Sierra High Route – Day 8 (15 miles)
I had a lot of frost on my sleeping bag this morning. The morning took a long time to warm up as well.
I reluctantly got out of bed and Sting Bean and I set of down the valley. This is one of the nicer lakes I’ve been to; great lake, mountains behind and a river and meadow in front. Our notes for the decent said “Steep!”. It turned out to be an easy decent.
Once in the valley, we walked a mile up it to avoid exposed rock and then turned right and went up the other side. This again was fairly uneventful.
We arrived at the top and headed for Puppet Pass. From here the pass looked steep and hard, but as we got closer it looked easier and easier. It indeed turned out to be fairly straightforward, and we jumped from rock to rock all the way to the top.
So far the day had been great! We were making far better progress then yesterday as well.
We headed down the other side. A huge flat expance of barren alpine country lay for miles ahead. On the other side was the Glacial Divide, an impressive mountain range of sheer peaks and huge glaciers, that we would have to get over later in the day.
We talked as we walked through this barren country. Reliving our 2015 PCT Thru Hike and planing new adventures.
Just before we started our climb to Snow Tung Pass, a notoriously hard pass, we stopped to dry out our sleeping bags in the sun.
Once dry, we began the extremely slow hike to the top. The path ahead was almost entirely talus.
We worked our way up to the first ledge. What meet us was the awesomely clear lakes, with an unusual blue tint.
We continued up to the base of the pass. There were so many options to get up, but none of them looked great. The pass is the steepest we have faced. To make it more interesting, the talus and scree is extremely loose.
We sat at the bottom and planned our attack. At this stage I started to feel ill. I thought I might be dehydrated, so put it aside until we made it over the pass.
It was slow progress. Because of the loose rock, the person below did not want to be underneath the other. To speed things up, we traversed rather then climbing directly.
This worked out well and with some very uncomfortable moves we climbed to the top.
Once down, it was then time to traverse for the next few miles. There were a couple of things to note from this leg of the trip
The first being how spectacular Evaluation is when seen in its entirety from this angle. Many people see parts of it from the PCT / JMT. It is one of the better valleys on these trails, but to see all of it is marvelous.
The second was the amount of bear scat we saw. About 2 a miles along SB saw a huge bear. I was around the corner, and the bear had sprinted away before I got there.
We then got onto the PCT, walked about a mile up to Muir Pass and found a beautiful camp site overlooking one of of the lakes.
We talked about going for a swim but the cold wind that was picking up decided for us. Eating dinner as the sun set was well worth this whole trip alone!