Approached from the Crystal Lake> Amphitheatre Lake pass as others noted here. Found no signs of anything, (use trail, footprints, ducks, or summit register), but did find 3 summit blocks, within 100-125 ft. apart, all about equal in height. I climbed the (higher) west and (lower) middle summit blocks. The eastern block looked about 2 ft. shorter than the western block by casual observation. There was no class 3 route up it that I could find and I traversed the entire southern side of the base.
My altimeter reading was approx. 12,440-47 at the notch between the W. and middle blocks, (approx. 20 ft. below the western block.) Secor says 12,467, the topo says 12,520.
Another oddity- Sawtooth Pk. looked noticeably higher from the summit area even though it is listed as being at 12,343 ft.
But the weather was perfect!
It might be helpful for this page if someone could note where the summit register could be found along with more detail/photos on the summit area itself.
Did a quick stop on Sawtooth before an easy class 3 traverse to Needham, made more interesting by sticking somewhat close to the ridge in between. Returned via the pass between Amphitheater and Crystal Lake, the pass looked impassable at the very top but wasn't too difficult. Then another short stop on Mineral Peak before exiting.
This was a real a$$ kicker. Did it as a day hike through Crystal lake. Should have spent the night at high elevation. Awesome views great hike!!
Traversed from Sawtooth by dropping down off the ridge to the sand. The traverse didn't take as long as I thought, but was still tedious. Returned via the pass between Amphitheater and Crystal Lakes which was pretty easy, then followed the trails back to the car at Mineral King. 9 hrs. CTC at a pretty leisurely pace.
After checking out Glacier Pass and reclimbing Sawtooth. The ridgeline looked like it would take a while but as it turns out, the sand slog was equally bad. Chose to go back over the low point between Amphitheater Lake and Crystal and then the regular trail -- worked very nicely.
Traverse of the ridge from Sawtooth took longer than expected but beat the sand slog one encounters if dropping off the ridge. Descent of east face to Ampitheater lake and over an unmarked pass (stout class 3 sans cheater rope mentioned in some earlier trip reports) to Crystal lake.
My first trip into the Mineral King area, climbing Sawtooth Peak, Needham Mountain, Eagle Scout Peak, Mount Kaweah, and Second Kaweah over a four day backpacking trip from the Sawtooth Trailhead.
Part of a counter-clockwise tour of most of the Mineral King area peaks. Trip report
Went with a PCS group led by Bob Suzuki, camped at Crystal Lake. Great scenery.
Oh yes, now I remember -- the sand :)
Sep 18, 2004: Dayhike out of Mineral King, first up to Sawtooth, then over to this (sand slog with a cool summit block), down to Soda Creek, before looping around via Rainbow and Florence. Fairly poor views because of low cloud cover.
Sep 9, 2006: Another Sawtooth/Needham dayhike, this time with Bob as an acclimatization hike (insufficient!) for a dayhike of Black Kaweah the next day. He owes me an excellent climbing outing after subjecting me to this sand again.
Arduous hike from Mineral King to Crystal Lake with a pack, then from Crystal Lake to the summit and back. Definitely a workout, but well worth it!