Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sawtooth Mountains

Last weekend, Justin Woods and I decided last minute to check out the Sawtooth Mountains. Mainly, The Elephants Perch. Neither of us had been there and had only heard good things about the area.

Looking up the drainage from Redfish Lake

The approach started out great. A 10 minute boat ride across Redfish lake cut off 5 miles of hiking leaving us with 3 miles to go. A mellow trail gave way to a climbers trail which was a small grunt up to Saddle Back lakes and our camp site.

Justin enjoying the boat ride

The camping was plush. Beautiful lakes, minimal bugs, and a short approach to the climbing. We tapped into some wine and kicked back to enjoy the stars excited to climb the next day.

Milky Way our first night

Due to the proximity of the wall, there was no need to set an alarm. We slept in and casually rolled to the climb. A 9 pitch 5.11 is what we chose to start with. The climbing was excellent although sandbagged. Beautifully smooth dihedrals ran the length of the wall forcing delicate stemming and smearing.

Enjoying a dip in some cold water

Once on top, we couldn't have asked for an easier descent. A short walk led to a gully with a trail down it. A quick walk with a single rappel got us back to the base. 10 minutes more of walking and we were back to camp. Cush!!!

R&R with the Elephant's Perch in the background

Back at camp we found ourselves with 6 hours of light to kill. In such a beautiful place, it wasn't hard to occupy that time. We went swimming, hiking, fishing, and kicked back in the sun.

Elephant's Perch

The next morning we woke to more perfect weather and headed to another climb. This time it was a 12 pitch 5.11. The first pitch was sustained and with worries of continued difficulty, combined with having only one rope, we decided it best to return to the ground while we could. With the plan a bust, we decided to have fun top roping that first pitch again.

Camp with the the Elephant's Perch silhouetted

We returned to camp and took a leisure approach to packing up. With no reason to spend another night there, we hiked out and began the journey home.

The Goat's Perch

Saddle Back Lakes

Justin bouldering pitch 1

5.10 fingers

Perfect dihedrals