Friday, July 20, 2012

Mt. Regan, Sawtooth Range, ID

Mt. Regan
Class 4 exposed scramble
Elevation gain: 4200 ft
Distance: 13 miles roundtrip
Route: Southeast Ridge

On Tuesday morning, I soloed Borah Peak in 4 hours, and made the 2 hour drive to Stanley, Idaho- the gateway to the Sawtooth mountains. I stopped at the local climbing shop, asked around for a cool place to hike in to. I was referred to Sawtooth Lake.

Next I went to the ranger station, south of town and bought a topo map of the Sawtooth Wilderness, found Sawtooth Lake and naturally looked for nearby peaks. I was in luck, Mt. Regan at 10,190 ft, is one of the highest peaks in the range and is right next to Sawtooth Lake. I chose the Southeast Ridge route, which is a class 4 scramble (no belay necessary....barely).

I started at the Iron Creek Trailhead Tuesday afternoon with my overnight gear and headed up to the base of Mt. Regan. I passed Alpine Lake and arrived at Sawtooth Lake in about 2 hours. What a beautiful lake and location. The north face of Mt. Regan looked very intimidating with lots of snow and steep ridges.

Mt. Regan north face

I traversed along Sawtooth Lake to the south and dropped into the next drainage and camped at Lake 8271 on the east side of Mt. Regan. I set up camp and got to bed early.

At 7 am I left my camp and scrambled up onto the ridge. Once on the ridge, I just followed the easiest path up the ridge until the summit wall. I reached the summit wall in an hour. There is no walk-up from the summit wall.  I moved right (east) into the crack system and scrambled/climbed onto an exposed ledge. The ledge itself is actually an intrusive mafic dike (black in color) within the surrounding granite (white/gray) and forms a nice walkway along the eastern face of Mt Regan. Follow this ledge up and down until you come to an obvious gully on the northeast side of the mountain. The gulley was a bit sketchy with loose rocks and scree underfoot, just be careful and move on up 150 ft to the summit. I reached the summit at 8:30 am.

The Sawtooths are unbelievable. The range reminds me of the North Cascades, with less trees and no glaciers. There are peaks everywhere, calling your name. If you really want to experience the Sawtooths, give yourself more than 24 hours :)