At Sawtooth Mountain Guides, your experience is what matters most. We pride ourselves on providing a mountain adventure that exceeds your wildest expectations. Don't take our word for it, read what others have to say!
Sara and Chris Lundy guided my daughter and me on a four day, off-trail, backpacking trip to commemorate her high school graduation. The trip was incredible. While my daughter has spent time in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY she had never experienced or seen anything like the mountains out west.
We chose the Sawtooths mainly because of the potential solitude and we weren't disappointed. Other than the entry/exit of the wilderness area we saw no other signs of humans just beautiful glacier lakes, mountain streams, wild flowers, rugged peaks, and wildlife. My daughter was absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty and breadth of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area.
We chose Sawtooth Mountain Guides based on the reviews and the potential to work with such a skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, female guide. I wanted my daughter to see yet another example of a woman that has truly excelled at her passion. Sara didn't disappoint. As other reviewers have noted her back-country cooking is fabulous, her knowledge of the region is limitless, her passion for the outdoors is contagious, and she doesn't even seem to notice that the pack she carries is 35% of her body weight. We also chose to use a porter in order to keep our packs lighter and a safety measure in the event my old leg injuries decided to flare-up. When we arrived at SMG's office we were honored to discover that our "porter" was actually Chris Lundy, husband, co-owner, and resident avalanche expert. While avalanches certainly weren't an issue in July both my daughter and I truly enjoyed learning from Chris about the physics behind avalanches. With Chris's BS and MS in engineering he certainly was well equipped to answer our many questions and further energize my daughter for the engineering studies she is about to begin.
Much has been said in other reviews about Sara and Chris's back-country hospitality and it is all true, but I was most happy about a very fine subtlety. In general, I prefer not to use guides. This is mainly because as skilled and knowledgeable as they may be you have no way of telling in advance if they are prone to nonstop chatter or are completely challenged in human interactions. Backpacking with Sara and Chris felt like a trip with old friends. They both understand the beauty of silence when you just want to take in everything the Sawtooths have to offer but they also seemed to know the perfect moment to offer up some interesting insights when the trail got monotonous or you had even an inkling of a question.
Sara and Chris enabled a graduation present that I believe my daughter will never forget. I know I will never forget this special time spent with my daughter. I look forward to finding the reason/excuse to once again explore the Sawtooths with Sara and Chris.
A trip I have been planning and training for 2 years was successfully fulfilled due to Sawtooth Mountain Guide by summiting Borah Peak Idaho, Sara was not only a great guide but also gave info on the local flora and fauna. If you want to try Borah, Sawtooth guides is a must.
I just completed a Borah Peak climb with Drew as my guide, and it was an outstanding trip. Other reviewers have praised Drew's skill, professionalism, cheerfulness and enthusiasm, and I can fully vouch for him as well.
Instead of repeating those accolades, I'd like to add a few additional observations: I have used other mountain guide services, going back in time to 1985 (before Drew was ever born). Sawtooth Mountain Guides distinguishes itself with good front-end communication and organization. Rachel, the office manager, is great with handling bookings and makes the process very easy. More importantly, she is cheerful and patient in providing information and responding promptly to e-mail inquiries. Booking my trip with SMG was easy.
No matter your skill level, a good mountain guide can always enhance the experience with local knowledge and helping you hone and improve your abilities. With his years of experience and training, Drew knows how to adapt to a climber's ability level, make them feel comfortable, and work with them. He obviously enjoys his job and being with people.
SMG specializes in small groups, one-on-one climbs like what I did with Drew, and customized trips. Their turf is some of the most beautiful terrain anywhere in the world. SMG will help you see and experience it.
In early June, J.P. and Drew helped our team including my wife, her brother, and myself climb to the highest point of Idaho. A little bit about us - My wife and I had attempted a Borah summit two years ago unsuccessfully after we had underestimated the mountain, had bad weather move in right after we finished chicken out ridge, and needed to get to the Grand Tetons later that night. We had already climbed with ice axes and crampons on a successful summit up the Emmons Glacier on Rainier. My brother-in-law, who just graduated high school, had never attempted this mountain nor had experience climbing with crampons or ice axe.
