The Salmon River Mountains in Central Idaho, U.S.A., was once described by early surveyors of the United States Geological Society, as a,”…convoluted, monstrosity…”
Roughly 120 miles East to West, and 110 miles South to North, the Salmon River Range fills nearly the entirety of Central Idaho. One of the largest un-damned, wild rivers in the lower 48 states of the U.S., the Salmon River, dissects this massive blob of mainly granite, though the specific geology of the area is vast, and complex. North Americas largest granitic batholith, the Idaho batholith, appears throughout this remote area, in endless miles of mid-ridges, river cut cliffs, to the highest peaks of the range. A batholith is a mega-giant, molten bubble of rock, that floats from the core of the Earth, to the surface, slowly cooling as it rises. The forces of plate tectonics, push the Idaho batholith through the surface, and the ensuing millions of years of glaciers, freezing and thawing, torrents of snow, rain, and hot summer winds, have left behind what we see today. The last glaciers melted away 13,000 years ago, but a craggy, rugged, vast, remote piece of country did not. The largest designated, road-less wilderness area, South of Alaska, the Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness is here. North America’s 2nd, and 3rd deepest river canyons, the South Fork Salmon, and Main Salmon, cut deep in this wild-land. 10,000 ft from river bottom, contiguously up to the highest point off the river, at its deepest point. The deepest river canyon in North America, the Hells Canyon, of the Snake River, is a short 40 air miles from the Western most point of this mountain range.
In this gallery, the approach and summit, of South Loon Peak is show-cased. South Loon sits at 9,287 ft., a slim 100 ft. below North Loon, the tallest peak in the Western section of the Salmon River Mountains, in the Lick creek sub-range. A detailed description of accessing South Loon can be found at SummitPost.org