Mitt Lake Junction to Purple Lake – 12 miles (19km) – 893 total.
Today was another killer day. What should have been easy was a slough in the snow. The highlight of the day was starting late at 8am with hopes that the sun would warm us up for the two initial river crossings. The sun didn’t we were too deep in the valley. However the river crossings were not bad. One was on a log with a rock scramble in the other side to get back to trail and the other was a waterfall across the trail, which was actually pretty cool.
Then the fun began. The climb to silver pas was through some forest, where I lost the trail and was trying to break trail across suncups. I thought every one would be ahead of me thanks to me going whoop whoop, but D and D did the same thing. Once we emerged from the forest, the trail to the summit was clear, but a steep climb at the end. The climb down from the summit presented a few glissading opportunities which I took. By the time we had made it to the bottom of that valley it was already 1pm. Then there was another climb.
The climb was snow free switchbacks. Luxury. But at the top there was snow for days and no tracks, so our mileage dropped right down. It was the 4pm by the time I made it over that summit and I realised that the thought of 20 miles that day was not going to happen and I was content with making it another 4 to make it 15 miles. That didn’t happen. The descent from the summit started easy the became steep. At that point I backtracked to find the actual trail to go down. This didn’t help. In fact the afternoon sun had made the snow so slushy, I was slipping and sliding everywhere. A couple of times on to my arse and once down a slope a few metres, where a patch of ground and tree stopped me sliding further. At that point I was content just to make it down to purple lake and call it good for the day. I could do the rest tomorrow morning when the snow is firm.
I made it down to purple lake. Then hiked on a bit and found a snow free patch of dirt to pitch my tent in near the trail. 12 miles in 10 1/2 hours. Hopefully, I’ll be able to move faster tomorrow and make it out to mammoth.
Today I am thankful for waterfalls.