Backpacking the Sawtooths

Eugene

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Mar 13, 2012
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136
Five of us - 4 from Houston Texas and a local from Ketchum - did a 3 1/2 day trek from Redfish Lake inlet to Pettit Lake (Tin Cup TH) during the week of August 18-22. The route was as follows:
Tues: Redfish inlet to Cramer Lakes

Wed: Cramer Lakes to Lake Edna
Thurs: Lake Edna to Lake Alice via Toxaway Lake
Fri: Lake Alice out to Pettit Lake (Tin Cup TH)
Elevation info: starting at about 6700 ft. at Redfish; High point about 9250; Total climb about 5500 ft.
Source for hike planning: Alltrails.com - Redfish to Pettit

Trail markers: Trails are well marked. We had maps but really no issue with finding the route.

This is a great hike of about 28 miles with great views (this time somewhat obscured by the smoke from the western fires) and somewhat challenging for flat landers from Houston TX (coming from sea level to 9,000 ft.) and add the fact that I am 74 didn't help either. The hike crosses several passes each with talus fields with switchbacks. The talus fields were the most tiring with always having to watch your footing with the rocks. The temperatures were abnormally warm. I had been in the area a couple of times before in the same general time of year and saw temperatures with lows in the 40s (even frost a time or 2) and highs in the 70s. This time I don't think the temperature ever got below 50.


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Left to right: Walter Brown, Denis Rutherford, myself, my grandson Garrett and Alex Monge

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View a ways up Redfish creek.

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Just crossing Redfish creek at the junction to Alpine Lake




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Me a bit weary at Upper Cramer Lake

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View across the lake


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Interesting formation at the top - bet it falls soon.

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There were a few wild flowers remaining


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Pass between Edna and Toxaway. Note the smoke

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Just above Toxaway inlet.


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The pass between Toxaway and Twin Lakes/Lake Alice


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We made it - Oh there are two girls with us now. They are the local's daughter and her friend. They met us up at Lake Alice.
 
Last edited:

Wanderlust073

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Oct 30, 2016
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The smoke this year is a bummer, but looks like you still got some pretty decent views out of it. 74 years old... Way to set the bar!
 

Titans

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Aug 18, 2018
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Glad you got out on a trip, that's a tough altitude coming from sea level. It looks like you are going from wildfire smoke straight into 2 tropical storms. Stay safe in Houston, fingers crossed it won't get too bad!
 

N8Dawg

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Jul 22, 2019
Messages
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Nice work Eugene! My dad will be 74 next year and I was just talking to him earlier today about getting him back out on a trip to the Sawtooths. I was at Saddleback Lakes during the same time so we were close by. I am heading back up to Imogene Lake tomorrow and will be summiting Mt Cramer on Saturday! Fortunately looking at the webcams the smoke started clearing up yesterday and looks pretty clear today. Hopefully it stays that way for the summit views.
 

piper01

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Joined
Oct 27, 2013
Messages
176
Sounds like a wonderful trip; I'm jealous! I was hoping to visit the Sawtooths this year, but I didn't get around to planning a trip in time. It's at the top of my bucket list for next year though. Being a flatlander Houstonian like you (but a few decades younger!), I always think about the elevation contrast with home when planning a trip.

How crowded were the popular lakes during the middle of the week?
 

Eugene

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Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
136
Sounds like a wonderful trip; I'm jealous! I was hoping to visit the Sawtooths this year, but I didn't get around to planning a trip in time. It's at the top of my bucket list for next year though. Being a flatlander Houstonian like you (but a few decades younger!), I always think about the elevation contrast with home when planning a trip.

How crowded were the popular lakes during the middle of the week?
This year apparently was unusual. I think lots of folks opted for non or free permit areas with the closure or at least partial closure of the national parks. We always found campsites but there were lots of folks out there. At Alice Lake we were not able to get a lakeside site but were able to find lakeside spots at both Cramer and Edna. I was there some years back and there was virtually no one past the day hike distances.
 

Eugene

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
136
Sounds like a wonderful trip; I'm jealous! I was hoping to visit the Sawtooths this year, but I didn't get around to planning a trip in time. It's at the top of my bucket list for next year though. Being a flatlander Houstonian like you (but a few decades younger!), I always think about the elevation contrast with home when planning a trip.

How crowded were the popular lakes during the middle of the week?
 

Curt

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Feb 1, 2014
Messages
399
Glad to see that you're still crushing it at 74. Gives me hope for continuing on.
 

N8Dawg

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Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
7
Here are a couple of pics from this last Saturday from the top of Mt Cramer looking down on the Cramer Lakes. It was a bit smokier than I was hoping it would be but I've seen it much worse.
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