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Saddle Pass (Unofficial)

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:49 pm
by alpinemike
TITLE: Saddle Pass (Unofficial)

GENERAL OVERVIEW: This pass leads from Upper Saddle Lake over the Saddle Mountain ridge and then South towards Lake Thomas Edison. There used to be a trail that went up this but it has long since been maintained. Bits of it are found up high.


LOCATION: Just inside the John Muir Wilderness Boundary directly to the East of Saddle Mountain. HST Map


USGS TOPO MAP (7.5'): Sharktooth Peak

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: Both sides of this pass are very straightforward. The North features a sandy slog in many spots along with some minor talus and scree at the very top. From Fern Lake you just follow the drainage up. We did it at the end of the season so we literally walked up the dry creek but staying to either side of it features large boulders that are stable. We passed by on the West side of Lower Saddle Lake and the East Side of Upper Saddle Lake. There are use trails that you'll encounter during many of the steep sandy uphills between the lakes. They are likely to help out since the footing is a bit more established than straight in the sand.

The South of the pass also features some sand and a use trail that eventually peters out. Point yourself downhill and you'll get down one way or another. The terrain turns into a forest very quickly with plenty of brush along any drainage. There really is no perfect way or down this side. Ie.. just pick the way of least resistance and follows the shallowest gradient. Eventually you will reach an old fire road and will merge into the old 4WD dirt road to the Onion Spring Campground/Trailhead. It's a long ways down so be prepared for some sore legs and feet especially on the uneven nature of forested terrain. Also be warned that going down or up the South side of this pass will likely put you through a burn area that burned in 2016. Naturally obstacles and dangers exist with this terrain so exercise caution.