From Crystal Lake

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.45450°N / 118.5364°W
Additional Information Route Type: cross country scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 3rd class
Sign the Climber's Log


Getting to Crstal Lake is quite easy. Once in Mineral King start up the Sawtooth/Timber Gap Trail. When the trail forks go right following signs to "Sawtooth Pass". After a few miles the trail forks again. This time follow the signs to Crystal Lake. Once here simply follow the trail to the scenic Crystal Lake.

Route Description

From the dam at Crystal Lake head up the small buldge to the north. Go down this rise and head over low angle slabs towards the pass between Crystal and Amphitheater Lake. The hike is rather easy until you reach the very top where there is one or two easy third class moves. Once at the pass you should have a clear view of Needham Mountain right behind Amphitheater Lake. From here head either south around the lake drainage or north closer to Sawtooth Peak. Both ways require a few class 3 moves with the northern route quicker and more direct but far less scenic. If you choose to go north you will have to pick your way through numerous boulder and sand field where as of you go south you will have to negotiate your way over slabs and tundra. Either way gets you to where you need to be. Once you have successfully negotiated your way around the lake you should be able to see what look like grassy cliffs below the first saddle west of the summit of Needham. These cliffs are actually aren't cliffs at all and offer some nice scrambling over shrubs and other greenery. Keep heading up these until they thin out leaving sand, scree and boulders. From here you can either head directly to the saddle or just trudge your way towrads the summit. The saddle offers slightly more stable groud as compared to direct way which is comprozed mostly of sand. Either way it's a bit of a slog until you reach the last 50 feet of stable rock. Once you've reached the stable summit rocks it takes a little bit of poking around to find the best, and safest, way to the actual summit block. In reality it isn't very hard to find at all, it just requires a little time. Once you've found the correct route it's just a few easy 3rd class moves and you're there!

Essential Gear

If you're climbing this in the summer good route finding skills, boots and lots of water are all you need. In the winter ice axe and crampons would be essential.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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