Shang-Ra-La is the term the old timers used for the Saddleback Lakes basin. This is probably the most popular climb in the Sawtooths and certainly the most publicized. Alan, Kenn, John and I headed up for a quick overnight climb. We high tailed it from the shuttle boat to the second Saddleback Lake in about 1.5 hrs and set up a camp there.
The next morning we were on the rock by 7:30a. It was Kenn and I as one team, Alan and John as the other. John and Alan started just to the left of the first pitch chimney (a variation) and rated the crack and face about a 5.7. Kenn led the first pitch proper (5.5) and went a bit onto the second pitch (5.8). There was an interesting mantle move on that pitch. I finished the second pitch and led up the third pitch (5.8) on great lie back cracks and got slowed down where I over-protected a small bulge that gave me problems and made it to a double Leaper hanger belay. I then led the 4th pitch (5.7) as it traversed under the triple roofs and out and around on a very airy arête. As I turned the corner, the wind hit me at full force as if to just make things interesting. The climbing became 4th class as I scrambled up to the base of the obvious blank diamond. I brought Kenn up and he then led the 5th pitch (5.8), which started easy, but was little runout. The climbing ended at the 5.8 level with cracks and lie backs. I led the 6th pitch (5.8) and had some choices as to which of three cracks to ascend. I chose the middle crack and it appeared that the left crack would have gone easily also. Kenn led the final pitch (5.9) up and over an overhanging crack with no feet.
Third class scrambling led us up to the saddle between the true summits and we descended down the 4th gully south of the Perch where we encountered no difficulties. (Descending the first gully requires a short rappel; descending the second gully involves short down climbing; descending the third gully is okay except for a lot of loose scree). All these gullies come down onto the Saddleback Lakes, and generally the further south the gully, the easier it is to get down. We then packed up camp and made the 5pm shuttle boat. The valleys were full of forest fire smoke.
"So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life."
--Peter Gibbons (Office Space)