July 31, 2010

JMT Day 8

The view from the top of Mather Pass (North side to the left, South side to the right)

Date: Wednesday, July 21
Miles: ~22
Cumulative Miles: 166

After the first day on the trail, we were pretty much committed to completing the trail in 11 days. However, this meant that at some point during the second half of the hike, we'd have to climb over two of the major mountain passes in the same day. This was that day.

We got started early (6:15am) and after a mile we hit the endless switchbacks up the Golden Staircase. From there we moved past Palisades Lakes and up Mather Pass. The pass had some patches of icy snow that required caution (but once again, no microspikes). There were lots of people around on the climb up to and hanging out on top of Mather Pass. The views from the top of the pass provided a stark contrast: snowy, spring conditions on the north side, and dry, summer conditions on the south side. This disparity would present itself on all of the major passes as we moved further south. It was pretty cool to move through different "seasons" throughout the day.

After dropping off Mather Pass, we walked for miles along the Kings River, feeling great and looking forward to the climb up Pinchot Pass. The hike up the second pass of the day felt almost too easy, and we had perfect weather all day. The only downside to the entire day was where we chose to stop and setup camp. A full day without mosquitoes was made up for by a SWARM of the little desperate baby mosquitoes. They were the worst mosquitoes of the trip by far! But it was a small price to pay after such a fantastic day. Getting over both passes meant that unless another major weather even presented itself, we'd finish the JMT in 2.5 more days!

Ready for a 5000+ foot day!

Feeling strong

Switchbacks on the staircase

Almost up at Palisades Lakes

Palisades Lakes area

Taking a break on a perfect day

Easy stream crossing

Heading up Mather Pass

Big alpine terrain

Snowfields towards the top

Looking South... much drier

Eating peanut butter straight out of the jar was a common occurrence

Andrea and I on top of Mather Pass

The trail heading South

Enjoying every moment of this day!

Headed... that way!

Lake Marjorie

Still strong after 8 days of hiking!

Lake Marjorie again

Towards the top of Pinchot Pass... looking back down

Enjoying a nice break on the top of Pinchot Pass

The views

We had the top all to ourselves

Big jump, too fast for the camera


My back at the end of the day. Andrea put some big patches of moleskin over these hotspots for me, and they held up fine for the rest of the trip.

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