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Sawtooth Peak First Ascent
I have made up a "Topo/Image Map", with the GPS track route traced onto a topo map.

Click - 'Black star' to veiw photo taken from that approx. location.

    It was while venturing up an abandoned logging road around the headwaters of Toquart River on my way to climb Mt Hall, that I first took notice of this un-named and possibly un-climbed peak connecting Triple peaks South Ridge. I was looking at the peaks South face, it being a 300m rock face, "that being out of my league", but there was a prominent gully south of the big face starting up from a scree slope heading west which looked steep but possible. It was not a very promising lead so it was not high on my priority list. A month later Barry Lewis, Randy Church and myself were again hiking up the same road, but this time we were on our way to attempt a first ascent of a peak north of Mt Hall which was locally known as Toquart Peak. From that summit I now got a good look at the backside of the un-named peaks col between Triple Peak. The draw coming down from the col looked open and more than feasible as a route up. Now that I had seen a good possibilities of reaching the summit I now had placed it higher on my to do list.


    

    Sept 26 the weather was forecasted to be hot and sunny, this was the day Randy and myself were going to attempt a first ascent up this un-named peak. The night before on my computer I made up a topo map with an approximate route marked in. I also recorded the same route into my GPS, this way I could compare the two to be able to see our exact location at any given time. This route was to be used as a general guide to point us in the right direction. Once in the timber I knew the route would change slightly as I could not foresee the rock bluffs and ravines filled with Devils Club.

    Yawnnnnnnn……. 5:00am Randy pulled down the driveway, I quickly scoop up my pack and with my coffee mug in hand we piled into the Toyota and we were off down Highway 4# heading towards the West Coast. It took just over 2hrs to reach the spot where we had to pull over and park due to a bridge being removed. From here it's a 3km walk up the abandoned logging road to where we cut into the bush and followed up the dry creek bed. It didn't take long before we ran into water and the rocks became very slippery for Randy to walk on. Using the surrounding bush we pulled ourselves over and around large boulders while slowly working our way up on the left side of the creek. It wasn't long before the trees opened up into a Heli-Slash "YUK" I hate crossing these. After a few swear words and a couple of scrapes on the legs we ended up on the other side. The main creek draw we were to follow now did a sharp turn west and headed up between Triple Peak and the Un-Named.

    We first tried thrashing up the creek draw through thick brush with the odd break of open rock. After 30 min of losing in the thick jungle of down sloping willow mixed in with devils club, I some how got a small branch sweep across my left eye which instantly started watering like crazy and impossible to keep open for more than a few seconds. Now heading left 600m into the timber hoping it would be less brushy I stumbled onwards and upwards using only my right eye, luckily the timbers brush was spaced out making travel a lot easier. At 920m the timber opened up and we got our first real views of the terrain ahead. What we saw was 30/60m benches with deep and steep bushy gullies. We decided to pick a way up through the gullies hoping to reach the next bench above. After pulling ourselves up and over a couple of intimidating gullies, using ferns, heather and the odd shrub as hand holds, we arrived on a small plateau a short distance below the main ridge leading to the un-named summits.

    This was a good place to take a break and snap off a few pictures before heading over towards the obvious rock horn "I call the Fang". I must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day, because while descending down a small snow slope on our way over to the Fang one of my cork boots slipped out from underneath me, I then ended up sliding down the harden scalloped snow for about 30m running over the odd rock which had falling from the cliff above "Ouch". No major damage was done, just to my pride and a few nice grazes, one on the forearm and the other on the knee cap. First thing I said to Randy was "At least I saved a pair of pants by wearing my shorts", he just smiled and shook his head. Now at least my eye didn't feel so bad, plus I was able to see from it as long as I was wearing sunglasses. Leaving the snowfield then heading up a loose scree slope we reached a small Col at the base of the Fang. Here we were able to view all the various summits the peak had to offer. The Fang looked like it was made up from the same rock as The Red Pillar and right up the middle there was a cool line going up a 30m hand jam crack leading to some good friction holds near the top. "Sasha, where are you when I need you!!".

