Sawtooth Mountain

Saturday, August 6, 2011
Leader: Brian Hoyland
Hike: 10 miles, 2200 ft (Difficult)

Our group of 15 hikers encountered snowdrifts and hungry mosquitoes at the Indigo Lake trailhead, where we started our 10 mile loop hike around Sawtooth Mountain. Sawtooth Mountain rises to 7301 feet about 10 miles to the south of Diamond Peak, and is one of the highest summits in the Calapooya Mountains. Snowdrifts obscured the trail in many places as we climbed. Tree blazes made the route relatively easy to follow, and we only lost the trail for a few switchbacks as we crossed the first southwest ridge. We did encounter one point of confusion at the crest of the southeast ridge where we found an abandoned trail that was complete with blazes, old sawed logs and numerous colored ribbons. The abandoned trail runs southeast out the ridge from near the summit to an unknown destination, while the desired trail is a U-turn around the ridge crest, where it continues to the east. All fifteen hikers made the exciting scramble to the summit and were rewarded with fantastic views of the Willamette Pass area and the headwaters of the Willamette River. We had lunch on the summit and lounged in the bright sun with no breezes at all. We continued with our loop around the mountain only to find the trail completely obscured by deep snow, leaving us with no choice but to hike cross country across snow covered talus fields and steep slopes. We soon located the trail and crossed over a high pass into the Indigo Lake basin. A quick descent through several switchbacks brought us to the shore of crystal clear Indigo Lake, where we all cooled our jets in the inviting but chilly water. Only Frank dared to go for a full swim. The short hike back to the trailhead followed the lake's rushing outlet creek down to the the shore of Timpanogas Lake and the cars, where we shared a reward of sliced watermelon and ice-cold bottles of water.

Members: Brian Hoyland, Chris Stockdale, Art Kearney, Chuck Harpham, Kate Parrish, Ernst Schwintzer, Ellen King, Dan Christensen, Frank Chemotti, Keiko Bryan, Rob Castleberry. Nonmembers: Lisa Berenschot, Mary Christensen, Martin Baskett, Matthew King.


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