Lake George

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sawtooth #1 (3877') and Sawtooth #2 (3820') - High Peaks Wilderness Area - 12/12/15

Sawtooth #'s 1 and 2 are a formidable pair of peaks on the ADK Hundred Highest list.   They are a long haul from anywhere.  Perhaps that is why I saved them until now.  On 12/5 I set out with a plan to climb Sawtooth #2, but turned back at 9:45 AM when I was already soaked from bushwhacking through trees laden with wet snow.  I was about 1.5 miles from the summit, but knew that I would be pushing it to get out by dark.

This past Saturday, 12/12 was warm, and all the snow was gone.  The trees were dry, and I decided to head for Sawtooth #1.  This time I started from the Averyville trailhead at 5:10 AM with my headlamp on.  I decided I'd rather bushwhack with a headlamp at the beginning of the day when I was fresh, rather than at the end of the day when I was tired.  I felt good when I started out and I was traveling much better than the previous Saturday.

At 6:45, I was able to turn off the headlamp.  It looked like the best way to climb Saw #1 would be to climb the long ridgeline.  This would be the most consistent grade ascent and perhaps I could avoid any cliffs.  I knew that I might have to sideslip the actual ridgeline if the tree density was too great.  This proved to be the case, and moving along the sidehill just below the ridge proved to be a good plan.

A first view of Sawtooth #1 

Sawtooth #1
I was quite pleased that I was able to avoid any significant obstacles.  At 10 AM I stood on the top of Sawtooth #1.  It was quite foggy and there was no visibility.  I hadn't expected to arrive so early so I contemplated my next move.  I felt really good so I decided to push for Saw #2.  If it wasn't working out, or if I starting feeling tired, I would just give it up and drop down.

I had heard that the best way to go from one to the other was to drop down a bit into the ravine and not take the high line between the two, so that is what I did.  

Sign on Sawtooth #1

Just a little snow on the summit

On this day where everything seemed to go right, my only bad decision was to start up Saw #2 too soon.  I should have proceeded NW a little further before heading for the summit.  I ran into some thick trees that could have been avoided.

In any case, after 2 hours, I stood on Sawtooth #2.  It was noontime and the sun had come out. Sawtooth  #2 has a fantasic viewpoint.  I was so glad I climbed Saw #1 first while it was foggy and I was glad I continued on to Saw #2 on this day.  

Looking towards Lake Placid 

Looking East to Sawtooth #1
Looking South to Seymour and Seward 

MacNaughton in the back left?, and Seymour on the right.

Seward Mountain

Seymour and Seward

Seymour Mountain

Seward Mountain

Rev on Sawtooth #2

Zoom view towards Lake Placid.  

 I was pretty certain that I would be hiking out by headlamp but I chose a better line going down off of Sawtooth #2.  Once I got to the primary drainage between Saw #1 and 2, I followed that for a ways (avoiding beavertown on my right).  This is a large area with multiple beaver dams that I had noticed on Google Earth.  I notated it on my map so I would avoid it.

Eventually I hit an old woods road after I passed Sawtooth #20 on my right.  I followed the old woods road and it took me all the way back to the big beaver pond located just off Pine Pond Road. This saved me some time and I was able to get back to the Averyville parking lot at 4:25, just as the sun had gone down.

I was so psyched to be able to reach both of these peaks in the same day and to have had a relatively good route most of the time.  This placed me at 100/102 on the hundred highest list with just Sawtooth #5 and Avalanche Mountain left.  With the warm weather expected to continue, I already had plans to head for Sawtooth #5 on Sunday.

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  14.1 miles
Hike Time:  11 hours, 15 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~3500'       

The route (hiked clockwise)


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