Sawtooths first week of July


Dec 2, 2013
I currently have permits for doing the Teton Crest July 6th-10th, but am concerned about snow for that time period. My wife does not want me having to cross snow covered passes with an ice axe, she worries enough as it is when I am out.

So while I wait to see what the spring weather is going to do I have been contemplating some alternatives for those dates. Due to the fact that most of the Sawtooths cap out at 10k instead of 13k like in the Tetons I am wondering if this would be a good alternative should the now prove persistent through the spring.

Any thoughts?
AJ, man up. Remind your wife that you are in control, then ask her if she's OK with that.
Um, okay, I didn't come here for marital advice. Anyone actually care to help answer the question?
Sorry that might have been a bit harsh. My wife is wonderful, she let's me run off for weeks at a time in the summer, even though she is home with a 4 year old 2 year old and a 6 month old. I can't ask anything more of her, and if she doesn't want me doing it then I will respect that.
I was worried you might miss the intended humor of my post. I did not mean to offend. Sounds like a wonderful wife, just like mine.
Yes it failed to translate for some reason. I'll have to check and re calibrate my internet sarcasm and humor sensors.
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I wouldn't plan on going over any of the Sawtooth passes that early without expecting to encounter snow.
I've gone to the Sawtooths the first week of June. They were snow covered then above 8000'. I do believe that they draw less snow than the Tetons. There are some North faces in the Sawtooths where trails can remain under snow even in September and August.

Perhaps I should also mention that when I did the Teton crest the last week end of June into July it was still entirely snow covered from Marion Lake to the Cascade Canyons. A long walk over snow across Death Canyon Shelf and Alaska Basin.
Yeah that doesn't look like too much fun to be honest with you. I don't mind a little snow, but it looks like you were on snow for almost the entire time.
Do you use interactive snow depth maps? Those could help give you an idea.
Do you use interactive snow depth maps? Those could help give you an idea.

I have used them yes. Snow depths look low for this time of year, and we have been having a very hot and dry late winter early spring, so I was feeling a bit optimistic that conditions might work out in my favor. However I still think it's just too far away to really say. If neither of those options work there are plenty of other places I can go that won't require climbing over high altitude passes that should fit the bill for that week.
Snow in front of my house this afternoon in Island Park, ID. We still have over two feet on the flat at 6300 ft. It's low in places but ID mountains have been getting hit.... Tetons are still solid white all the way down to the flats on the west side. I'd listen to Ben.....a bunch of snow the first of July is highly probable.

Paintbrush Divide in early July was one of the scariest things I've ever done. Sidehilling with an ice axe; I think I might have been the first person over the pass that year as I saw no tracks. Glissading down the other side sure was fun though!

Short story - in an average snow year, you can expect more or less continuous snow Marion Lake to Holly Lake. That said, the early season TCT is probably the second best single backpacking trip I've taken. Beautiful, desolate, challenging.
They will all have snow, but you can also consider the Pioneer mountains and the Lemhi range as another set of Plan B ideas that are closer to your original destination.

borrow a "spot" from someone and perhaps that will help your wife to feel better each night while you are gone :)
I've been dying to spend some time in the Lost River Range, but lack the proper vehicle to get me into the range. From what I have read even though they are the tallest range in Idaho they don't get near the snow that the Sawtooths do.
I've been dying to spend some time in the Lost River Range, but lack the proper vehicle to get me into the range. From what I have read even though they are the tallest range in Idaho they don't get near the snow that the Sawtooths do.
I highly recommend getting Douglas Lorain's "Backpacking Idaho" as well as "Backpacking Wyoming. In Idaho, the Lemhi, Lost River, and Italian Peak ranges get less snow than the surrounding ranges. In fact, the ideal time to visit is mid-late June and early July.
They may be the only alpine ranges in the Rockies that melt out in June.

I haven't been to those ranges yet, but I'm planning on backpacking in the Lost Rivers in late June. And there are 2 trailheads described in Lorain's book that don't require 4WD to get to.
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