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Old 01-22-2019, 03:54 PM   #1
Neil
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Two Sawtooth winter bushwhacks to close out the Range for my friend Jean.

The Sawtooth Range is not all that well known. It was named after the two highest peaks that are side by side. Marshall named them Raker and Cutter for their resemblance to the types of saw teeth. We were interested in Sawtooths 7 and 8, which are higher than 4 and 5. This confusion stems from two different lists,which each use different col depths for inclusion criteria. Just to make it even more confusing ST’s 7 and 8 may also be called Sawtooth 1E and NE.


We (Jean, Marie-Josée AKA Oliver and Spike) parked at Averyville on a nippy morning and got a late start. I was still sick but much better than I had been for the 2 previous weeks during which I lay around the house losing fitness. We broke trail easily along the Pine Pond Road, across the beaver swamp and 800 feet up an old logging road that ends in a pile of rubbish that was once a camp. At this point the beauty surrounding us was overwhelming. Skies were blue and the very open woods were covered in snow. Every tiny hardwood branch was coated in white. We followed a sinuous route staying in open channels with easy trail breaking all the way to the foot of Saw-8’s summit cone.


I knew from past experience that 500-foot cone would slow us down,which it did. Swapping leads often it took us 55 minutes to go .25 miles. Now sweaty we didn'’t linger on top in the cold. I had done our route over 8 to 7 3 times previously (11 years ago in winter and two trips back to back in early summer. I thought I had the route hard-wired and only remembered open woods and easy travel. This was not to be. The plan was to descend 500 feet and traverse under the 8-7 ridge-line with its horrendous cripple-bush. It took us nearly an hour to descend and travel .15 miles. No one was having fun and I was feeling under the weather, with a sore throat and a burning in my chest. I was dreading the out and back and was more than happy with the group decision to turn around. It was 2:30-ish anyway.


The re-climb went quickly in our tracks and the return over the ridge back to the logging road was another dose of nirvana for us all. We got back to the car at 5, just before needing headlamps. It was above zero – just.


Fast forward seven days minus one hour and in colder temperatures we (Jean, Marie-Josée, Nathalie and myself) quickly tramped our way up to the end of the logging road. Following our hardened trail up ST-8 was easy. I was feeling much better and was at 90% of my force. We had learned from our previous experience and I had racked my brain all week trying to remember back through the years to my previous trips. So, 150 feet from 8 we split off from our track and followed a bearing down through open woods. We intersected the previous track and followed it for a short spell before deviating to its left down, down until we hit very open woods. Then, guided by my GPS, we paralleled the older track at this lower elevation and side-hilled our way into the 8-7 col. Easy-peasy, although the snow was deep and not very supportive.


From the col to 7 we had .58 miles to go and several hundreds of feet to ascend. This took us about 90 minutes of hard work climbing in deep snow intermixed with easier snow conditions and gentle slopes.

Once on top we didn’t stay long to celebrate Jean'’s closing out the 11 Sawtooths and while I waited briefly for the others I paced back and forth to keep warm. The return trip went quickly although the re-climb of 7 was a lot tougher than I expected. Then it was down, down, down to the Pine Pond Road with its 250 foot climb over Sugar Hill. Back at the car (total time 8h15m compared to 7h30m last week) we all froze the hell out of our hands getting out of our hiking gear and clothes. Then we drove home uneventfully eating Miss Vickey’s chips in light snow and increasing winds.


Good people, good times, good mountains. What a wonderful hobby.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:58 AM   #2
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I feel like I remember some significant blowdown on Saw 7. Was there enough snowpack to mostly obscure the blowdown and stay on top of it?
The summit of Saw 8 is very tight small-circumference matchstick woods. How did you all do with snow inevitably falling onto your backs?
That is one challenge with winter bushwhacking when fresh snow remains on the branches - the snow falling on your back and then feeling like you have a giant ice cube piggybacking on you, making you colder.

Nice job to Jean for completing all 11! That is such a wonderful expanse of wilderness. I wonder who the first to summit Saw 1 was?
Excellent TR
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:36 PM   #3
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The summit of Saw 8 is very tight small-circumference matchstick woods. How did you all do with snow inevitably falling onto your backs?
That is one challenge with winter bushwhacking when fresh snow remains on the branches - the snow falling on your back and then feeling like you have a giant ice cube piggybacking on you, making you colder.
I just suck it up. It's the only technique that works for me. If I'm cold I walk faster. One thing that I find extremely unpleasant, but luckily short-lived, is removing my pack to get something and putting it back on. Brrrr! Time to move!
No blowdown visible on, or leading to, 7.
By the way, the whack from 7 to 1 is one of my all-time favorites.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:55 PM   #4
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Do you just follow the ridge over Saw 1(East Pk) and continue to Saw 1? The front of Saw 1 (south slope) is Class 5. How's that ridge? I'd like to do that sometime since I've never been to Saw 1(East Pk).

Who is the first ADK HH completer? Was that person the first ascent of Saw 1?

Bonus question:
Which in your opinion is the toughest winter 'tooth: #3 or #10?
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:15 PM   #5
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I followed the ridge-line all the way and went right over the top of East Peak (ie. the one between 7 and 1). The entire hike car to car, over 8,7 and 1 only took 10 hours, so no issues. Between 7 and 1: open woods to the north, very thick to the south. The final ascent to the summit ridge of 1 was very steep. You could do East Peak from the col immediately to the west of 7. Easy bushwhack to that col from both sides.

In winter I would say both 10 and 3 are equally hard. 10 is a long whack but through easy terrain. 3 involves breaking trail (usually) down the old and new NPT's and then is a long, steep climb. You can do 3 from Upper Works or from Corys but I've always done it (and ten) from Averyville.

I have no idea who the first ADK-HH finisher is nor who was the 1st person climb Saw-1. Maybe Dennis Crispo knows.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:51 PM   #6
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:47 AM   #7
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I asked your Q. on FB and got this.
Quote:
Lee Barry and Jim Boomer climbed a variation of the ADK100s in 1972. Jim Heron was the first to have climbed what's considered to be the 'official' ADK100 list in 1975. His dog, Brassett, was finisher #2. Jim climbed the ADK46 and Catskill 35 over and over, including the winter. He refused to have his name on any list and was never recognized as a 46er or 35er.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:04 PM   #8
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Nice TR. Hardcore!
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Neil View Post
I asked your Q. on FB and got this.
Thanks Neil,
That is cool information. I like the historical aspect of climbing too like first ascents and information on ancient roads and settlements. All that stuff is really intriguing to me.
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