The Sawtooth Mountain Range of Idaho is perhaps best known for its sharp tooth-like peaks. Many of the peaks possess imaginative and descriptive names, such as The Rotten Monolith, Elephant’s Perch, The Coffin, The Finger of Fate, The Birthday Cake, Warbonnet, The Raker, and The Arrowhead.
The 6.5 magnitude March 31 earthquake appears to have claimed The Arrowhead and Finger of Fate as victims.
At 10,249 feet and formed in the shape of a tipped projectile, The Arrowhead appears to have lost all 338 feet of its prominence. At 9,757 feet and formed in the shape of a finger with an explanation point, The Finger of Fate appears to have lost its summit block, about 30 to 40 feet.
The Finger of Fate is one of the most climbed faces in the Sawtooth Range. It has over 1,000 vertical feet of ascent and nine known climbing routes – ranging from 5.7 to 5.11 on the on the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). The Book, rated at 5.9, is the most popular route.
The Arrowhead was one of the most demanding climbs in the Sawtooth Range. To reach the summit of The Arrowhead required following a highly technical route to the narrow fin highpoint on its western face. The route was classified as 5.9. The first recorded ascent was in 1967 by G. Webster and J. Beaupre.
Until recent revisions, a rating of 5.9 in the YDS was considered the most difficult. There are 18 climbs rated 5.9 or higher in the Sawtooths, a distinction few if in any ranges in the U.S. can claim
“The Arrowhead was singular in nature,” said Ed Cannady, the recently retired Backcountry Recreation Manager for Sawtooth National Recreation Area. “It was perfectly shaped like a human made arrowhead and its prominence on the skyline. It will be interesting to get into the backcountry and see what else has changed.”
According to Chris Lundy ,co-owner of Sawtooth Mountain Guides, “The summit block or top 30 to 40 feet of Finger of Fate is clearly gone. While we would like to go in and inspect the situation, it would be reckless of anyone to do so, given the current restrictions due to the COVID-19.” Lundy voiced the same position as Cannady, “It will sure be interesting to establish what other major destinations have been impacted from the earthquake.”
The Arrowhead and Finger of Fate are located in the middle of the Sawtooth Valley between Mt. Cramer to the south and Decker Peak to the north. The Arrowhead, Finger of Fate, and The Birthday Cake are clustered together and visible from State Highway 75. The section is best viewed from State Highway 75 at a pull-out just south of Fisher Creek Road.
In a 2010 study, Idaho State University established, the Sawtooth Range sits on a 40-mile fault line - starting at Redfish Lake on the north. The most recent earthquakes on the Sawtooth Fault are estimated to have occurred between 4,000 and 7,500 years-ago with a possible maximum of 7.5 magnitude on the Richter Scale.