Sawtooth/Cowhorn Mountains

July 12-13, 1991

This trip was originally scheduled as a north ridge South Sister climb. After two weeks of calls from people saying they couldn’t get the required gear, the leader cancelled the climb and led this trip to two minor peaks as an alternative. Although several people signed up and expressed interest in the South Sister trip, only two stuck it out and participated in the alternate trip.

On Friday night after work, the party drove to Timpanogas Lake and made camp; dinner was prepared and an intense thunderstorm arrived just in time to provide spectacular dinner entertainment. A great deal of rainfall was dropped and a lot of very loud thunder was accompanied by several lightning strikes in very close proximity.

Next morning found the Obsidian party of three making its way upward and southward, by-passing Indigo Lake and mounting a ridge on the division between the Willamette and Umpqua National Forests. From here the trail traversed a huge tree-filled cirque, followed a route around Sawtooth and provided impressive views northwards to Waldo Lake and the Three Sisters. We followed a narrow, rocky ridge to the north-west and where it reached its highest point was the summit of Sawtooth Mountain.

The group then returned to Trail 1459 and followed it for a while but soon left it to follow the ridge crest which led to an unnamed peak (elevation 6,885') which provided views seemingly straight down into Indigo Lake about 1,500 feet below. This summit ridge was then followed almost entirely to the base of Cowhorn Mountain, which looks down majestically onto Crescent Lake. The PCNST was crossed here and the summit attained in just a few minutes.

Then we began an interesting and fun journey cross-country by compass, returning to Timpanogas Lake. Along the route, the party found several unmarked permanent springs and enjoyed finding and skirting Amos and Andy Lakes (which are quite isolated, having no trail access). Timpanogas Lake was hit with pinpoint accuracy and Andy South, Joe Smallwood and leader Ken Ball returned in time to break camp and travel to town before dark.


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