Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

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DiamondEyedJack
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Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:19 pm

Does anyone have any information about the trail up from Owens Valley to Sawmill Pass? Like creek crossing depths and the beginning elevations of snowfields per the various aspects? What about Woods Lake?

thank you!








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maverick
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:31 pm

Hi DiamondEyedJack,

Welcome to HST!
A couple of HST members going to the Meet-up used Sawmill as their entry point, they will have some up to date info early next week. Creek crossings will not be an issue, as they are on the Taboose Pass Trail.
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:34 pm

Thanks. I'm going up there tomorrow (Friday) for a few days. I will post an update when I get back on Tuesday.

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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:55 pm

You will probably have a little snow, but nothing requiring special equipment. Sawmill Meadow will be great. :nod:
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:00 pm

I was thinking of doing a long day hike, starting from Woods Lake, over Pinchot Pass, to Marjorie and Bench Lake, and back, in one day. I'll bring crampons and ice axe for that little side trip, just in case.

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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:02 pm

I see a nice and early start up Sawmill in your future. :)
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:46 am

Sawmill Pass had 2 little snowfields on the way up from Owens Valley, a little ways up from Sawmill Lake. They were easy to traverse.

There were more snowfields up towards Pinchot Pass, above Twin Lakes. These were also pretty easy. The uppermost snowfield was steep but it was very short and had a good boot track in it.

Depending on your comfort level, bring trekking poles for traversing these, but they could seriously be walked up with just your boots.

The mosquitoes were pretty horrible, especially around Woods Lake and the upper Woods Creek basin.

As of July 30.
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by Jimr » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:57 am

What time did you start up Sawmill? Also, how far did you get on your day hike to Bench? Seems like a long, long day. The trail from Woods Lake area down to the JMT is quite beautiful, but tends to disappear here and there requiring some recon in several placed to re-connect with trail. How much time did you spend working down that area?
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:38 am

I started Friday about 2:00pm, with 3.5 L of water, as it was warm and sunny and there is no shade or water for a few miles. I camped near Sawmill Meadow; there are some existing campsites there, just as you enter it there is a short ridge to your right, climb up about 30' and they become evident.

I'm paranoid of mountain lions, and at that 7000'-9000' elevation I would say it is definitely cougar territory, so I surround my perimeter with sticks and branches as a makeshift alarm, should they try to sneak up on me they might snap a twig, and I try to keep my back to the bushes and rocks, facing the open, and always try to stay aware of my surroundings, looking around every so often. I've had an encounter with a curious mountain lion before, camping alone at night, and it was scary. They aren't as rare as you think! I bring an ice axe and big fixed blade knife and powerful headlight when backpacking solo below 9000'. An ice axe is heavy but I sleep better at night.

Next day I went over the pass and down into Woods Lake basin and set up a campsite. I downloaded a GPS track onto my Garmin, of the entire Sawmill Pass side trail, from JMT junction to the TH, so I didn't get too lost. But the trail is still there, and I contributed a dozen new ducks to help out wayward travelers especially in the more marshy parts where the trail disappears altogether.
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Re: Sawmill Pass and Woods Lake conditions?

Post by DiamondEyedJack » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:45 am

Didn't make it to Bench Lake. By the time I got to Pinchot Pass, I had already hiked from 13 miles from Woods Lake to the JMT, down to suspension bridge, back up to Pinchot, and still needed to hike another 6 miles back to my camp at Woods Lake. It was a 19 mile day. I wish I could have done it, it looked so close, but I was out of gas :(
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