Gregarious Glen and Righteous Rae
Beginning Elevation = 10,550
Peak Elevation = 11,950
Ending Elevation = 10,300
Weather: Mostly sunny, high of 65°F
Today was the first for my new routine of cooking breakfast prior to departure. Before, I would usually take a longer break mid-morning to do so, but our hope is to keep moving during that time to try and utilize the morning coldness and get over passes while snow conditions are primo. I was a bit anxious about not having enough time, even though I set an alarm, so I woke a few times prior to it going off. I first went and retrieved my hanging bag of food and bear canister. Then retreated to my tent and commenced to cooking.
Everything worked out dandy. In fact, I even had time to chat with Snickers. We both were having a bit of an off morning, just not feeling too inspired, and so it was good to talk through some stuff. We actually took off around 6:40am together since the others were still going to get water and such and we were getting chilled feet and hands.
The trail was a super steep climb right away, but luckily not for long. Up above it flattened out and opened up into a sparse forested area with some large boulders. We sat on a nice particularly flat one in the sunlight, which helped warm us.
Kool-Aid, Calzone, Cheer, and Shuffles joined after a bit and we continued slowly made our way down a nice valley. We would end up seeing a lot of lakes this day, and here was the first, a fairly large elongated one filling the bottom of this valley…
After a mile or so, we began traversing uphill and then veered to our right up a new valley/canyon. Here’s looking down the valley if we would have continued straight. Not too shabby. I believe the large face-looking guy there is called Charlotte Dome. Kool-Aid says people climb it!
Up we went on our way towards Glen Pass.
It was slow going, but beautiful! Looking at the first picture below, we’d continue straight and then curve to the left up and around the rocky parts on a snowy traverse.
And then we reached the last push…a super steep climb to the rocks high above.
We reached this milestone and had a nice break. Glen was kicking our butt, but he was gorgeous..
We still had a bit to go to the top. As the ancient Mesopotamian electricians used to say, “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.” That’s the pass up there.
Along the way up, we got separated from Kool-Aid. In hindsight it wasn’t a great move splitting up from him. Calzone and I were already above following the footprint trail, but Kool-Aid saw an opportunity to cut over to the actual PCT trail. The others followed Calzone and I. We all made it to the top without too much difficulty, but we were much higher than needed to be and a ways from Kool-Aid. Here’s the superb view once at the top and looking at the new scenery on the other side!
We didn’t really celebrate much or break long. It was already much later in the day than we’d wanted it to be. I certainly underestimated the difficulty of Glen Pass (and just to be straightforward about it… I’m not really sure how Glen Pass is gregarious, but it seemed like a fun word to use). Never again will I ever underestimate someone or something with the name of Glen! Respect. The snow got soft on the way up too which didn’t help and we vowed that we’d start earlier going forward.
Once ready to go down, we were forced with a choice: try to make our way over to Kool-Aid, which is what we all wanted to do, or continue following the footprints, which was a dirt/rock pathway at this point since briefly out of the snow. I didn’t think it was possible to get over to him at the time, I saw jagged/rugged looking rock spires in between that were steep.
So, after scouting it out a bit, I led the way down a very steep rocky “trail.” As I went further down, it got worse. The rocks, even big ones, were loose and the gravel was easy to slide down. I made it to the snow and waited for the others following. Meanwhile, Kool-Aid had glissaded down and was watching us from far below trying to offer advice. He was ready to trek up to us even. We were going super slow because it was such a nasty stretch. At one point, Calzone had a scare when some of the rocks she was holding on to slid. To sum it up, it was a stupid and scary section.
Once all down to the snow though, we began a long traverse over to Kool-Aid and down. In that time waiting for the others to get down from the rocks though, I had too much time to think of all the things that could go wrong! I got in my head and had just as much fear as when getting over Forrester. Plus, when down below we could fully grasp how steep, and to use a favorite adjective of ours, sketchy, the slope was.
It wasn’t that bad once in the snow since so many hikers had gone this way. The trail was down into the snow maybe 3 or 4 feet. Eventually, I did a two section glissade. Some followed my path, but those with crampons continued walking the whole way down.
It was a relief once down. We had lunch on a nice flat rock section. Here’s looking back at our decent.
And here’s my new shoe liner to help keep my socks and feet dry. It’s a small garbage bag. Hoping it’ll be a game changer!
From here, we went down a bit more to a nice lake.
Our water fill ups sometimes are from these streams that come right out of the snow. As you can imagine, they’re quite refreshing and cold.
We hiked around (and into at two spots) a series of lakes for the rest of the day. I think as a whole, they’re called Rae Lakes. I was super into them. Such a cool area! Here’s some shots of where we had to cross. The two lakes are connected because the water is so high and there is a current going from the upper to the lower. The water was so clear and I saw so many colorful trout (I believe they’re Golden Trout?)! Our crossing was very cold but easy!
Photo credit for the last pic of me goes to Shuffles. She has a nice camera and gets some great photos! Here’s some more photos from the rest of the hike…
And then we came up to this section, where we crossed yet again.
This time it was up around our waists (above for our shorter team members and below for others). I ended up taking my pants off and fording across in just my boxers briefs. They got a little wet, but at least it wasn’t my pants too.
On the other side we dried out and talked of plans. The day had taken its toll. We were all beat and Shuffles had a serious headache. She’s had similar altitude related symptoms before and so we all agreed we’d find a camp site right away. We found some level spots within view of the crossing and set up.
It wasn’t quite the mileage we’d hoped for, but we succeeded in conquering another of the major passes, so that felt pretty dang good!