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  1. #1
    New Member toby414's Avatar
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    Sawtooth National Forest Hang Tips

    Taking a trip in September to the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho. Wandering if anybody has any hang time in the area (in and around redfish lake), and possibly some tips, recommended hikes/good hammock camp spots etc.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby414 View Post
    Taking a trip in September to the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho. Wandering if anybody has any hang time in the area (in and around redfish lake), and possibly some tips, recommended hikes/good hammock camp spots etc.


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    Sure, beautiful area, good hanging and hiking and fishing, etc.

    Paul fro AHE is the one to tell you about this area. He has taken several group hangs into that area. But I have been one time, 1st week of Sept. Took the boat across Redfish lake, got out and started hiking and hanging.

    We stayed the first night at a pay campground ( I think it was a primitive site, but maybe it had water and power, can't remember) and hung there. Then next day went into town, had breakfast and got some supplies, then went back, crossed the lake and started hiking. It is a very spectacular area. Fire pans are required in the wilderness if you are going to have a camp fire.

    Nice waterfall on the other side of Cramer Lake:








    That waterfall from a different angle:


    First night's camp before we got to the lake:




    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-18-2019 at 22:41.

  3. #3
    New Member toby414's Avatar
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    Thanks billybob. Really helpful. Really looking forward to the trip. What time of year was your trip? Iíve heard it can be much cooler in the wilderness at night than in Stanley. Trying to get my gear dialed in for the weather which is colder than I was originally thinking.


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  4. #4
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby414 View Post
    Thanks billybob. Really helpful. Really looking forward to the trip. What time of year was your trip? Iíve heard it can be much cooler in the wilderness at night than in Stanley. Trying to get my gear dialed in for the weather which is colder than I was originally thinking.


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    While generally speaking it is colder by 3-5 degrees F for each 1000 ft increase in elevation, I have had this be reversed. Due to temperature inversions on still, calm nights, and cold air(heavier) sinks down from the high peaks and settles in the valleys. One quick personal example: About Feb 85, at my house in Flagstaff AZ, at about 7000 ft, it was minus 23F. At the ski resort just a few miles away, it was a mere minus 16F, even though 2500 ft higher up the mountain!

    The trip associated with my pics was first week of Sept. Coldest night of the trip was also 1st night, at Redfish Lake ( el. 6547), about the same elevation as Stanley(6523). It was about freezing that first night, all other nights- higher up in the mountains- were significantly warmer. Maybe in the 40s. Now, maybe that was because we had one of those inversions that very clear night at Redfish Lake(the stars were incredible), or maybe that just means a warmer weather system move in, and it was warmer at all elevations.

    The average low in Sept for Stanley is 26F, and the record low is 9f. ( for Redfish Lake, even at the same elevation, average Sept low is still 26F, but the record low is +1F ) Of course, I'm sure these averages are a bit warmer near the 1st of Sept than near the end. Still, even in Aug at Redfish Lake: the Average Low: 33 | Record High: 97 | Record Low: 12, so it can get cold any night of the year! I am certain that it can get colder, and will be colder on average, higher in the mountains. However, I'm not sure how much these records are exceeded higher up, and these record lows might have occurred during inversions.

    I have gone to the fairly nearby Windriver Mountains in WY many times in the 1st week of Sept. At elevations likely averaging about 2000 ft higher than the higher lakes in the Sawtoths, often over 10,000 ft rather than about 8000-8500. I have had one week where every night the lows were exactly 20F, and other weeks where every night was about 40F, except for the last night(after a front moved through) which reached 15F, my record for Sept. I seriously doubt it gets any colder- or even as cold on average- in the Sawtooth Mountains with it's somewhat lower elevations. But, my record temps were probably not the actual record low temps, just the cpldest when I happened to be there. Most likely not near the records, considering Redfish's 1F record low for Sept.

    But I imagine if you are prepared for temps as low as zero, you will be more than covered even higher up. If record low temps arrive, you might be challenged, but should be OK even then, if a bit cold on 1 night. Honestly, the week(of erly Sept) I went, I was not prepared for much below 20F. I never got below 32F. But had some record temps come in, I would have been challenged. It would have been hot water bottle time, and/or vapor barrier time, or worst case: go to ground.
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-19-2019 at 22:43.

