Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mineral King Loop

Route: Mineral King -> Glacier Pass -> Spring Lake -> Cyclamen Lake -> Columbine Lake -> Sawtooth Pass -> Sawtooth Peak -> Mineral King
Hiking Mineral King loop map
I need to check all my gear before High Sierra Trail, so decided to do this easy loop as 2 days hike.
Sawtooth peak on the left
There is a non maintained (old) trail on the left side of the valley, very easy to follow up to the Glacier Pass.
North side of Glacier Pass
There was still little bit of snow on the other side, but easy passable.
Spring Lake and route to Columbine Lake
I camped near Spring Lake, which was a right choice, slightly lower elevation, more beautiful, some trees around. I was worried about next part of the route, especially from Cyclamen to Columbine Lake. In Google Earth it looked way too steep, but turned out to be ok.
Cyclamen Lake and Spring Lake
Sawtooth Peak from Columbine Lake
At this point I reconnect with established trail again, easy going to Sawtooth Pass.
Sawtooth Peak from the Sawtooth Pass
One mile traverse to peak was slow and took 1:30 there and 1:00 back. Its quite sandy, last few blocks before the peak require some climbing, but not too bad. Here is views from the top:
Monarch Lakes from Sawtooth Peak

Columbine Lake from Sawtooth Peak

Sawtooth Pass from Sawtooth Peak

Going down was fast. Official trail goes way to the west, but looks like most of people just going straight down, sliding on sand, took me just 40 minutes to reach lower Monarch Lake and good trail from there back to the car. Marmots was generous enough not to eat my car during my absence.

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