Stacy and I spent three days in the sawtooths, hiking and climbing. Our ultimate goal was a seldom climbed mountain: Warbonnet Peak 93 photos
August 18, 2019

Distance: 27 miles
Cumulative Elevation: 9048 feet

Sunday, August 18

7 PM

Stacy's Aunt and cousins accompanied us to Stanley, ID to take in the beautiful views.

The Ram Fam
18 Aug 2019 - 19:31

Family portrait at the incredible Sawtooth Meditation Chapel. Our goal: Warbonnet, nestled in the jagged peaks behind us.
Our first view of the Sawtooths
18 Aug 2019 - 19:43

The sun was setting

9 PM

Getting a beer in Stanley
18 Aug 2019 - 21:47

The town of Stanley has 64 residence. We were taking the next day to get our gear in order and finish our plan for the trip, so we took the night to have a beer and look at some route beta.

Monday, August 19

We took the next day to get our gear in order, find maps of the area, and do some final planing.

Boondocking in Stanley, ID
19 Aug 2019 - 21:26

Tuesday, August 20

10 AM

Beautiful views in Stanley
20 Aug 2019 - 10:30

This was just down the road from our campsite the night before

We got a late start due to a midnight mouse invasion of the van! They were eating our food!

11 AM

The start of our journey was a ferry boat that took us 6 miles across the lake. Skipping all of the front country trails, depositing us right into the heart of the Sawtooth range.

Waiting for the ferry
20 Aug 2019 - 11:52

Redfish lake is about 6 miles long. You can shave that distance off your trip by taking a ferry across the lake.
Beautiful dock to catch the ferry at
20 Aug 2019 - 11:52

Waiting at a front country marina to start our trip

12 PM

Ferry is a strong word for this boat
20 Aug 2019 - 12:06

Really it's a speed boat. But it was a very unique way to start a wilderness adventure.
Adam on the ferry
20 Aug 2019 - 12:06
The fastest 6 miles on the trip
20 Aug 2019 - 12:06
Approaching the mountains
20 Aug 2019 - 12:10

This really was an incredible way to start a trip, approaching the sever peaks of the Sawtooths by boat on a beautiful lake.
Starting on the trail
20 Aug 2019 - 12:34

Already the peaks along the trail were a cut above most trails
Stacy starting out on the trail
20 Aug 2019 - 12:38
Looking at the peaks along the trail
20 Aug 2019 - 12:52

1 PM

A gentle approach to our first objective: Super Slab, Regular Route It's an easy 5 pitch 5.6 romp, just to get our hands on the rock.

Duration: 0.9 hours
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1136 feet
Boardwalks over the soggy parts of the trail
20 Aug 2019 - 13:04
Looking up the climb
20 Aug 2019 - 13:38

5 pitches of easy climbing ahead of us

The first pitch was well within our comfort zone, so we solo'd up it to the start of what we'll call our Pitch 1

Stacy coming up "Pitch 0"
20 Aug 2019 - 13:41

We decided not to rope up for the first pitch. Just smeared our way up it and began belaying at the top.

2 PM

Pitch 1

Stacy coming up Pitch 1
20 Aug 2019 - 14:10
Some scrappy little plants clinging to the mountain side
20 Aug 2019 - 14:17

Pitch 2

Stacy leading up Pitch 2
20 Aug 2019 - 14:23

A weird lie back but with good protection.
Stacy resting and assessing her next moves
20 Aug 2019 - 14:25
Waiting at the belay
20 Aug 2019 - 14:41

Stacy was setting up her anchor at the top of the pitch.

Pitch 3

Great views from the top
20 Aug 2019 - 14:56

Looking back at Redfish lake where we had come from.
Adam working up Pitch 3
20 Aug 2019 - 14:59

3 PM

Good hands and friction
20 Aug 2019 - 15:01

Pitch 4

Top out selfie
20 Aug 2019 - 15:49

Redfish lake in the background
Stacy looking over at Elephants Perch
20 Aug 2019 - 15:51

5 PM

By 4:30pm we were back on trail. Still had some elevation to finish before we made camp for the night.

Duration: 1.7 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1800 feet
Working our way up the valley
20 Aug 2019 - 17:36

This was an incredible little meadow
Looking back at Elephants Perch
20 Aug 2019 - 17:40
Beautiful alpine meadow
20 Aug 2019 - 17:42

6 PM

The trail to Alpine Lake
20 Aug 2019 - 18:02

7 PM

Camp was by a pristine alpine lake. Spirits were high as we made camp and thought about tomorrow's upcoming slog.

