Sawtooth Peak-12,343 feet (3762m), Needham Peak-12,533 feet (3820m), Mineral Peak-11,615 feet (3,540m)
Trip Report

After encountering bad weather on the east side of the Sierra I went to the west, slept in Tulare and drove to the trailhead at Mineral King in the morning. The last 25 miles were terrible. I was not able to drive faster than 20 mph and had to pull over twice to take a power nap because it was so tiring. I started hiking at 9:35 and made good time along the class 1 trail to Monarch Lakes. Then the sandy slog up to Sawtooth Pass along one of the many use trails took a bit longer, but I arrived on the summit at 12:30pm, or in 2:55h. In the summit registry, however, I found that Bob Burd had done it in 2:45h. That was close.... In any case, beautiful views from the summit of neighboring Needham where I headed next and the Kaweahs. There were still lots of clouds in the Whitney and Langley area, so my decision to leave the eastern side was the right one.

I headed over the Needham next. Again Bob and Matthew had beaten me by 10 minutes, and I got there in 4:55h. The summit registry dates back to 1966, which was the oldest registry I have encountered so far. Only an average of maybe 4 or 5 people come up here per year. After Needham I had to climb over the ridge that separated Amphitheater Lake from the Monarch Lakes and that looked pretty intimidating from higher up. However, I aimed at the lowest point but never found it harder than class 3. It started snowing now, as the clouds that had been lingering over the Kaweahs had moved over and gotten hung up on Sawtooth Peak. I still thought I could do Mineral Peak though and arrived there at 4:15pm or 6 hours and 40 minutes after I had set out. Now the weather turned really rather nasty and I hurried up with the descent thinking that I should read up on Sierra weather and thunderstorms in the fall.

On the way down the switchbacks I alternated walking and running the switchbacks and arrived at the trailhead just at sunset at 6:30. After arriving back at CA-99 I was too tired to drive all the way back to Davis that night and slept in Fresno before continuing on Monday morning.

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This page was last updated: Apr 27 2008