Umpleby Peak

Umpleby Peak, in Eastern Idaho, about 100 miles west of Yellowstone Park, was named after Joseph B. Umpleby who did early geological work in Idaho around 1910 while working for the U.S. Geological Survey. Joseph B. Umpleby is the grand father of Stuart A. Umpleby.

Umpleby Peak is in the Lemhi Range near Gilmore, Idaho, which is mentioned in JBU’s papers. Gilmore is due west of Yellowstone National Park, northwest of Idaho Falls, ID.

Description of Umpleby Peak in Idaho: A Climbing Guide

10,713 feet (Class 3-4)

This spectacular peak located between Peak 10490 and Bell Mountain presents a cliff-riddled face toward Birch Creek that resembles a ship’s prow. Although Bell Mountain is 900 feet higher and lords over this peak, Umpleby is equally impressive in its own right. Its summit is protected by cliffs of varying heights on all sides and its north summit is nothing short of superb. This peak is named for Joseph B. Umpleby (1883-1967), a USGS geologist who wrote Geology and Ore Deposits of Lemhi County in 1913. Umpleby, who was the first to suggest Lemhi as the name of the range, collaborated with R.N. Bell. The peak has been climbed from both the east and the west sides of the crest. From the east, climb the east face from Bell Mountain Canyon [(A)(4.1.1)(a)]. In the west, access the peak from Bassinger Canyon [(C)(7)]. Hike the canyon to the base of the peaks, then climb to the saddle between Peak 10490 (The Knoll) and this peak and climb the northwest ridge (main crest). This ridge reportedly can cause some problems with route-finding. No other details of the climb are known. First assent: R. Baugher in 1991. USGS Coal Kiln Canyon.
Tom Lopez, Idaho: A Climbing Guide. The Mountaineers Books, 2000, p. 305.

Climbing Route

(class 1 is horizontal, class 5 is vertical).
by Rick Baugher (1366 E 21st Street, Idaho Falls, ID 83404, 208-523-6056, in 1991)

Best approach is from the Birch Creek Valley side. A graded gravel road leads to the Charcoal Kilns, then 4wd or trail bike into Bell Mountain Canyon to road closure at 7900 feet. Hike south up faint open trail. Train ends, enter open forest of Douglas Fir. Cross divide to West Fork of Bell Mountain Canyon. Beautiful meadows with seasonally abundant wildflowers open up. Enter stunted spruce then shattered rock of cirque, gaining the headwall, which is the crest of Lemhi Range at 9900 feet. A cliff blocks the ridge-line to the summit. Skirt this by ledges to the right. Then scramble up SE face of mountain directly to summit. This is boot bashing limestone scree. If conditions are dry the climb is rated class 2 to 3 (easy climbing –hand holds barely needed, minimal exposure). Descend the same way. Difficulty increases dramatically when foggy, windy, wet or snow. Other climbing routes are possible but considerably more difficult. This is a very rewarding one day climb offering outstanding scenery, majestic views, and total solitude.
Photos and climbing directions for nearby Bell Mountain

Photos of the area by J.B. Umpleby

Continuation to the north of photo 101, two areas marked on published photo by ‘ls’ are blocks of limestone engulfed in the granite porphyry: photo overlaps at the smoke stack seen in lower left, with that shown in Umpleby 101. Custer County, Idaho.

Wagon and equipment including mess box used in Idaho reconnaissance work, from the right rear showing oil lantern and some the items stored on the shelves of the cabinet. Idaho. 1913.

Wagon and equipment with mess table extended in Idaho reconnaissance work, from the right front, with a horse in the background, tents to the left. Idaho. 1913.

Wagon packed, driver, and horses ready to go. Idaho. 1913.

