Sawtooth Peak #1, Sirretta Peak
By: Jerry Keating, Nancy Keating, Walt Whisman
Fourteen persons, more of them veteran climbers than newcomers, participated in a pre-fall intro trip in the Southern Sierra. Barbara Reber and Henry Heusinkveld were among early arrivals Friday evening, and they discovered the planned meeting location, Chimney Creek Campground, was temporarily closed because of a bear problem. Showing resourcefulness, they found an excellent undeveloped site along the approach road to Chimney Creek and intercepted the leaders, as well as other latter arrivals, thus allowing everyone to get a good night's rest and to be ready to caravan Saturday morning to a parking area in front of the closed campground.
Sawtooth Pk. (7970') was climbed uneventfully Saturday morning via the Pacific Crest Trail and the pinyon-clad and sometimes steep slopes above a broad saddle (6260') on the main crest of the Sierra. This route involves 2,400 feet of gain in 4 in miles. Eleven climbers signed in while peering down Nine Mile Canyon and northward to the Kaweahs and the Whitney group.
Upon returning to the cars, we found that the Chimney Creek CG had reopened, but we opted instead to drive up to the Kern Plateau and spend the night at Troy Meadows CG, which is an hour closer to Sunday's objective. A large site ideally accommodated the entire group.
Sirretta (9977') was climbed Sunday morning by 12 persons from the end of the Mosquito Meadow road (8920'). The ascent, which took 2 1/2 hours, followed the heavily forested route described in the November/December 1994 issue of The Sierra Echo. The summit panorama was spectacular. It stretched from Mts. San Gorgonio and San Antonio on the south to Farewell Gap and the Whitney group on the north. On descent, we saved considerable distance and time by contouring to the north of Point 9860, then dropping directly northwestward through the forest to the trail used on the first part of the ascent. Although steeper than the trail, this variation also would work on the ascent. From the end of the road, hikers should proceed up the trail past the first watercourse, then turn upslope. With the variation used both ways, the gross gain for the climb, round trip, is about 1,500 feet and the round-trip distance is about six cross-country miles.
Delores Holladay, Edna Erspamer, Erich and Luella Fickle, and John Dodds were among the other seasoned hikers on the trip.
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