Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Above Imogene Lake in the Sawtooths

This past weekend Dylan invited his buddy, Max to come along with us on our annual backpacking trip.  The plan this year was to head into the Sawtooths and then veer off up to camp at an isolated lake away from the typical summer crowds.  We arrived at the Upper Hell Roaring trail head after an extremely rough 45 minute ride on an unmaintained road to the trail head, packed up and headed out.

The trail wasn't too bad on the way to Imogene Lake and we made great time.  Here we stopped to rest and fish before heading to our destination, Lake 8733. 
Imogene Lake
 However, the trail after Imogene was a little rougher than the one before.  After some bushwacking, we finally found a small trail but it petered out at the base of a rock slide below Lake 8733.  Dylan led the way as we boulder hopped our way up. 

After a little difficulty we made it to our lake.

Lake 8733

The next morning we were up and heading to our destination for the day - Mount Cramer, the second highest Sawtooth peak.  The plan was to bring our fishing gear, drop it off at the ridge, climb the peak, retrieve our gear on the way down, and fish at a lake at 9400 feet called Profile Lake.

Heading up from 8733

We started off heading straight up and it stayed that way until we hit the main Southwest ridge to Mount Cramer.  Here the slope lessened a bit before the last rocky push to the summit.  After a little over an hour we were on top of the second highest peak in the Sawtooths at 10,716 feet!  The views were fantastic, however the wind was howling and clouds were rolling in so we signed the summit register and started down.

Summit photo - nice hat!
We fished for a few hours at Profile Lake catching some nice cutthroats and enjoying the scenery.  The clouds continued to move in and as we started down it was threatening rain.  After a quick dinner the rain and wind started in earnest and we headed for our tents for the night.  It was a little wild at times with the howling wind, but Sunday morning was clear and calm.

Profile Lake
Sunday was spent hiking around the area looking for lost items and fishing.  While the boys were off screwing around I headed to the inlet of Lake 8733 for some great fishing.  After an hour and twelve nice cuts landed, I headed out to find the boys so they could enjoy the great fishing.  I brought them back to the inlet and they proceeded to catch another half dozen fish.

Sunday afternoon we packed up camp and headed down to Imogene Lake.  The thought was that there would be less people on Sunday and we would be that much closer to the truck when we hiked out on Monday.  Dylan found us a great camp site that he had been to last month close to a large island.  We quickly set up camp so the boys could start fishing again.  Here it was all Brookies with a single cut mixed in.  Max caught the monster at this lake as you can see below.  He even packed in a cast iron skillet!

Monster of Imogene

That evening was another fun one.  We had a little rain, a little hail, and even a little snow.  Once again it was early to the tents due to the weather.  Monday dawned clear and cold.  We didn't have a thermometer, but there was frost in the boys tent so it was definitely below freezing.

On the hike out we ran into several groups on the way up that told us the road had been blocked by a couple of trees.  Apparently no one had the ability to clear it so they just parked and started hiking.  We however had a chain and a saw.  Not a chainsaw, but a chain and a hand saw.  It took us 15 minutes to clear the fall and we were on our way home.  Another great trip!


Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across your blog doing research for a trip my buddy and I are taking to the Sawtooths this September. Looks like you had an awesome time! Our objectives are the same as yours (good basecamp, great fishing, and bag a non-technical peak if possible), so I was wondering if I could ask some questions:
1) Could we handle the drive up to the "unofficial" trailhead in a small rental car if we did it really slowly?
2) How were the campsites at Lake 8733? We like to set up a basecamp and stay put for our three-night total. Would you recommend staying at Lake 8733, down at Imogene, or somewhere else?
Thanks, and again, great pictures/blog!

Fadgen's Adventures said...

Kevin, I would not try the road to Hell Roaring with a small rental car. Maybe if you had a small 4x4 SUV, ie, RAV4. It is very, very rocky (large rocks) with trees close in, so something small would be good.

For basecamp there were a couple of spots at 8733 but not much and if I recall they were small - though we set up two small tents. Imogene has a boat load of camps - and people! That would be your call but I'd much rather be away from the people. There wasn't much for camping at Profile Lake nor trees. The only problem with 8733 is that there wasn't much else around other than Profile or back down to Imogene.

Have fun and let me know whow it goes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John. I'll leave a post-trip comment!

Anonymous said...


What were you fishing with?

Charlie W. - Nashville

Fadgen's Adventures said...

Kevin, our normal high mountain lake fishing is done with spinners. Panther Martin, Mepps and Rooster Tails. Colors are normally green, yellow, gold, or anything that looks like a trout. I used a Kastmaster this weekend and did well on brook trout.

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen