Lone Pine to Cottonwood Pass – 0 trail miles – 750 miles total.
Today was an interesting day. Basically, it was not a good idea to be in town with internet connection. Everything on social media was freaking us out about the Sierra. Some people were saying it was fine others were saying it was sketchy as.
One guy said it was tough but he did use crampons. This convinced me I needed to get crampons, not just microspikes. So after a lovely breakfast at the bakery, I went to the outfitters to get crampons.
However, this did little to relieve the tension I was feeling as we discovered that some weather was meant to be coming in over the next few days. Not ideal, when we are meant to be going up to do Forrester and Whitney. Then we also found out that another group who was meant to be going up at the same time as us decided to flip up North because of the weather.
All of this got all of us apprehensive. The result was that by the time we had finally resupplied for 8 days and managed to pack our bags (They are ridiculously heavy. The heaviest pack I’ve ever had). None of us were feeling great.
We managed to get a lift the 20 miles and 7000ft (2300m) elevation gain back to the trail head, from a guy who had to take us in two trips. By the time we were all back at the trail head, it was 3pm and all of us sat there, looking at potential impending clouds. Moral was low as we were all aware of what we were about to head into. There were vague suggestions of flipping or taking the weekend off, but finally we decided to just start walking and make a call at the top of the pass.
So we walked the 3 miles and 500m elevation gain back up. As we started walking moral became higher and we became excited again. However, there is still a sense of trepidation as well about what we are about to encounter over the next week.
We set up camp at the top of the pass, ate dinner and went to bed early with a planned leaving time of 3am in the morning to beat the slushy snow to camp at the base of Whitney, to then hopefully summit the next day.
Today I am thankful for blueberry pancakes for breakfast.