Sawtooth RS
Squaw Tit RS

Tue, Feb 13, 2018
Etymology
Sawtooth
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile

I was heading to the desert yet again, this time to the Las Vegas area, my first visit outside California this year. After driving more than seven hours from the Bay Area, I stopped off at Halloran Summit about 20mi past Baker, off I-15. There used to be businesses and home here but no more. Now just a dirt road entrance into the Mojave National Preserve. The two summits I was after are listed in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles, fairly short hikes. He describes the road leading to within a quarter mile of Sawtooth as "good" but it is anything but, unless one has high-clearance. I only managed about a quarter mile from the freeway exit before deciding to park and just make a longer walk of the two. This worked out nicely, taking me three hours to cover almost eight miles, getting me back at sunset. The weather was a bit chilly with a cold wind and lots of clouds - unusual for the desert. I couldn't stay long on the summits, but while I was moving I was able to keep warm in just a tshirt. The end of the day made for a very chilled shower since the water didn't have much time to warm on the dash and there was very little sun to be had.

I followed the road towards Sawtooth on foot, eventually choosing to leave it when I realized the ground on either side was much firmer than the sandy road I was following. Sawtooth was the nearer and far more interesting of the two summits. It features a cool window through the rock and some good class 3+ scrambling on surprisingly good rock. I went up the short East Arete, steep but solid, to reach the top. I left a register since it was lacking one. To descend, I first went through the window from the east side before descending the west side. Once can climb to the summit via the window from either the east or west, the west definitely the spicier of the two - I took my time with the foot and hand placements until I was on solid ground below. After descending, I headed west to Squaw Tit about a mile and a half in that direction. The non-PC name is left over from a bygone era, interestingly, across the freeway from another non-PC summit on the other side, Negro Head. Squaw Tit looks more like a mini volcano than a breast, class 2 from any direction and not all that interesting. I left another register here, well, because. It was three miles as the crow flies from Squaw Tit back to the van. The topo map shows a 4WD road heading in roughly the same direction I traveled, but if it still exists I saw no sign of it. The cross-country travel wasn't wide-open, but not bad either, just requiring one to pay attention while weaving around vegetated obstacles and watching out for the occasional cactus. I was treated to a lovely sunset at the end of my walk, in way of compensation for the temperature dropping into the 40s. On to Las Vegas, Baby!

Continued...


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