Now for the review: Before the hike, Drew was awesome with communication - he contacted via phone and email to ensure that we had all the gear we would need for an early season summit attempt. We spoke about mountain conditions and weather forecasts. As we realized that the day may be a bit longer than normal (10-12 hours if mountain conditions were great), he agreed to meet an hour earlier than usual to give us the best attempt at a successful summit. At 4:00, we met at the trailhead where our guides had spent the night to ensure they would be there for our arrival. They were dressed and ready to go at 3:45 - when we arrived. They trusted us that we had all the gear we would need which we appreciated. The climb was really difficult and my wife and I roped up with Drew while my brother-in-law roped up with J.P. They made the climb safe, stayed encouraging and positive throughout the entire hike, provided instruction when needed, and allowed us to hike our own hike. They took pictures and shared them with us during the trip too - which was AWESOME as cameras are difficult to bring on the mountain. Because of the mountain conditions, we had to take a route less traveled - and never traveled before by the guides... up the ridge line - up class 4 scrambling - for over a mile to the summit. The journey to the summit took 8 hours alone - but we made it... and were the only people to summit that day (and in quite awhile as there were no other footprints at the top). We finally reached the parking lot at 6:59 that evening (nearly 15 hours after starting out).
A few things that really impressed me: For 15 hours, J.P. and Drew stayed happy, encouraging, and shared their passion for climbing and the outdoors with us. They made us feel as though they were climbing friends rather than a guiding service. It would have been easy for them to say that the mountain wasn't fit for climbing once we got past chicken out ridge - and we could have turned around - but instead, they wanted to get to the summit as much as we did and we kept pressing on up the difficult terrain. Later, we learned that Drew even had a race that he needed to compete in the next day - but still, he made the efforts to get us to the top and back down safely. If you are thinking about whether or not you need a guide for Borah, I would recommend getting climbing with Sawtooth Mountain Guides. They provided instruction far beyond what Borah required and there is no way I would have successfully completed an early season summit without them. Just make sure you bring along a lot of water, plenty of snacks, plan for a full day, and you tip your guides! And, although we don't plan on climbing Borah again, we do hope to climb with Sawtooth Mountain Guides again and we'll be requesting to climb with Drew and J.P. once more.
A group of friends and I flew into Boise and made the trek to Stanley for SMG's annual spring ski mountaineering course. What a trip! If you've never been, the Sawtooths do not disappoint. Beautiful mountains and great skiing - even in late April!
Most importantly though, the entire staff at SMG delivered a first class experience from the moment we booked until we were on our way back to the airport at the end of the trip. Excellent food, surprisingly comfy accommodations in their famous Yurt, and great teaching and guiding throughout the trip. I'd absolutely recommend SMG's ski mountaineering trip but am quite confident any of their other adventure treks would be just as well run and exciting.
SMG ski mountaineering camp was great. Yurts were comfortable and the food was outstanding. The guides really know their stuff and took the time to teach techniques in an easy to understand manner. Skiing was very memorable with many small and big objectives to choose from. Some days were more cases and others were intense. There is something for everybody at every ability level. Thanks for a great trip!
These guys and gals are true professionals. They live to teach and provide an excellent course. I took away so much from this Level 2 and I will be safer because of it. If you are considering avalanche education, Sawtooth Mountain Guides should be your first stop. Their facilities and course materials are top notch. This course was structured in such a way that all of the little pieces are slowly brought together into a cohesive and streamlined process by the end. On top of all the great things I have to say about the company and its instructors, you couldn't take a class like this in a more beautiful location. There is amazing skiing to be had in every direction from Stanley, ID. Plus, Stanley itself is a great place to visit. I highly recommend this company for any type of guided service.
The Sawtooth Mountain Guides put on a very professional and educational class. The instructors have a lot of experience and truly care that the class is both informative and fun. If you are looking to further your avalanche education do not hesitate to take classes from the Sawtooth Mountain Guides.
Even though we didn't think we were going to have great snow, our guides worked with us to find the best snow in the area. Very professional, well done, with excellent planning. During no time during the course did I feel like I was in danger at all, or even that the instructors were misguiding me. Excellent company!