It’s a workout to the top from Sawtooth Trailhead, but the view is worth every arduous step. We camped at Lower Monarch Lake before heading back down the next day and had the place all to ourselves. A bear visited our camp in the wee hours of the night. He was happy to eat grass and drink from the lake, so we all just ignored each other. There was a small snowfield about a quarter mile below the lake which was easily navigable with trekking poles.
My hiking partner and I found some camera equipment near the bear box at Lower Monarch Lake. I have it and will happily get it to you if it’s yours. Please PM me to describe and claim.
Great peak with my dad
I abandoned my scramble up the summit ridge due to being sick of the dirt and wary of a slip... previous commenters are right when saying it's tricky.
My hiking buddy made it to the top but ended up descending via the Monarch Lake cirque, which he recommended over Sawtooth Pass. Will have to try this next time, 'cause those lake views beckon so...
I can just imagine. Thank you for sharing this.
Kind of agree... There were a few parts of sand which obscured slippery slabs underneath, and that was, at times, tiring. The ridge possesses some tricky parts, especially early on.
From Mineral King over Sawtooth Pass. Didn't think the sand was that bad at all. The ridge is what was time consuming.
We climbed up mixed decomposed granite and loose rock, just under the ridge until just below summit. Fine scrambling near the top and a fun slab walk getting to the top!
The first stop on a nice fall loop covering Sawtooth, Needham, and Mineral Peak. The route up the south ridge was much better than a previous trip up to Sawtooth Pass.
My first visit here was September 2004... one of my first real Sierra summits (after only Half Dome and Whitney). Previous post: "Camped at Monarch Lakes and climbed the next day. Can't get enough of the Mineral King area and the cabins at Silver City are even better. Perhaps my favorite trailhead on the west side."
Nice day hike. The sand really sucked. A lot of fun going down!!
I took the old "trail" up to near Glacier Pass then cut over through the sand to Sawtooth Pass and on to the peak. Nice views from the summit, but the sand sucked. Continued on to Needham Mountain.
Camped at Lower Monarch Lake and summited Sawtooth Peak the next morning. Wonderful weekend adventure.
Approach to Sawtooth pass via the old unmaintained trail to Glacier notch avoided the endless switchbacks of the Glacier pass trail to Monarch lakes.
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.
I have done this twice. It was the first mountain I climbed over 9000ft. Steep views into the backcountry.
Day trip from Friant
Part of a counter-clockwise tour of most of the Mineral King area peaks. Trip report
1) Forget your hiking boots at home. 2) Use very lightweight running shoes instead that have little traction. 3) Try to descend a different way than you went up, down cliffs with no climbing gear.
Still a fun day!
Climbed with brother Jon after camping at Crystal Lake the night before. Got off track on the return over the Crystal/Ampitheater saddle and got into scarier climbing than I wanted.
Nice hike. A marmot followed us to the top.
Summitted with Jonathan, Jessica, and Jason starting from Lower Monarch Lake. Clear skies and views of Whitney possible. In early August there were still two fields of ice lower on the trail blocking 50-100 foot sections of the trail. One patch was on the route from Mineral King to Monarch Lakes 0.5 miles before the lake, and another was 0.25 miles past the camp at Lower Monarch Lake. The ice is passable with trekking poles, but most slippery in the morning after refreezing overnight. From the pass to the top it is bone dry.
The best way up to Sawtooth Pass from Lower Monarch lake is (while looking up at the mountain from the lake) the patch of green vegetation 50 yards to the left of the official trail up the shale lined slope, although the shale is easier on the knees while going down. From the pass the trail requires some boulder hopping, but easily manageable following the trail of cairns. The logbook in the ammo box at the top is new this year. Great views at the top. Well worth the effort. Looking down the vertical face of the north side of Sawtooth is both scary and impressive. Great hike!