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First-timers on the Sawtooth

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby wildlobo71 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:55 am

Cruiser wrote:Those willows are a right of passage. There's nothing like having your boot sucked off your foot by the bog leaving you completely filthy and wet for the last 2 miles of your hike back to the pass. That's character building right there! :D


I'm still missing a boot from the bog below the La Plata SW Ridge - the headwall area... It went deep, I've never pulled right out a high-ankle boot like that. (I retrieved it, but it was useless for a half-mile until the stream crossing.)
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby GregMiller » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:58 am

SilverLynx wrote:
farcedude wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:The Sawtooth is just a matter of patience. The gully is the ONLY scary part, and it's over quickly. Mind you, I had no idea what the heck I was doing when I did it. Just mind your footing. And please, stay out of the Willows on your descent if you can help it. Unless of course you like having your feet sink 1-2 feet into the murky water and mud, and you enjoy getting sexually assaulted by willow bushes and pine trees.

Oh and for the record, the Sawtooth Ridge was during my second 14er. It's not the best "start" but it's doable, assuming your friends like to hike other stuff already.


Just curious, what do you recommend for staying out of the willows? Try to cross over to the left (South), or swing right (North)? I tried the North side last time, and stayed decently dry until the last half mile.


It seemed like if we had stayed above the valley longer, we could have gone to the North and saved some time and effort. I'm not sure though.


The problem is you're adding that much distance, and you still have to cross where the bog flows out towards Georgetown.

Anyone have any luck cutting left/South and staying dry?
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby metalmountain » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:54 am

farcedude wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:The Sawtooth is just a matter of patience. The gully is the ONLY scary part, and it's over quickly. Mind you, I had no idea what the heck I was doing when I did it. Just mind your footing. And please, stay out of the Willows on your descent if you can help it. Unless of course you like having your feet sink 1-2 feet into the murky water and mud, and you enjoy getting sexually assaulted by willow bushes and pine trees.

Oh and for the record, the Sawtooth Ridge was during my second 14er. It's not the best "start" but it's doable, assuming your friends like to hike other stuff already.


Just curious, what do you recommend for staying out of the willows? Try to cross over to the left (South), or swing right (North)? I tried the North side last time, and stayed decently dry until the last half mile.



If you search around in the forums there has been discussions on how to do just this. I can't remember off the top of my head though how it would work.
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby kushrocks » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Just my opinion I would do Evans first.

The willows suck but I didnt think they were too bad as long as you watch your step you can step on mostly dry ground. The earlier you do them the less water there will be there from snowmelt. Marie123 and I did the sawtooth two weeks ago and it was a blast. We did Evans first and then came back and took the sawtooth up Bierstadt which in my opinion is definitly the way to go. This way you get the willows out of the way first while getting some great morning views of the sawtooth. Also, the rock as you climb up towards Bierstad is a blast for climbing and scrambling, you can keep it at 2+ or even go as high as low 5 if you you get a little adventurous. Its firm and dry and that was two weeks ago. If you do Bierstadt first you then have to decend the good rock and climb up scree (sucks) at the other end of the sawtooth and then Evans is still a good distance away making for a long afternoon. A lot of it depends on your friends fitness level but doing Evans first would also be a good test for this. If they are wiped out after Evans before you get to the sawtooth you know thats a no go but if you do Bierstadt first which is a lot quicker and they bonk on the Sawtooth or just after then you have a long miserable descent. I hope this helps.
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby scalba123 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:51 pm

There are a couple clips on YouTube regarding the Sawtooth. I would suggest viewing them and then judge for yourself.

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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:19 pm

Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby bpko » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:24 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I'll weigh my options and figure something out. Might just climb Sherman, I've never done it and seems like a good one for people to start out.
Maybe, just once, someone will call me "Sir," without adding, "you're making a scene."

Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby lafutura » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:46 pm

we did the non-standard route of evans last weekend (the one from the bierstadt trailhead). no question the mud and willows were a rite of passage - i managed to come back with a lot of scratches, though did come back with both of my boots, thankfully. anyway, it's not a horrible climb for a first timer, and you guys could always look at sawtooth from there. i enjoyed the climb. i have to say i have now seen sawtooth from both sides and while i felt like i would have had it in me energy-wise to tackle it from evans, it is just too visually intimidating for me. that said, i'm still considering myself lucky to be alive as my first 14er was an off-trail southwest climb of quandary (don't ask).

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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby unclegar » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:47 pm

Came back from Evans to Guanella Pass last week using the willowLESS route and barely got my shoes muddy. The trail was worse than the willows. This route also avoids the gully and uses a trail instead. PM me and I will send the gps track. I don't see a way to add it here.
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby HikerGuy » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:57 pm

unclegar wrote:Came back from Evans to Guanella Pass last week using the willowLESS route and barely got my shoes muddy. The trail was worse than the willows. This route also avoids the gully and uses a trail instead. PM me and I will send the gps track. I don't see a way to add it here.


http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5221&cpgm=tripmain

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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby bpko » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:38 pm

Ended up taking my friends up Sherman. The climb was great, everyone did amazingly well, and was nice having four dogs accompanying us (3 of the 4 were also first-timers to 14ers). The only snag we hit was the vague trailhead directions in my CMC 14ers guidebook. We couldn't find the "ghost town" of Leavick that it talked about, and we misinterpreted a private property sign. Other than that, a great adventure!
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Re: First-timers on the Sawtooth

Postby wildlobo71 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:48 pm

bpko wrote:Ended up taking my friends up Sherman. The climb was great, everyone did amazingly well, and was nice having four dogs accompanying us (3 of the 4 were also first-timers to 14ers). The only snag we hit was the vague trailhead directions in my CMC 14ers guidebook. We couldn't find the "ghost town" of Leavick that it talked about, and we misinterpreted a private property sign. Other than that, a great adventure!


Leavick is the big ruin of the mining building up four mile creek... the town was all about the mine, so if you were at the mine, you were at the town.

Good job on the mountain!
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