Wilderness by Rob Hart

The Sawtooths have been, for me, more than I can describe. It’s not specifically the emerald lakes, the silence of dark forests, the twisted bristlecone or the jagged pink granite peaks that have drawn me in for the past forty years – its something more.

Kathryn Lake at sunrise... Scrambling up a waterfall in the rain... Pumping water before heading over Cramer Pass.

It might be the journey; serpentine boulder hopping along the flank of some un-named tower or a spirited hand-and-toe battle up a chute filled with scree.

Feather Lakes, near Warbonnet Peak.

Fueled by exploration of the unknown, we learn the craft of backcountry travel, to be gentle, to discover the weaknesses in the mountains that will allow us passage.

The Monte Verita complex from the west side... My wife, Jill, taking in the morning beauty of the Elephants Perch... Total solar eclipse from the summit of Quartz Peak.

It might be the friendships; sharing a rope with your climbing buddy, feeling the warmth of the rock in the sun and the iciness deep within the web of fissures, or sitting in front of an alpine lake with your wife - your best friend - watching the alpenglow fade from the tips of the peaks, sipping wine from a coffee cup, and glimpsing the first bats of the evening.

Looking down the inhospitable Goat Creek drainage, from the Feather Lake basin.
The last pitch of Baron Spire... Unnamed cirque in the heart of the Sawtooths.

An adventure into the Sawtooths is so much more than planning, work, and gear. It’s mystery, delicacy, and the capacity to savor wilderness for what it is – beauty on every scale.

Hell Roaring Lake at sunrise.

(Cover photo is Baron Lake at sunrise. All photos by Rob Hart.)