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!
Just as we reached the summit, lightning struck the rock across sawtooth pass. Nice to climb summits that can be seen from the valley
Dayhike from Mineral King via Upper Monarch Lake. Went up and down the class 2 South Ridge route, which was a very pleasant alternative to the scree-filled Sawtooth Pass route. Any thoughts of doing Needham were put to rest by the ominous clouds that were rolling in well before noon, which opened up on us on the way down...
Dayhike from Mineral King via Upper Monarch Lake. Great thunder and lightning display on the hike out. Glad we summited early.
Day hike from Mineral King.
Climbed with Brian Reynolds from Bullard High in Fresno while on a day hike to Sawtooth Pass during a senior graduation trip to his family's cabin in Mineral King. This was back in the days when Walt Disney was trying to turn Mineral King into a ski resort...spawning my "Save Mineral King" bumper sticker! Who remembers those?
This was my first taste of the High Sierra
Easy dayhike out of Mineral King. Lots of sand up to Sawtooth Pass. Weather turned while on the summit and cut the day short. Fun descent towards Upper Monarch though.
From Mineral King trailhead, we backpacked to Monarch Lake, set up camp there, and went for Sawtooth peak in a little under 2 hours. Awesome views from the top. Mineral peak looked really good so we did it the next day.
This made for an amazing end to an amazing trip. The weather was absolutely perfect, although there seemed to be a fire to the south somewhere pushing a bunch of smoke northward into Lost Canyon. My highest peak to date!! Keep your eyes open for a trip report soon to come.
Dayhike from Mineral King
An easy overnighter from Monarch Lake.
The weather dropped on the summit approach. Made the summit, but was robbed of the view!
Day hike from base camp at columbine lake. Very nice. Ran out of water though at the top. only brought one liter, hard hike back to camp.
I opted to stay in the shade of the newer trail to Sawtooth Pass on the way up as it was hot in the sun. I took the old trail back after summiting via Sawtooth Pass. Descending on the old trail is rough on tired legs and feet for someone who might enjoy jogging or walking quickly down the softer and more gradaual new trail. Great views with very little Central Valley haze.
Did it with a few of my friends, a nice relaxing afternoon trip.
Climbed Sawtooth and Needham with Matthew in a warm up for Black Kaweah the next day. Trip Report
Quick afternoon hike under storm clouds. 6 hour r/t starting at 2PM -- a bit of hail on top but great views.
Climbed up NW ridge, climbed down South ridge to Amphitheater Lake. Started at 3:30am with the hope that we'd climb both Sawtooth and Needham. At 9:30am we were the first in the summit register for the day. Decided to chill at Amphitheater Lake instead of climbing Needham. Even though it was labor day weekend, we didn't see any other parties until we were halfway back down (at Crystal Lake).