Day 62, 63 – Glen and Pinchot Pass

6/15/14
11.2 miles today
800 miles total
Bullfrog Lake to Woods Creek Bridge

This morning was a slow one. Salami and I are bad influences on each other when it comes to getting up. Tuck had already made coffee and oatmeal when Salami and I yelled back to each other “are you getting out of your sleeping bag?” “No?” “Oh good, me neither.” Our alarms went off at 5:30 but we didn’t end up leaving camp until 7:30.

It didn’t help that we knew it was less than 3 miles to the top of Glen Pass. So why rush?

Glen Pass was no joke, maybe only 3 more miles, but definitely steep. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the steepest of the 5 major passes, and we felt it. Tuck and I were moving sooo slow. We were in it mentally but our legs just felt like cement blocks.

By the time we made it up to the top, we were warn out. We surveyed the descent, which looked pretty snowy, to figure out the best way down. We followed a track of footprints across a steep snowfield back to switchbacks in the rocks. The snow didn’t end there though. The switchbacks seemed to go back and forth from snowfield to snowfield, and instead of kicking steps in the mountainside we rock hopped down from switchback to switchback. It was an arduous process of surveying loose rock scree for the best routes down and it took longer than we hoped.

Once we were off the rocks and snow for good we were surrounded by Rae Lakes, a set of beautiful deep blue alpine lakes. They looked like they were straight out of a story book, with little rock islands and sandy beaches and old pine trees. It was a treat and we were exhausted from the climb and the scrambling our way down. We sat down around 11 for a quick break and ended up staying to take lunch.

Carrying such heavy food payed off for me today. I ate lemon pepper tuna on a tortilla with a mayo packet, string cheese and avocado. Definitely the best lunch I have had on trail yet. I don’t even care that it probably weighed over a pound alone. I’ve been craving fats and avocados are such a great treat.

From there we had a long downhill section before setting up for our next pass – Pinchot. After crossing a big creek half way down we sat and realized that we probably didn’t have any climbing left in us. So even though we hoped to climb another thousand or so feet towards Pinchot, we decided instead to camp early at mile 800 and celebrate our 2 months on trail.

Because we were under 10,000 feet we were able to build a fire and hang out. I had packed out a cigar and a small bottle of Jameson for the occasion. It’s hard for us to believe that we’ve been out here for 2 months. I’m pretty excited to see what the next few months will be like!

Tomorrow is going to be a short but grueling day. We have a climb from 8,500 ft all the way to 12,000 ft for the first 7 miles. From there it will be smooth sailing to set up for Mather Pass. I’m hoping my legs get back in the game soon, because I’ll need them tomorrow.

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6/16/14

Let me just say that starting from the bottom of Pinchot Pass was a pretty big mistake. I didn’t even write about it because by the time I got to camp I was too tired to think straight. Pinchot shouldn’t have been especially difficult, but it was by far the hardest pass for me so far. Mather Pass tomorrow!

Goodnight,
K2

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4 responses to “Day 62, 63 – Glen and Pinchot Pass

  1. Nice work Kelsey!!!! It reminded me of longs peak which I did recently. I appreciate you sharing the journey. All the best, Cheryl

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I like the fact that you admit how difficult the journey can be, and how joyful the little things become at the end of each day.

  3. You are such a beast! I can’t believe it’s only been 2 months though; it seems like you’ve been out there foreverrrrrrr. Does it feel longer or shorter for you?

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