Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho

Every year Ben and I have moved our fall road trip earlier than the past year's trip, hoping to have good weather. We may have had the worst overall weather this year, but still counted the trip as a success after doing an amazing traverse of the eastern half of the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho.

With 20 of the 40 miles being cross country, it was scenic, offered a lot of solitude, and was extremely difficult. I'm already looking forward to going back for the western half next year.

Day 1, Pettit Lake to above Alpine Lake

Good trailhead display

Trailhead map with our route drawn in

Always nice to avoid a ford; Ben's picture

First major pass at 9300'

Looking toward Imogene Lake

Imogene Lake

Start of our day cross country

Perfect examples of lateral moraines, with Hell Roaring Lake

Looking up at Finger of Fate

Lunch tarn, below Finger of Fate

Climbing up to the pass below Finger of Fate

Pass below Finger of Fate; Ben's picture

Not bad if it hadn't been snowy

Midway down; Ben's picture

Looking back up the snowy gully below the Finger of Fate

More lakes, on the cross country section

Looking back at Finger of Fate and our descent gully
Big talus, Little Ben

Saddleback Lake and Elephant's Perch

Fulfilling our twofie quota

Camp time, the smaller lake above Alpine Lake
Day 2, Alpine Lake area to Iron Creek trailhead

Showing the next five miles of cross country to the high pass at center left

More granite, more lakes

Getting closer to our high pass at center right

More granite, more lakes

Ben's picture

Ben headed to the first pass to access our high pass

Our first pass, with the southern Sawtooth Range beyond; Ben's picture

Southern Sawtooth Range

Traversing to the high pass below Thomson Peak

Looking back at our tracks coming down the first pass

Southern Sawtooth Range from our high pass at 10,400' 

Looking north, with frozen lakes

Looking back at the high pass; we had to go around the snow on crap scree

Day two lunch next to a half-frozen tarn

Looking down the lower basin area

Looking back up toward the upper basin

Ben in the lower basin

Looking down the last bit to Goat Lake

Ben along the Goat Lake boot path, then down to the trailhead

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Gamma Peak 7000', Glacier Peak Wilderness

Sir Hikes and I had been talking about Gamma Peak earlier in the year and finally got around to doing it, though by a different route: from the northwest off of Vista Creek. Overall the route was relatively straightforward but by no means easy.

32.6 miles, 9k'+ gain

Sir Hikes among the wonderful old growth cedars

And the great Doug Firs

Sir Hikes photo

Vista Creek drainage; we crossed at 3705'

Coming up through the forest, Sire Hikes photo

Sir Hikes photo; dodging yellow jacket nests

Meadows and Glacier, on the way to Gamma

Meadows in the basin below Gamma; Sir Hikes photo

Some animal organ...?

Gamma Peak from the basin

Looking north, PCT going up to Vista Ridge / Grassy Point Pass in the back

Approaching the summit of Gamma; Bonanza beyond

Glacier Peak from the summit of Gamma

Glacier and the view to the east

Glacial retreat tarn below the eastern Ermine Glacier

PCT past Vista Ridge and Grassy Point

The definition of PCT grade, ugh

Uno Peak fire blowing up

Sir Hikes was very proud of his boy scout cup

Homemade Vista Creek bridge; Sir Hikes photo

Cross creek, schwack up to PCT, 12 miles back to trailhead