browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

High Sierras

Posted by on May 29, 2015

After a week off the trail, I was back in Independence and ready to hike again. On Monday, May 18, Horizon, Merkel, and I got a ride up to the trailhead from the woman working at the motel. When we got up there it was cold and slightly hailing. But we put on our wet weather gear and set off. After a few minutes the hail stopped and we got to the top of Kearsarge pass in good time. We celebrated with hostess cupcakes. The fake orange flavor brought back some childhood memories.
image

We got down from Kearsarge and rejoined the PCT. In just two miles we had another 12,000′ pass to go over, Glen pass. The switchbacks leading up to the pass were all covered in snow but I broke trail for everyone. At the top, the clouds were really low and we could hardly see anything. Then the wind picked up and it started to hail on the way down.
image

Horizon was leading the way and I was only a few hundred feet behind and yet I could hardly see his footprints. We were all glad to get off the pass and for the wind to calm down. It even cleared up for a few hours and we could see a bit.
image

image

Around 10,000′ there was less snow which made walking a lot easier but there’s still a lot of water and many creek crossings.
image
The next day was nice and sunny, although cold. I got an earlier start than the others and made my way up to Pinchot pass pretty easily. There were some warm rocks at the top and I waited for Horizon and Merkel for an hour there.
image

image

image

image

image

Pinchot pass is also over 12,000′ but the angle of the pass left almost no snow on the south side and hardly any on the north side, making it the easiest one to go over. But there was still route finding and scrambling involved and after coming down none of us felt up to going over another pass that day.

Sadly, after Tuesday the foul weather came back and we had snow showers every afternoon. The mornings were usually sunny but by lunchtime the clouds would roll in and we would have to deal with the snow on the ground and from the sky.

On Wednesday, we went over Mather pass which was not too bad since we had stayed above 10,000′ the night before and only had to climb 1,500′.
image

image

image

image
On the north side of Mather, we dropped low enough to get back to the land of the living and we walked through a grove of amazingly tall trees. What a sight!
image

The next day we had the last big pass to go over, Muir pass. We had heard it has a long slow approach so we thought it would be easier. Boy, were we wrong! We slogged through the snow for hours, with Horizon and I taking turns breaking trail since there were only faint footprints to follow. It was slow and hard work. At times we were going less than one mile per hour and it felt like we were at a stand still. But when we made it to the pass we were welcomed by a nice stone hut built in the 1930s.
image

After a snack, we started heading down but the weather changed quickly and we retreated back to the hut for an hour to let the snow pass. As soon as the wind let up, we made a break for it and got down off the pass before it really started snowing in the afternoon.

The poor weather and constant cold, wet feet put quite a damper on our moods. It was much harder to get up in the mornings knowing that we might not see much and would be uncomfortable. Horizon was feeling especially down so I wasn’t too surprised the next day when he was still in his tent at 8 am. I had taken my time packing up that morning but I was ready to go by then so I set off on my own, thinking I would see them again that night. I haven’t seen Merkel or horizon since.
image

One Response to High Sierras

  1. Sarah

    I’m so glad you were able to come back to this section. I know you were so bummed about the idea of having to skip it and come back later. It is so beautiful, but the trudging sounds less than enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *