Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sawteeth - 2/8/13

As a snow storm was arriving today, I snuck out to hike Sawteeth in the High Peaks Wilderness before the brunt of the storm came in.  There was an inch of new snow on the ground as I left the house.  I parked at the Giant Mountain Roaring Brook Trailhead to be sure I could get back onto the road in case it started snowing hard.

Kiosk and trail register at the AMR Gatehouse

I left the car at 7:15 and signed in at the AMR gatehouse at 7:30. There was now about 4" of new snow on the lake road. I reached the end of the lake road at 8:30 and started up the Weld Trail.  This was my first time on this trail, and I thought it was quite nice.  In my 2 other times on Sawteeth, I had come from the Garden via the Ore Bed trail because I had my dog with me, and dogs aren't allowed on the AMR property.  

Lots of sign pictures today because there wasn't much else to photograph

It took me an hour and 15 minutes to climb the 1.7 mile long Weld trail.  The new snow depth was increasing and by the time I got to the top of the Weld Trail in the col between Sawteeth and Pyramid, there was 8 inches of new snow.

The dam at Lower Ausable Lake


Looking towards the lake from the dam


This looks impressive.  I'll have to see it in the summertime
The sign at the Sawteeth/Pyramid Col
From the col, it is only .5 miles to the summit of Sawteeth, but it took me 35 minutes to climb.  The fresh unconsolidated snow was just deep enough that the claws on my snowshoes couldn't quite get the grip that they needed, and I was sliding back a step for every two I took.
Looking towards Pyramid from the shoulder of Sawteeth

When I reached the summit I noted that it had taken 3 hours, 20 minutes.  I was hoping for under 3 hours, but I knew the descent would be fast and I'd make up some time.  Not much to see on this snowy day.  Still the woods were quiet and beautiful.  I didn't see another hiker all day.


Not much to see
As I began to make my way back down, I was pretty much snowshoe surfing, with a few unintended butt slides added.  All the loose snow made it a tricky affair.  It became even more tricky as I got down lower and the new snow depth was 4-5 inches.  The problem was, there wasn't much of a base below the fresh snow.  I'd be sliding away and then my snowshoe would hit a rock or a root.
I finally caught a good one.  Right near the steep cliff drop off by the waterfall.  I was on the trail about 15 feet from the edge of the cliff at that point and I caught my snowshoe on a root.  I went flying forward like superman.  I hit the ground with my knees and forearms and slid about 20' down the trail.  My glasses were totally covered in snow.  Fortunately, my slide didn't take my any closer to the cliff.

Near the summit of Sawteeth
After that mishap, I was a little more careful and managed to get back to the Lake Road without further incident.  I was on the Lake Road one hour after leaving the summit.
I began the 4 mile walk back to the car, walking in my half filled snowshoe tracks from the way in.  I was just thinking that my tracks might be the only ones on the road when I saw a young couple skiing towards me at mile 3.  What was interesting was that the man was pulling a baby stroller sleigh.  They had 2 small kids in the stroller.  I wonder how they kept the kids warm in the stroller when they are just sitting there for 2-3 hours not moving in 15 degree weather.  I'd be cold!  The couple was almost to the lake where they would turn around and ski out.  They didn't catch up to me and I didn't catch up to me and I didn't see them again.
When I signed out at the register, I saw that somebody named Jake had signed in heading for Gothics.  I hope he made it safely.
It was a nice day out but I was surprised by the 8 inches of new snow on Sawteeth.  Hiking this weekend after the snow stops may be a challenge. 
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance: 12.5 miles round trip from car
Hike Time:  5 hrs, 35 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 3300'
My route for the day (Click image to enlarge)

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