By: Don Martin
Steve Thaw and I left Monarch Lake( a two hour climb from the trailhead at Mineral King ) and climbed Sawtooth mountain, then we headed east from the top of Sawtooth towards Needham. It was class 2-3, sand. boulders, scree. Going uphill in sand was a case of two steps forward, one step backward. After gaining the base of Needham, we enjoyed climbing stable, solid boulders to the top. There we found the register and enjoyed a great view of the Kaweahs. Whitney Range. Triple Divide. This peak had very few visitors in the last year, despite the great views and the possibility of doing it as a day hike from Mineral King trailhead.
We were able to downclimb Needham very fast by using the sand to plunge-step glissade to the bottom. After walking to the base of Sawtooth we found that the lower part of Sawtooth is a class five overhead climb out of a bowl area. We had no rope or pro, so we climbed about two-thirds of the way from the bottom of Sawtooth and then traversed to the ridge to get to a third class opening that allowed us to head west back to Monarch Lake.
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