North Fork Blackwood Creek to bottom of Tinker Knob – 22 miles (35km) – 1149 miles total
B and I left camp this morning at 6.30am to get up to the ridge and catch D. However, part of the ridge was covered in snow, which slowed us down. When I got up there I got a message saying D had camped 4.5 not 2 miles from us. So here was no chance we were catching him.
The walk along the ridge line was lovely and then down to a stream, for a short morning tea break, before starting the next climb up to Squaw Valley ski area. The climb up was borderline steep, but ok. At the top the north face had snow. There was a short 20m traverse across before going down the snow. I had barely gone 3ft when the step I took gave way and I started sliding on the snow. I half flipped onto my side/stomach, trying to use my poles like an ice axe to stop myself. Thankfully the snow leveled out enough 20m down for me to stop before I crashed into the rocks 5m below that. I wouldn’t have been hurt badly, just bruised if I didn’t stop, but still not fun.
I continued on and chose to glissade the next section, reasoning that I would end up on my butt anyway. When I got to the lunch spot to wait for B, I got a message from D saying he was having lunch .2 ahead. So we set off to do those .2 which took 20 minutes! The tracks lead down and I soon realised this put us off trail and we now had to rock scramble back up. Eventually we made it to D for lunch.
After lunch, we climbed downwards before starting the climb up to Tinker knob. Half way up Tinker Knob was the last water source for 10 miles. This is the first time we’ve had to worry about water since the desert.
We made it up Tinker Knob and decided it was too early to camp, so decided to push on a bit and hope to find a place to camp at the bottom. About a mile before the bottom, we came across a bunch of trees and slightly flat ground compared to the ridge line we’d been on, so we called it good and set up camp.
Today I am thankful for not getting hurt!