You say the hill’s too steep to climb,
You say you’d like to see me try,
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time
And I’ll climb
The hill in my own way
–Pink Floyd, FEARLESS
Low levels or no levels of snow in California continues to be the pattern this winter. On a normal snow year, climbing Southern Sierra’s Sawtooth Peak in February would be more of an expedition.
Sawtooth has been on my informal list of peaks to climb for a few years. I took quick advantage of a warm, windless day with my husband and son to bag this peak.
The plan was to follow Jenkin’s semi-loop route featured in the guidebook, Exploring the Southern Sierra: East Side. I highly recommend the optional route from the summit back to the PCT. It drops the hiker through a narrow and very scenic canyon with interesting ledges to navigate.
The approach begins hiking south on Pacific Crest Trail at Cranebrake Road and Chimney Creek. We hit the trail at 8:30 am and quickly were surprised that Chimney Creek was bone dry. This year-round creek is an important water source. Very scary.
After hiking up gentle trail for 3 miles to a saddle (about 6,300′), the cross-country route heads north UP steep, sandy slopes. The terrain changes to boulders with some bushwhacking through Pinyon Pines. Sawtooth is a calf burner.
Views from this Sierra Crest peak is commanding with countless peaks to identify. After scouting out our path down, Silly Chili took the lead. The highlight down was the ledge system around a 60 foot dry fall.
At 1:30 pm we were heading home to make homemade pizza and watch the Superbowl. Well for me… just the half-time and commercials.
It was hard not to be cheerful, happy, and in complete awe of Katy Perry’s courage riding the lion robot and flying high as an actual firework.
Trip Date: February 1, 2015
Distance: 9.1 miles, semi-loop
Elevation gain: 2600 feet
Summit Elevation: 8,000′
Season: Spring, Fall, and Winter
Difficulty: Strenuous with trail, some route finding, bushwhacking and cross-country travel
Link to Trail Head and Detailed Guide: Exploring the Southern Sierra: East Side by J.C. Jenkins and Ruby Johnson Jenkins (out of print and difficult to find used)
Click HERE to view Sawtooth Peak Climb in guidebook
Extra Information: Sawtooth is on the Sierra Peaks Section list
Hey, I am trying out a new photo mosaic. Tip: Click once on any photo below to view the photo full size with camera information and flip through all photos by clicking arrows. Please let me know what you think. Thanks Drop n’ Roll for the inspiration.