Rugged Alpine Splendor in the High Sawtooth Range of Central Idaho

It's cold in the Sawtooths this evening. "It's so cold for late July," we all murmur like a mantra, remembering that it snowed on us last night, and hoping that the clear evening presages the return of warm sunshine weather to these high peaks.... The unnamed lake where we're camping is at the head of Alpine Creek. At 9,167 feet elevation, the lake's surface would be an amazing 3,000 feet above the timberline on Mt. Hood (Oregon).... Today we climbed 10,651 foot Snowyside Peak, watching mountain goats bounding from one impossible ledge to the next on a black rock buttress near the summit. In the sunset image above we are looking across the lake toward its outlet, and seeing toward the SE an unnamed set of peaks, the highest of which is 10,269 ft.

The Sawtooth Wilderness is a land of magnificent rock faces. Here is the truly imposing southwest face of an unnamed10,205 foot peak near Snowyside Peak...All the glacially carved basins nearby swarm with lakes and tarns, all full of crystalline water, and most without names... The beautiful body of water below is a good-sized, nameless mountain lake that is located just over a small ridge from our campsite lake. This other lake is a bit lower, at 9,050 feet, and offers a fine view of the southern side of Snowyside Peak (the reddish peak in the background). The only sign of human presence I saw at this trail-less lake was a still-operating Timex wristwatch with a much-faded band, left lonely on a granite slab high above the lake's west shoreline.

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