Photos of J.B. Umpleby

JBU sitting in 1912

JBU on horse in 1912

JBU near tent in 1912


Map and photos of Umpleby Peak

Photos and climbing directions for nearby Bell Mountain

Topographic Maps and Explanation

Umpleby Peak Topographic Map

Umpleby Peak and Bell Mountain map

George Carter is a friend of Stuart Umpleby from graduate Students days at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Cater grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. Carter and Umpleby and other UIUC students twice took a hiking and camping trip to the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho in the 1970s. Carter downloaded the relevant topographic maps and located Umpleby Peak. The map was last updated in 1987 and at thar time this peak was unnamed. Look at the Coal Canyon map in the area between 24 and 25 on the x-axis and between 02 and 03 on the y-axis (non-technical terms used for clarity). The peak labeled “10713 T” is Umpleby Peak. It is in the middle of the bottom edge of the map. The Bell Mountain map covers the area just below.

Views of Umpleby Peak

Bell Mountain, Umpleby Peak and the Knoll from Idaho 28 in Birch Creek Valley

East and north faces of Umpleby Peak with Bell Mountain in the background. The north face is very steep.

Bell Mountain and the East face of Umpleby Peak

J.B. Umpleby Peak and S.A. Umpleby, grandson of J.B. Umpleby

Bell Mountain and Umpleby Peak

East face of Umpleby Peak

Bell Mountain, Umpleby Peak and the Knoll. Note that the summit of Umpleby Peak is behind the East face.

Note the many “turrets” on Umpleby Peak

East side of Umpleby Peak from Bell Mountain Canyon

East side of Umpleby Peak from near the end of Bell Mountain Canyon

Note the summit of Umpleby Peak to the right of the East face, the North face is very steep

Rick Baugher, a leading mountain climber in The Idaho Falls area, suggested that the mountain be named Umpleby Peak.

Rick Baugher and Stuart A. Umpleby, grandson of J.B. Umpleby, in Idaho Falls, August 2011. Baugher suggested in the 1990s that the mountain be named Umpleby Peak because of the early geological work done in Idaho by J.B. Umpleby

There are several “lost rivers” in the central part of Idaho, due to the layers of lava.

Flowers on Umpleby Peak

Bell Mountain Canyon

Bell Mountain Canyon goes along the east face of Umpleby Peak and then between Bell Mountain and Umpleby Peak


Bell Mountain Canyon showing Bell Mountain and Umpleby Peak
Bell Mountain from Bell Mountain Canyon


Looking down Bell Mountain Canyon toward Birch Creek Valley with the Bitter Root Mountains, and the continental divide on the far side


Higher up Bell Mountain Canyon looking toward Birch Creek Valley


Umpleby Peak from Bell Mountain Canyon


Walking down Bell Mountain Canyon


Part of Bell Mountain Canyon


The stream, at the bottom of Bell Mountain Canyon emerges to the surface here from below ground. Due to layers of lava in these valleys, streams and rivers flow sometimes on the surface and sometimes below the surface, hence the name “Lost River.”


The Mackie Region

Looking east toward the town of Mackie, Idaho, in the Little Lost River Valley of Idaho.


The tramway for hauling ore. Mackie is in the background.

In the past there was mining, mostly for lead, in the area west of Mackie, Idaho.

A mining structure for transporting ore down the mountains. The town of Mackie is in the background.

The Salmon River Valley

The Salmon River is located about 100 miles north of Umpleby Peak


The Salmon River flows into the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean


A view of the Salmon River Valley
Salmon River Valley


Salmon River Valley


Salmon River Valley

The Snake River near Twin Falls

The steep walls of the Snake River Canyon reveal layers of lava.


Paragliders jump off the bridge across the Snake River Canyon, North of the city of Twin Falls.
Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. The Snake River flows west into the Columbia River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at Portland, Oregon.


Shoshone Falls


Looking west on the Snake River. Shoshone Falls is to the right (east).


Upstream from Shoshone Falls is Twin Falls, for which the city of Twin Falls is named. There is still water on the left side, but the water on the right side now flows through a power plant.


Looking down stream (west) from the Twin Falls.