Sawtooth Mountain 12,304'
Sawtooth is the distinctively shaped mountain that is easily viewed from the high plains east of Boulder. Sawtooth has a vertical South Face that is countered by the gentle slopes of the Northeast Face. The mountain’s shape is more of a dulled Sawtooth than a sharp Sawtooth. The Northeast Face and the Southeast Face hold two interesting ski descents. Like its neighbor Red Deer, climbing Sawtooth is a full day effort. You may want to camp out at the Beaver Creek / Coney Flats Trailhead area and spend a few days exploring in this area. You will have a lot of mountains to yourself in the late spring and early summer.
Routes 1 and 2 have a shared approach to 10,400'
The Northeast Face and the Southeast Chute routes share a common approach to the Beaver Creek and Coney Flats trailheads. From the trailhead, proceed northwest on road 507 and follow this just under 1.5 miles to where there is a sign showing a fork to a skier and hiker short cut. If you miss the fork and continue on 507 that is OK. 507 will get you to the same place, but about a half mile longer. Take this short cut about 1.2 miles to where it rejoins 507. From here, continue west just over half a mile to the Beaver Creek Trailhead.
From the Beaver Creek Trailhead, cross the plank bridges (if they are not snow covered) west to the Coney Flats Trailhead. From here ski or hike the line of the Beaver Creek trail 1.6 miles to 10,400’ and the intersection of the Beaver Creek, Red Deer Lake, and Buchanan Pass Trails.
Route 1 - Northeast Face
- Rating: III D5
- Season: Spring, Summer
- Exposure: Northeast
- Vertical: 1,500'
- Approach Elevations: 9,160’ – 12,304’
- Approach Distance: From Coney Flats Road TH: 6.25 miles
The Northeast Face of Sawtooth is one of the Indian Peak’s classic lines. It is time committing and a great wilderness experience. You will have to put in a long day and a lot of hard work to reach this peak, but the views, solitude, and the long descent is worth it. The descent itself is slightly steeper than the D4 rating at the top but it quickly transitions into a long and consistent lower angle ski descent.
From the intersection of the trails at 10,400’ continue west on the direction of the Buchanan Pass trail towards the Pass, Sawtooth, and Red Deer. Stay north of Sawtooth’s East Ridge. At around 11,200’ begin trending southwest and climb the Northeast Face. The right side of the face is the path of least resistance and the top of this is a few hundred feet from the summit.
Route 2 - Southeast Chute
- Rating: III D8
- Season: Spring
- Exposure: Southeast
- Vertical: 1,100'
- Approach Elevations: 9,160’ – 12,304’
- Approach Distance: From Coney Flats Road TH: 6.5 miles
This steep chute has two different exposures. The short upper portion is the right side of the Northeast Face and then it takes a right hand turn into the southeastern exposure. Both aspects of this route receive early sunlight. The fall line from the summit takes you into this route. At the right hand curve into the steeper southeast exposure there is the opportunity to exit to the Northeast Face route if needed. The bottom portions of the Southeast Chute can melt out earlier in the spring.
From the intersection of the trails at 10,400’ head off trail south and then southwest to the gentle valley that trends east to west on the south side of Sawtooth’ East Ridge. Ski or hike up this remnant of a glacier to the base of the chute. Assess the conditions here as the base of the chute gets early sun and is not as visible from the approach.
Coney Flats Road Trailhead (9,160’)
From the Peak to Peak Highway (72) between Peaceful Valley and Ward, go left on County Road 96 2.4 miles to Beaver Reservoir. Follow the road around the north side of the reservoir 0.4 miles to the trailhead on your right. Park off of the road. If you have a high clearance rig and the road is snow free you can slowly grind (it might be faster to walk) 3.2 miles to the Beaver Creek Trailhead and Coney Flats.