  5. #5
    New Member toby414's Avatar
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    Wow! Fantastic information. Most of my backpacking experience rests in the North Carolina mountains where nothing gets above 6500 ft. Which is near the baseline in the sawtooths. I was planning on bringing gear that would keep me warm down to 20 or so. May have to order some warmer down! Thank you for taking the time to help out. I really do appreciate it! If you think of anything else Iíll be happy to absorb any other wisdom you can provide.


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  6. #6
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby414 View Post
    Wow! Fantastic information. Most of my backpacking experience rests in the North Carolina mountains where nothing gets above 6500 ft. Which is near the baseline in the sawtooths. I was planning on bringing gear that would keep me warm down to 20 or so. May have to order some warmer down! Thank you for taking the time to help out. I really do appreciate it! If you think of anything else Iíll be happy to absorb any other wisdom you can provide.


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    Hey, you are welcome, Toby! I was hoping Paul at AHE would see this and chime in. He is the one in the know, as he hammock camps in the Sawtooth and other ID mountains pretty often. I have only been once, though I think it is similar to other(not far away) places I have been a dozen times, like the Wind Rivers over in WY. I suggest contacting him for the real in the know info. He will be happy to talk to you about the Sawtooths:
    https://www.arrowhead-equipment.com/about.html

    As for buying new down, maybe not(unless of course you just plain want to! ). Those record low temps I posted, though very cold, are indeed records. Who knows how often? Most likely, if you are confident at staying comfy at 20F, and confident at staying dry and keeping the wind blocked, even if temps like that did show up, you would probably live through it. As long as you are dry enough and out of the wind, you would just have an unpleasant night. Keeping mostly dry and out of the wind is the main key to getting by at temps colder than expected.

    I know many will disagree with my approach, but I often push equipment beyond it's rating and do just fine. A torso sized pad can boost your UQ by a lot, as long as it is not so big so as to interfere with the UQs fit, plus it is wind proof. Plus, with a pad, you can always go to ground if it all hits the fan. A space blanket/vapor barrier(between the UQ and hammock NOT around the UQ) and/or UQP(by blocking wind/rain) will also boost your UQ quite a bit. VB clothing will boost the warmth of everything, assuming you know how to use it properly, otherwise it might make it worse. And hot water bottles in a wool soc inside a ziplock freezer bag(back up against spills) can really help out. So, by using a few tricks, your comfy at 20F might get you by even if unseasonably cold temps show up.

    But talk to Paul, he knows more than me about those mountains in Sept. Talking to you about it has me longing to go!
    https://redfishlake.com/blog/redfish-lake-weather/
    Last edited by BillyBob58; 07-21-2019 at 21:23.

  7. #7
    Stanley is nicknamed the IceBox of Idaho. It can get cold quickly. As for hanging spots....I cant think if a hike or lake that wont have enough trees to choose from. The fire restrictions can be tricky in terms of using fires to get warm. A couple of great spots to eat in Stanley. Good hearty pre or post trail food.

  8. #8
    New Member toby414's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodscavenger View Post
    Stanley is nicknamed the IceBox of Idaho. It can get cold quickly. As for hanging spots....I cant think if a hike or lake that wont have enough trees to choose from. The fire restrictions can be tricky in terms of using fires to get warm. A couple of great spots to eat in Stanley. Good hearty pre or post trail food.
    Thanks woodscavenger, any lakes or hikes youíd recommend, they all look so amazing in pictures Iím having a hard time picking which ones to do.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member LuvmyBonnet's Avatar
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    If you are looking for anymore info I'd say to contact Paul from Arrowhead equipment. He's based out of Idaho.

    I see that was already recommended now.
    Hanging in the woods, paddlin and catching trout- My kind of living...

  10. #10
    https://stanleycc.org/Blogs/ArticleI...e-Alpine-Lakes


    Hard to tell you which one. So many great ones. Just depends on how many days you stay and how many miles you can hike.

    About the only one I would stay away from is Hell-Roaring. the “drive” to the main trailhead requires a true 4x4 with clearance. You can hike the “drive” in but that would not be fun.

    The boat ferry service makes for a nice way to get deeper in the area but shaves miles off the hike. It takes you across Redfish lake. I dont remember the price but seem to think it was about $8

    Goat lake is really cool but the last part of the hike is basically a Billie goat trail. Very steep.

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