Distance: 12.5 miles
Elevation gain: 3600'
Class (difficulty): 5.3
Time: 12 hours
John Platt (splattski) knew I was interested in an easy rock climbing trip and contacted me about possibly joining his family at Sawtooth Lake for a shot a Mount Regan. I accepted the offer, but could not backpack in with John. So on Saturday he and his family backpacked in a ascended Alpine Peak. Once back at camp John even scrambled to near the start of the rock climb to ensure we could access the route. The stage was set for my arrival on Sunday morning.
On Sunday I headed out from the Iron Creek Trailhead at 7am. The views of the smoke filled Sawtooth Valley were impressive on the way in, but the reflections in the calm Sawtooth Lake were unbelievable. After snapping shots of the lake and surrounding peaks, I arrived at Camp Platt just before 10am as John had suggested. We were headed up to climb the 5.3 rated north ridge. After a quick break we headed up the class 2/3 slopes of Regan. It was sweltering, but eventually we reached the north ridge after some tricky climbing on a snow field and steep section of rock just before the saddle on the ridge. After a quick survey of the terrain, we decided to rope up immediately. We did 3 pitches of climbing to reach a notch in the ridge mentioned in Tom Lopez's route description. We had 2 ropes, so John rappelled down into the notch to check things out. John thought it would be tricky to get out of the notch and even trickier getting back down into it on the return climb. I hinted it might be time to call it a day, which John agreed with. So John climbed back up the rope and we down climbed back to the ridge (very tricky for this newbie rock climber).
Once at the saddle we realized we had neglected our thirst while trying to push for the summit. We drank all we had left at the saddle after stripping out of our rock gear and rock shoes. We then scrambled back down to camp and tried getting some fluids down while breaking down camp and eating a big bag of pepperoni slices. We would require 2 more water stops on the way out before finally finishing the hike out. Very cool day in the mountains with great company and the most technical terrain I have seen to date.
From the Iron Creek Trailhead, hike to Sawtooth Lake. When you reach Sawtooth Lake, make your way to the southern end of the lake.
From the southern end of the lake, work your way up towards the prominent saddle on the north ridge. We pretty much stayed just right of Regan's northside snowfields shown on the quad map.
From Stanley, drive 4 miles north to the Iron Creek road. After a couple miles, the road reaches the developed Iron Creek transfer camp, where parking and information is available.