Alpine Lake reflection
20 Aug 2019 - 19:54
Moment Lenses at Alpine Lake
20 Aug 2019 - 19:55

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Adam at Alpine Lake
20 Aug 2019 - 19:55
Mountains at sunset
20 Aug 2019 - 19:56
Adam cleaning his feet
20 Aug 2019 - 19:58

It had been a hot day. It felt amazing to wash our feet in the cold mountain water.
Dead wood at sunset
20 Aug 2019 - 19:59
Alpine Puff Ball
20 Aug 2019 - 19:59

8 PM

Camp, and nothing more
20 Aug 2019 - 20:01

We went very light weight since we had a lot of elevation to gain and ground to cover over three days. Thus we only had our sleeping bags, ground pads, and bivy sacks.
Adam starting the fire
20 Aug 2019 - 20:45
Camp fire at night
20 Aug 2019 - 20:50
Adam sitting by the fire as the evening light fades
20 Aug 2019 - 20:53

10 PM

We stayed up and tried to keep warm by sipping hot tea as I took some of the best astro-photography shots of my life.

Glowing embers of our camp fire
20 Aug 2019 - 22:04
Stars by fire light
20 Aug 2019 - 22:30

I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky here. Stanley is a dark sky preserve, and it lives up to the hype. It's the darkest most amazing night sky I have ever seen.
The milkyway over Alpine Lake
20 Aug 2019 - 22:39

I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky here. Stanley is a dark sky preserve, and it lives up to the hype. It's the darkest most amazing night sky I have ever seen.
Stars over our campsite
20 Aug 2019 - 22:44

I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky here. Stanley is a dark sky preserve, and it lives up to the hype. It's the darkest most amazing night sky I have ever seen.
Milkyway rise over the mountains
20 Aug 2019 - 22:49

I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky here. Stanley is a dark sky preserve, and it lives up to the hype. It's the darkest most amazing night sky I have ever seen.

Wednesday, August 21

8 AM

Morning fog over Alpine Lake
21 Aug 2019 - 08:50

10 AM

We got a leisurely start as we didn't have too many miles to go. But oh man did we underestimate those miles...

21 Aug 2019 - 10:26
Dead wood
21 Aug 2019 - 10:36
Dead log sprouting grass
21 Aug 2019 - 10:43

12 PM

The morning started with some gentle elevation gain.

Duration: 0.5 hours
Distance: 1 miles
Elevation Gain: 260 feet
Now go up that
21 Aug 2019 - 12:44

We had over 1,000 vertical feet to gain in less than half a mile. Up a boulder field, with rock fall all around us. I was not looking forward to it.
Adam working across the meadow toward the boulder field
21 Aug 2019 - 12:48

1 PM

Then we got to the meat of it. A nasty partly snow, partly boulder couloir. Lots of elevation gain in less than ideal conditions, with active rock fall.

Duration: 1.5 hours
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 858 feet
The last time they were seen happy
21 Aug 2019 - 13:04

Getting some food and water before starting the elevation gain
Snow patches still in the coulir in August
21 Aug 2019 - 13:41
Stacy looking happier than she felt
21 Aug 2019 - 13:45
Adam getting ready for the final push to the saddle
21 Aug 2019 - 13:46

2 PM

Adam hanging out at the top of the Saddle
21 Aug 2019 - 14:21
Looking back down the valleys and lakes we came up
21 Aug 2019 - 14:21
Top of the saddle
21 Aug 2019 - 14:22

Adam looking down at the valleys and lakes we'd come up over the past two days

Once finally up the couloir, we had to pick our way around to the valley we would be sleeping in that night. Finally descending to the valley floor.

Duration: 1.2 hours
Distance: 1 miles
Elevation Gain: 81 feet
The next saddle
21 Aug 2019 - 14:33

We were following a bad topo map (1:64,000) and came up just short of the valley we intended, so we needed to side hill a bit, and then climb some 3rd class rock to get over into the next valley, and onto our camp that night.
Looking down at Warbonnet lake
21 Aug 2019 - 14:42

Finally we'd reached the valley we intended. We just had to continue down it's length to get to our camp for the night.

3 PM

Adam working down the boulder field toward Warbonnet lake
21 Aug 2019 - 15:04
Stacy Descending the Boulder Field to Warbonnet Lake
21 Aug 2019 - 15:31

Up and down. Up and down. Repeat.
Boulder Field around Warbonnet Lake
21 Aug 2019 - 15:45

4 PM

Feather Lakes and the Sawtooths
21 Aug 2019 - 16:08

Between Warbonnet Lake & Bead Lakes there are a series of small lakes with cascading streams between them. These are known as the Feather Lakes.
An Alpine Flower
21 Aug 2019 - 16:12

The wildflowers were nearly done blooming, but this beauty greeted us on our way to Warbonnet Peak
Bead Lake and the Sawtooths
21 Aug 2019 - 16:23

All the lakes were crystal clear and the peaks are breathtaking

Down on the valley floor we were well into pristine wilderness. No trails or signs of people at all. We navigated our way through to our camp site for the night.

