TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

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TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

Postby LonePine » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:06 pm

I want to pass along my experience on this trip that was just concluded. I won't be posting pictures just yet but I think the information is best to get out there for others to consider. By the way, the weather was more consistent of early September than the end of the month. Temps never below 40 degrees or much above 80 in the desert sections but there was some cloud cover and that helped.

I originally had planned to go up Sawmill Pass but on my first day out I could see no water and it was already hot even at 7:30 AM. The rangers could not say if water was available. I figured there must be water at Sawmill Lake but that would require me to carry too much water to reach that level so I drove to Taboose Pass just to make a judgement about starting at that location. By the time I got to the TH it was after 11 AM but I could hear water in the creek. The next day I started up at 7:30 AM and it was already warm. I got to about 9200 feet and found a campsite with water. I was pretty exhausted so rather that continue to 9600 feet where I had planned to stay I opted for the lower elevation.

Some background: I'm not a mountain goat - just an old goat! I was carrying 50 lbs of gear (plus water) just in case the weather changed.

About 4:30 PM the smoke was coming over Taboose Pass and drifting down into the canyon. Not bad but just unpleasant. The next morning it was gone so I continued over the pass and down into the Kings River basin. I decided to stop about 4 PM when I found a nice water source coming from the outlet of lake 11388. The smoke was again coming up the canyon and was enough for me to stop and camp. Upper Basin was particularly hard hit with smoke. By the next morning it was gone again.

I continued over Pinchot Pass and camped next to a lake above Twin Lakes. No smoke this time. All this time I only ran into maybe 6 people so the JMT'ers and PCT'ers where missing in action.

The next day I took the Sawmill Pass exit and from there until my exit at Sawmill TH I saw not one soul. The Woods Lake basin is quite beautiful and reminds me a little of Dusy Basin but with more trees and no people. I got over the pass and camped at the outlet of Sawmill Lake. The lake itself is low so you have to bolder hop to get water. It's really a beautiful spot.

The next day I loaded up with water not knowing what was available but did find flowing creek crossings at 8500 all the way down to 7100 feet so if you decide to go up from Sawmill TH you can at least count on that supply. The last part of the trail is maybe 2 miles of open desert. It's quite striking for it's change of scenery and desert colors.

Taboose Canyon and Sawmill Canyon are so different it's amazing. They're both fantastic but I thought on whole that Sawmill Canyon and the Woods Lake basin were special. The trail along Sawmill canyon must drop 3000 to 4000 feet literally straight down into a narrow gorge.

I did not see any smoke after I started up on the JMT towards Pinchot Pass. One old timer I met says he just puts on his mask and the smoke goes away. I like that attitude to not let a circumstance alter your plans.

Walt
Last edited by LonePine on Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass

Postby windknot » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:18 pm

Thanks for the report! This is a nice area. Glad you had a good trip.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass

Postby LonePine » Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:39 pm

Finally got my photos sorted out - here's a link:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128207392 ... 9060957400
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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

Postby deenad » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:13 pm

Wow! Thank you so much for the description and the photos! I live in Independence, and my goal for 2017 is to be fit enough to easily do Sawmill pass. My pal says it is a Native American sacred space. i have been so drawn to it... Thank you for the inspiration!
:)
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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

Postby sfarnsworth1 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:15 am

Great post. Want to do both of these passes. Your photos are simply awesome!
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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

Postby bbayley80 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:54 pm

WOW!
just stumbled on this report.
amazing photos. gorgeous.

quite the loop..
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Re: TR: Taboose Pass to Sawmill Pass 9/25 - 9/29

Postby Cross Country » Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:12 pm

Woods Lakes are very special and as you found out Taboose Pass although very difficult it surely is less difficult than Sawmill. Everything between the two are really good too but of course you know that.
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