    Our plan today was not on getting up the Fang, but to getting up any or as most of the four peaks we could see, so we first headed up towards the easterly summits. This was done by scrambling up a steep slope covered in heather which leads to a 3m rock gully easily climbed and then onto some low angled rock leading up to the saddle covered with juniper which separated the easterly summits. I first tried to climb the higher of the two but was turned back from exposuré; I backed off and gingerly down climbed back to the saddle. The other summit was ascended by first worming oneself through juniper bushes and then onto a narrow rocky ridge to the top. A rock cairn was erected and a signed register was placed there for future party's to sign. We only sat on top for a while as we were running close to our turn-around time. I was the first to descend while Randy hung out on top until I got passed the rock gully so not to knock any rocks down.

    Looking at my watch I noticed there was 20 min before turn-around and the true summit looked only 10 or 15 minutes away. From my position I could see a possible way up and working within the schedule I had. Quickly descending to the base of the Fang dropping down a bit further to make it easier, crossing a steep scree slope then climbing rock which headed up and around the corner to a steep ramp covered in Heather. From here I could definitely see it was possible but not a walk in the park to reach the top. By this time Randy had just reached the Fang I yelled down to him, stating I had found a way up. He waved me on to go ahead saying he wanted a bite to eat. While I forged on ahead he was going to sit back and relax and wait for my return.

    I was now only 5 min from the summit the exposuré was pretty good but still lots of bomber hand holds. I could now feel my blood start pumping faster and faster the closer I got. This due to the personal gratification I was getting from accomplishing this fete, the peak didn't come easy after trying to poke my eye then tossing me down a peppered up snow slope I still pushed on. Yahoo!!! The summit has now been officially "Bagged". Bagged being an old saying from the Northern Rockies we used to use when reaching the top of any mountain. I quickly built a cairn leaving my John Henry inside a small register plus took a hero shot. Strange thing, while on the summit the same small flying ants which I had run into on Canoe Peak summit were also doing there thing on this one. Smart ants, they know the highest point because they were not seen on the lower peak.

    I descended back to the Fang where Randy patiently waited, there I gobbled on a power bar and we were off. Earlier I had decided to take a different way back and the first choice was to try and descend the main draw leading off from the Col between Triple Peak. It looked steep, but as memory serves I don't recall seeing any cliff bands when I looked at it from Toquart Peak a few months back. Looking at the Topo map it showed the grid line running close but then comparing them to what we came up it looked possible. After swinging and hanging from the bush for 30min we had worked our way onto an open avalanche chute. This made travel down to 680m a heck of a lot easier, we then cut up into the timber right where we took our first break. The ground was somewhat familiar to me making the way down the timber to the Heli-Slash faster than excepted. Knowing we were most of the way down with plenty of time to spare we just took our time crossing the hellish slash to the other side. Once back in the timber agin we avoided the creek altogether, instead staying high up to the left. The going here was quite interesting, we must have been crossing an old slide from millenniums before, the boulders were the size of small houses now covered with a thick moss and trees growing in places you wouldn't think possible. After that we popped out into the slash at the roads end and it was only minutes before we were finally on flat ground again. Whew!!! That's all I have to say :

    If I was to go up again I would defiantly go up our descent route, it was a lot faster and a lot less bushy. I'll be back to climb the Fang someday unless someone beats me to it.


How to get there??     Leaving from Port Alberni drive West on Hwy 4# towards the West Coast turn left onto Toquart Bay "Samlon Beach" logging main, roughly 80km from PA. Drive on gravel for 16km before reaching Toquart Bay Recreational Area, then follow the "km markers" on the roadside from TO1 all the way to TO19. After that you will be stopped by large logs across the road due to bridge removal Park Here.
Cheers: Quagger