HST Community      Sawmill Pass - Colosseum Mountain

Sawmill Pass - Colosseum Mountain | High Sierra Topix  

Sawmill Pass - Colosseum Mountain

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Sawmill Pass - Colosseum Mountain

Postby wingding » Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:20 pm

I headed up the Sawmill Pass Trail at 5 am on Saturday and that was at
least an hour later than I should have started because the sun was
shining on me very quickly. The trailhead is only at 4,587' elevation. Those first few miles on a sandy trail with the sun beating down were no fun. Once I hit Sawmill Creek, the shady trail was really nice. The creek crossings were easy and Sawmill Meadow was beautiful, but not many flowers yet. I passed Mule Lake and went on to Sawmill Lake (10,000' elevation) to camp. Yesterday, Sunday, I day hiked over Sawmill Pass and then north over the suncups to a chute SSW of Colosseum that took me up to the gentle plateau about a 1/2 mile from the summit of Colosseum (12,450'). I headed over to the summit to enjoy the view. No one had been up there since Memorial Day Weekend. After enjoying the great views from the summit I headed back down to Sawmill Lake, packed up, and headed out. There was no way I was going to go out in the morning when the sun was beating down on those first few miles near the trailhead. I made it out at 8 pm and was in the shade all the way out - that sandy trail that I was swearing at on the way up was a pleasure to hike down - the sand made for a fast hike out.

My pictures:



Postby quentinc » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:00 pm

I've only been down Sawmill Pass -- I'd sure hate to hike up through the sand. I recall that the top of the trail was terrible too -- all crumbling rock and gravel. The snow probably actually made it more pleasant.
Beautiful pictures.
User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

Postby copeg » Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:30 am

Beautful pictures wingding.
User avatar
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Posts: 2009
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:25 pm
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:42 am

Nice pictures and a nice hike idea. Having just done a Woods Lakes story and I actually wanted to have done the Woods Lake tour from the east side, this was nice to see. It never occured to me to take on Colosseum, and now I wish I had. A nice story in pictures.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
Founding Member
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

Postby krudler » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:17 am

Fantastic pics, Kathy - like always! :nod:
"Krusty, you know Bette Midler?"
"Yeah we own a racehorse together - the Krudler!"
User avatar
Founding Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 6:51 pm
Location: Irvine, CA
Experience: N/A

Postby doug395 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:09 pm

Nice trip report Kathy and great pictures. The lakes breaking up with those aqua blue spots are just so cool. What bag did you end up taking?
User avatar
Founding Member
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:43 pm
Location: Orange County
Experience: N/A

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:27 pm

Beautiful area! I've only looked down Sawmill Pass (day trip from the JMT).
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison

User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

Postby madeintahoe » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:31 pm

Thank you Kathy for posting these!! What an incredible beautiful area! I love Sawmill Lake! ..WOW no snow at 10,000 feet...thats so awesome, it is really melting fast with this warm weather. I love those high barren plateau's.
I have to ask how do you compare Sawmill Pass with Shepherd Pass? & did you use your seedhouse tent? Curious on how you like it and if you had enough room in it?

Beautiful pictures, Thank you again :D
User avatar
Topix Expert
Posts: 467
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 9:58 am
Location: South Lake Tahoe, Meyers, CA.
Experience: N/A

Postby wingding » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:30 pm

Thanks everyone for checking out my pictures. It sure was beautiful up there.

Doyle - I checked out your report and pictures from your trip - very nice. I guess that area is just beautiful no matter which way you come from and with or without the snow.

Doug - I took the 10 degree bag, but I would have been fine with the 30 degree bag because it was warm at night.

MadeinTahoe - I brought the bivy with me for this trip because with my heavier sleeping bag, axe and crampons I was carrying enough weight already. I'll probably keep using the bivy for trips that are only one night. I did use the Seedhouse over Memorial Day Weekend to try it out. It worked great - we were in a crowded area in the San Gorgnio Wilderness, so having a private place to change my close and try to clean up was nice. This past weekend I has Sawmill Lake all to myself - so it was like having my own private lake.

The first 4 miles of the Sawmill Pass trail are tough on the way up - really sandy and hot - it gets sun first thing in the morning. With the Shepherd Pass Trail, you will be in the shade for a while if you start at 5 in the morning. After the first 4 miles, the Sawmill Pass Trail is really nice and shady; so they're about the same. You also have a bit of uphill on the way out on both of the trails. It took me eight hours to backpack to Sawmill Lake from the trailhead, which is 8 miles and a total of 5,700 feet gain (I went through 2 liters of water in the first 4 miles), but it only took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to hike out from Sawmill Lake - I was able to move really fast in that sand on the way out - no rocks to stumble on.

The snow was perfect in the morning when I went over Sawmill Pass and into the basin - just soft enough so that I didn't need my crampons going over the pass and just hard enough that I could walk on the top part of the snow-cups in the basin. By the time I got back down from Colosseum the snow cups were softer, but not so bad that post-holing was a big problem.

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: acugirl, hurricaniac and 2 guests