting June 15th.  We will select participants and a couple of waitlist folks based on the criteria noted above in the narrative and four questions and inform those selected no later than July 1st. Requesting Permission is now open.  Rob


White Clouds Wilderness Loop

  • Adventure Maps Sawtooth & White Cloud Mountains Trail Map

    Trails Illustrated Sawtooth National Recreation Area

    USGS Boulder Chain Lakes, ID

    USGS Washington Peak, ID

    USGS Livingston Creek, ID
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Food for eight days
  • Bear canister or Ursack
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
  • Trekking Poles
  • Full Rain Gear and Pack-cover
  • Optional small summit bag for exploratory trips
Trip Reports