Saturday, August 3, 2013

Alice-Toxaway Loop and Snowyside Peak

A classic, although crowded 2 day loop in the Sawtooth Range with the added bonus of Snowyside Peak.

Date: August 1-2, 2013.

Partners: Deez.

Stats: Approx 22 miles. Elevation Gain not calculated. Snowyside Peak 10,651, class 3.

We set out from the Tin Cup hiker trailhead for a luxurious 3 day and 2 night tour of the Sawtooths.

McDonald Peak above Pettit Lake.
The trail along Pettit Lake is very scenic, if not a little crowded. Day hikers and Backpackers alike utilize this trail.

Deez on the trail.

Creek crossing.

We set our sights on Alice Lake for the first nights camp site. We were treated to a little thunder and a bit of rain on the way in.

El Capitan on the right.
This might be the most popular loop in the Sawtooth Range, and for good reason. Classic Sawtooth scenery. If you get tired of expansive views, jagged peaks and high alpine lakes, then this loop is definitely not for you.

Looking down the valley.

El Capitan over Alice Lake.


Alice Lake.

Snowyside Peak.
After finding a nice quiet camp site off the trail to enjoy our evening Deez fished for a bit, but no luck. We planned to do Snowyside Peak from Snowyside pass the next morning.

Snowyside Peak over Alice Lake.
The next morning was sunny and warm. We expected a long day, so we had to get going.

Morning reflection on Alice Lake.

Morning at the lake.
We set out on the trail past Twin Lakes, which is another fine spot to camp. You get a good head on view of Snowyside Peak and the pass from low on the trail.

Snowyside Peak.

Jagged Sawtooth Mountain Ridge.

Snowyside from the pass.
Alas, we made it to the pass and had a nice break while we took in the views. The plan was for a quick ascent of Snowyside.

At the pass.

Twin Lakes and Alice Lake.

Castle Peak,
Deez wasn't feeling up for the climb so she grabbed a spot of shade and rested.

Heading up.
Soon after starting up the peak, it became apparent that it was going to be more difficult then I anticipated. I left my pack at the pass which meant I was without water as the day heated up.

Heading up.
The route went right through several goat beds. Lots of poop, even more fur, but no-go on the goats.

 It was a fun and not too loose scramble up to the ridge. Enjoyable but hot.

Looking south.

Heading to the summit.
 The summit ridge had a few minor points to get up and over.

On the summit ridge.

Summit block.

The summit block is guarded by a mean looking 30 foot headwall. The scramble was class 3, but I could imagine how one might find it difficult.

After the headwall, its an easy stroll to the highpoint.


Summit view.
The day was hot but the views were cool. I really wish I had some water.

Summit view.

USGS marker.

I dug up the register and signed in. It was cool to see the names of friends and acquaintances in the log.

Summit view,
Snowyside Peak, at 10,651 feet above sea level is the fifth highest peak in the Sawtooth Range.

Leaving the summit.
I tried to hurry back to the pass so Deez wouldn't be alone for too long. I was a little worried that she could be developing AMS.

North from the pass.
I rejoined Deez at the saddle after a little over 2 hours. We headed down the north side of the pass in search of a camp site at the very popular and crowded Toxaway Lake.

Heading down the trail.

View from the trail.

Toxaway Lake.
I tried to find a cool campsite that I'd used before, but no luck on that.

Camp at Toxaway Lake.
We found an okay spot on the north side, a ways off the trail.

Snowyside Peak from camp.
We settled in for a pleasant evening with dinner, drinks, cards and music.
I don't remember which games we played; only that Deez won all of them.


Morning reflection at Toxaway.
The next morning was getting warm a little too early for our taste, but we weren't in any kind of a hurry.

Morning reflection at Toxaway.

Toxaway Lake.
There were a lot of people out on this section of trail. We had maybe 7 miles to cover, so we took it nice and easy.

Hiking out.
There is one hill that needed to be ascended between Yellow Belly Lake and Pettit Lake on the way out; it's no ones favorite part. After that, Pettit lake came into view and we were pretty much home free.

Pettit Lake.
Deez had rocked her first big backpacking loop. From here out, we vowed to try to do one every year.

U shaped glacial valley.
We decided to do another big loop by driving over Galena Pass and though Hailey on the way out. Actually, it wasn't so much to drive a big loop as it was to return my impromptu sleeping bag/comforter purchase at Albertsons a couple weeks ago.  

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