6 stars if Trip Advisor would let me! In a nutshell, this guide service R-O-C-K-S, and Matt Scrivner was an amazing guide, cook, companion, and all-around amazing guy.
A long-time friend of mine joined me last minute on this 5 day trip in the Sawtooths -- climbing, hiking, fishing, exploring. SMG took care of everything (loaner gear, food, tents, portaging, logistics, boat tickets, planning, adjusting the plan for weather events). We saw a big swath of the east side of the Sawtooths, climbed Elephant Perch and the Super Slabs, caught a lot of trout, and hiked about 25 miles in total. Gear was up for the cold nights, and for the rain we encountered. Safety was job one, but the guide service did SO MUCH more than just show us where to go and make us safe.
1. FOOD -- amazing. Flat out great. Guide-created menus. Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegarette. Homemade soups. Burritos. Eggs and ham breakfasts. Granola. Sandwich makings for lunch one day. Pasta dishes with various sauces. Appetizers. Just incredible. And not freeze dried -- the real deal.
2. SAFETY -- the guide carries a radio, plus a rescue beacon device that can text via satellite to get weather updates. They bring some spare gear and first aid. And are trained in first aid. Most of all, they know the trails and landscape INSIDE OUT and you always feel like they are watching out for you. We got snowed off of the Warbonnet climb and the guide was super fast and efficient at getting us down safely. Great work Matt!
3. THE PLACE -- the Sawtooths are PRIMO hiking, climbing, and outdoor camping locations. The sunrises and sunsets. The moon. The stars. The snow and sleet. The sweeping views. The streams and rivers. The reflective lakes. The cliff views. The mountain tops. The hawks, and falcons, and other wildlife. This is the REAL deal for outdoor camping and experiencing the outdoors in a wonderful, isolated setting.
4. FISHING -- Our guide didn't do much more than point us in the right direction and we went in with 4 and 5 weight fly rods and caught as many fish as we could count. Not big, but a lot of fun. And a good way to have a small adventure alone without the guide right next to us. Two good fishing spots in different parts of the range, both productive and very enjoyable. So, get a rod and a license and add this to your mix if you like the idea.
5. CLIMBING -- Matt was excellent at leading us up some wet rock on Elephant Perch, and showing us the ropes on the Super Slabs. This is a GREAT place to get in some serious rock climbing and to improve your skills.
OVERALL RATING: A+
SMG is the real deal. Don't think twice about trusting your life to these folks and just go into the backcountry for a true adventure!