Sawtooth Ridge on the Rocky Mountain Entrance II – Large Sky Walker

Icon: an individual or factor extensively admired particularly for having nice affect or significance in a specific sphere

There isn’t a scarcity of iconic peaks alongside the Rocky Mountain Entrance. Ear Mountain, Coronary heart Butte, Chief Mountain, Steamboat, and Sawtooth Ridge are a few of my favorites. Sawtooth is perhaps essentially the most recognizable due to its distinctive form and site. It’s seen to west-bound vacationers on each Freeway 200 and I-15 (greatest seen in morning mild). Plus, nothing says “I’m iconic” greater than being featured on a beer label. Subsequent time you’re within the beer isle take a look at the artsy illustration of Sawtooth Ridge on Bayern’s Pilsner Lager.

Two issues.
I’ve climbed the north tooth of Sawtooth Ridge a pair occasions, every time approaching from the north (see earlier put up). Nonetheless, I’ve by no means climbed the marginally greater south tooth. Early final Saturday morning (7/29/23) I made the 100-mile drive from Helena to the Solar River Canyon west of Augusta with two targets in thoughts – I wished to strive a distinct route as much as the north tooth, and I wished to see if I may climb the intimidating south tooth.

Beginning on the Solar Canyon Lodge, I hiked up Dwelling Gulch alongside a well-travelled path for 4 miles, taking a left flip (off-trail) quickly after passing by a grassy space named Agropyron Flats. I crossed a dry stream mattress, after which climbed a steep 1.5-mile ridge to the highest of the north tooth (see maps in photograph tour). The ridge was difficult (2,500 toes of achieve), however the footing was good and the bush-whacking was very cheap. There’s a difficult scramble up the final 50 yards to achieve the summit. Though it wasn’t as fascinating because the route I had taken on my two earlier journeys, it was safer and simpler (5.5 miles with ~3,500 ft. of achieve from the lodge). It was sunny and calm, and there was no haze – an ideal day to be on the north tooth.

No information is nice information.
After spending about 45 minutes taking drone pictures, having fun with the views, and psyching myself as much as sort out the south tooth, I began the sketchy half-mile traverse alongside the ridge, not sure that I’d be capable of discover a approach to the highest as soon as I obtained there. I rigorously made my means under the center tooth (alongside the gum line) to a cushty flat space under the south tooth. I took a break there, reminding myself that I by no means need to be ‘that man’ – the one on the nightly information who needed to be rescued from a spot he couldn’t climb down from. After some scrambling and exploring, I rigorously adopted a slim ledge round to a spot the place I may safely climb up – and extra importantly, get again down. As soon as on high, I noticed the summit cairn, about 20 yards away and several other toes greater than my location. I may additionally see that I must crawl throughout a brief knife-edge ridge after which climb one other steep rock face to get there. After one other brief dialog with myself, I made a decision that I’d taken sufficient dangers for at some point, and began climbing down.

For what it’s value.
For individuals who are as much as the duty, I extremely suggest the north tooth. Nonetheless, getting onto the south tooth includes considerably extra effort and threat – plus the views from the south tooth aren’t nearly as good as these from the north tooth. One other consideration with the south tooth is getting again all the way down to the path. Do you return the identical means, traversing the sketchy ridge, or do you hike/slide down the scree-filled basin? Neither are simple choices. I made a decision to hike/slide down the basin (see photograph tour). It was not nice however I made it down, glad to be again on a path for the final 4 miles of my journey. The journey, which ended up being 13.5 miles with 4,300 toes of elevation, took precisely 10 hours. I celebrated engaging in my two targets (and never changing into a information story) with a tasty tangerine ale on the lodge.

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Under: This map marks hikes which have been featured on up to now, together with a number of in Glacier Park – Choose full display screen to increase, zoom in for extra element, or click on on a marker for a hyperlink to the put up.