Duration: 1.6 hours
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 262 feet
Granite Ground Around our Camp
21 Aug 2019 - 16:36

Sloping hills of granite near Bead Lakes
Warbonnet Peak
21 Aug 2019 - 16:47

The peak in the center of the image is Warbonnet, our Prime Objective for the trip

7 PM

Adam chilling in camp
21 Aug 2019 - 19:49

Open bivy & gear ready to go. Alpine style.

Stacy setup camp and made dinner while Adam tried to get some water down and deal with some altitude sickness.

Our camp
21 Aug 2019 - 19:50

Adam straight chillin
Organizing Gear in Camp
21 Aug 2019 - 19:51

Rope & Stacy's harness ready to go!

8 PM

Posing while quite altitude sick
21 Aug 2019 - 20:37
Stacy's View from her Sleeping Bag
21 Aug 2019 - 20:38

There are benefits to an open bivy

We slept under the foreboding hulk of Warbonnet peak. A sheer granite spike shooting out of the ground at almost 9,000' elevation.

Thursday, August 22

4 AM

We had alarms set for 5:00am, but nature had other ideas. Around 4am it started raining on us. Our open bivy seeming like not such a good idea now.

The Face of Despair getting rained on at 4:30 AM
22 Aug 2019 - 04:33

Not the best way to wake up

6 AM

No one talking about the rain, we got up and began the final approach to the climb.

Duration: 1.1 hours
Distance: 1 miles
Elevation Gain: 1168 feet
Stacy & the Boulder Field
22 Aug 2019 - 06:21

~1000' of vertical gain through a boulder field before we could start the climb
Stacy & The Sawtooths
22 Aug 2019 - 06:34

Looking up at our objective
Adam Looking Up towards Warbonnet Peak
22 Aug 2019 - 06:41

It was only raining a little bit at this point.
Looking down the other side of the saddle from where we came up
22 Aug 2019 - 06:46

A chossy hill of choss
Adam tying in
22 Aug 2019 - 06:54

Getting ready to send

7 AM

Finally on route. The rain continued. At this elevation, and now above many of the other peaks, the wind was howling through the V slot we were belaying from.

Stacy at the top of the first pitch
22 Aug 2019 - 07:07

5.4 my butt. Am I off route??
Stacy belaying Adam Across a Ledge
22 Aug 2019 - 07:44

Is this tree on route? It's alpine-- it's all on route!

9 AM

Not many photos from these few hours. We battled with the route, the weather, the rock. Finally, hands numb, outer layers wetting through, our turn around time looming, we made the decision to descend. It's never an easy one, but we now had to hustle to make the last Ferry.

Looking out over the Sawtooths from Warbonnet Peak
22 Aug 2019 - 09:01

Just after sun up

12 PM

Now ensued what I think is one of our more impressive outdoor feats. On our 3rd grueling day in the backcountry. We had to get all the way out, over rough terrain, and a LOT of elevation gain and loss.

Duration: 2.8 hours
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1498 feet
Stacy Ascending the Scree Slope Above Warbonnet Lake
22 Aug 2019 - 12:03

Too many scree slopes.
Looking down to Baron Lakes
22 Aug 2019 - 12:20

Wait... what lake is that....? This is not where we should be!
Stacy Attempting to Glissade
22 Aug 2019 - 12:50

The snow was too lumpy and not quite steep enough to get a good slide going

We came over a different saddle than we came in on. Trying to find a better route. We failed. This slope was horribly unstable, just exhausting to descend.

1 PM

We had been up since 4am, and moving since 6am. So we took a few moments rest and cooled our feet in this incredible lake.

Adam Relaxing at Baron Lake
22 Aug 2019 - 13:49

A beautiful alpine lake and a great place for a short rest and snack break. We didn't mean to get to Baron Lake... but here we are. Might as well enjoy it!
Adam Dipping His feet in Baron Lake
22 Aug 2019 - 13:49

Soaking those tired toes
Baron Lake Shoreline
22 Aug 2019 - 13:56

Baron Lake is crystal clear and chilly. It was a nice respite to soak our feet after many hours on them with many to go.

2 PM

The couloir we had descended took us too low, so we had to climb back out of this valley, then begin our long decent back to the lake, and the ferry.

Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 1783 feet
Scree slope Above Baron Lake
22 Aug 2019 - 14:12

As we gained the pass and descended, the rocks and sand all slid with us. We were essentially scree skiing on the way down. Not fun.
Adam on the trail around Baron Lake
22 Aug 2019 - 14:58

The last flat section before we climbed up ~ 1000' of switchbacks to gain the pass above Baron Lake

5 PM

We caught the Ferry just MOMENTS before it left. And we ended up jogging the last 5 miles to get there in time. All told we covered about 13 miles, and 4,500' of elevation gain that day.

8 PM

Stacy's Dirty Legs
22 Aug 2019 - 20:17

The last five or so miles out were on some very dusty trails!