Day 60: (12.5 miles).
mile 788.5 – 793.5 + 7.5 (Kearsage Pass trail)
The slog up the pass was not as “bad” as we expected. The Kearsage Pass trail however was like a hiker freeway. At least 20 hikers passed us heading down and into town, while another 10 passed us heading back to the PCT. Our goal was to make it over Glenn Pass before it got too bad as we did not want to replicate our experience at Forrester Pass. We had conflicting information as when to best summit Glenn Pass. It was either you need to do it early in the morning so you don’t posthole, or because it’s so steep and icy, do it in the afternoon. We figured we’d split the difference. As it turned out, either way we were in for another adventure.
The initial climb was steep with some snow on the trail, that led to some post holing, but liveable as the snow was well compacted. The climb to the top of the pass was steep and arduous. I was pretty much gassed by the time we reached the top. Then the backside, snow once again as far as the eye could see, and unbelievably steep too.
An ice Axe would have been a good tool to have at this juncture. Hmmm. How to get down. Walk or glissade. With no ice Axe, glissading would have been more stupid than not having an ice Axe in the first place, so walk (post hole) all the way down we did. Shit. Meltdown coming. Incredible heights, slippery surface, poor lower body appendage motor skills. If it were not for Paul, I think I may still be up there. “Pull yourself together, it’s not that bad. We’ll do it bit by bit”, says Paul. So I ” pull it together” and down we go. This trek was both physically and emotionally exhausting. By the time we get almost to the Rae Lakes we are wet once again. Our goal was to get to mile 796 or 798, to set up for Pinchot Pass, and, even though we technically have enough daylight to go 3 or 5 miles, my legs and knees are too shot too really effectively go much further, so we call it. But what a beautiful setting to call it at.