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Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

October 2001 


Note:  clicking on any photograph will present a full screen version.

Sawtooth Ridge.  I drove down from Lake Tahoe on Friday afternoon, enjoying the beautiful fall colors down Highway 89 and US 395.  I made it to Bridgeport by 3:00pm, where I got my first view of the Sawtooth Ridge above Twin Lakes.  Matterhorn Peak is at far left.

Horse Creek Meadow.  After hiking for about 45 minutes from the trailhead at Twin Lakes, you reach this meadow at around 8,000'.  Above you loom the Matterhorn, the Dragtooth and the "Doodad".

Trail Junction.  Just above the meadow, you will reach a trail junction.  The "official" trail turns left and traverses across Crater Crest down to Twin Lakes.  Keep going straight here towards Horse Creek up a pretty good use trail.

Rockslide.  After the wilderness boundary, a huge rockslide comes down from the left, running into the willows that choke the creekbed.  The trail is tough to find in places through here, but the best trail hugs the line where the rocks meet the willows.

False Pass.  At around 8,600', the "trail" begins to climb in earnest.  There is a "false pass" (pictured here) that you must climb.  On the way up, I climbed up the talus to the left of the white buttress in the middle of the photo.  However, on the way down, I discovered a great switchbacking trail that comes up the steepish gully to the right of the buttress.  This is probably the most straightforward way to get up this part of the hike.


Approaching the Pass.   I left the car at Mono Village at around 3:30, thinking it would take me about three hours to gain the notch at Horse Creek Pass.  I had hoped to camp at a small tarn shown on the map at around 10,560'+.  As I slogged my way up the pass, I started to think I wasn't going to make it before dark.  The drainage just kept winding upwards.  This shot looks up to the pass (at right), with an 11,600' sentinel looming ominously above the pass.

Sunset.   I finally made it to the pass as it was getting dark.  Good for me, since there is really nowhere to camp high up on this side of the pass -- the ground is all just piles of rock, and the creek trickles underground.  A brilliant sunset put an end to the day.



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