I slept really poorly, and some shenanigans happened the night prior that had me in a poor mood. So at 6 am I grabbed a loaner bike from the hostel and headed to get groceries. I shopped almost all alone, and ended up meeting a nice lady infront of me a the checkout and had a good talk about the PCT with her and the girl working the till. I headed back to the hostel, grabbed Suavé and we went to get coffee. I came back with coffees for Hummer and Shy Bear, who were cooking amazing Huervos Rancheros for us. I figured it was a good trade. After that I started to work on some photos editing and tried to catch up on blogging, but the app was not working so great. Eventually ACB got out of bed at around noon, and we went for a bike ride to get her groceries, as I had forgotten a few things I needed to return. Getting back to the hostel we were still thinking about a double zero to rest more, and see the new Deadpool. Talking to Judd(the hostel manager) about bouldering in the areas and how to get out there, he offered up his van, 6 crash pads and some shoes. So it was decide, a double zero. In the afternoon we watched a movie on VHS!, then just hung around. That night we had a huge hostel family dinner of pasta and garlic bread, a couple of beers, nothing too much after the night before, and headed to sleep by 10.
Day 49- Bishop Bouldering!
I woke up fairly early, and headed to the cafe for coffee, and came back to grab some breakfast, got Judd's keys, loaded up the van, and we ran to the Outfitters to get rental shoes for those that needed them. Then we headed out to boulder, only ACB and I climb, and only I have bouldered outdoors. So we played around for a couple hours, heading back before it got too hot so we didn't get fried before heading back on trail. Back in town we dealt with food packing, drank beers, watched a movie, and ate dinner. We all headed to the theatre to see Deadpool 2, then went back to the hostel to sleep.
Day 50- Bishop to Onion Valley trailhead
Getting up early, we had some breakfast, packed the rest of our stuff up, and ACB and I left to try and get a hitch. I eventually got us a hitch after about 30 minutes, and a really nice guy from SoCal drove us all the way to the trailhead(including the 15 mile road out of his way). We started our 6 mile climb up, but quickly got hungry so we stopped to eat. When we were packing up it started to snow and lightning. So we set up camp to wait it out. It Laster for a few hours so we napped and kept waiting. We ended up just staying out for the night knowing we would need to do a big day to make up for it. Daily milage-3m(5km)
Day 51- Kersage pass and Glen Pass-20m
We got up at 3am, cleaned as much snow and ice off the tent as we could and packed up. Then started the uphill slog to kearsage pass. Being cold and wet doesn't help the mood knowing your not even on trail yet. We got to the trail and couldn't find the guys where we planned to camp. So we started hiking along to the PCT figuring we would find them. At about 740 we found their camp site. They were just finishing up breakfast. So ACB and I kept hiking, and the guys packed up to follow us. We found some good footprints to follow and were fairly quickly over the first pass of this section. We did the descent following the foot steps, and at points it got a little dicey. Postholling on a 60° slope up to your waist and then falling over sucks. But we all made it down, eventually getting to some drier ground. We got to a ranger station and decide to eat food, and try to dry my tent that still was covered in ice. After a bit we pushed on, making decent time due to the dry-ish trail. After a few hours we got to a big River crossing with a bridge so we decided to eat a late lunch. It was sunny with some wind so perfect drying conditions. Tent and quilt and shoes all got mostly dry(dry tent is obvious, bit our sleeping bags(or quilt) are lined with down feathers, which don't provide warmth as well of wet, so drying them during the day is crucial to having a warm sleep). So we ate, packed up, and headed off for the last few miles. We followed a river uphill for the whole time, eventually getting to the tent site, where we ran into the people who made the tracks on the previous pass, salty and karma. We had a fire, dinner, lots of taking and laughing before finally devising to head to bed.
Day 52- Pinchot Pass-8.5m
We woke up at around midnight to a crazy lightning snowstorm. Because Hummer forgot his rain fly in Bishop he made a hard dash for Suavé's tent. Once settled we all went back to sleep. Waking up at 3 was hard, ACB and I were ready far earlier than the others, so we headed off into the fog. We crossed a few rivers and got into some significant snow a few miles before the pass. So eventually everyone caught up. I was breaking trail for quite a while, so eventually ACB took over as we climbed a ridgeline up to the pass, with Suavé taking over as we got to the point of needing our axes. By this point a wind and snow storm had decided to grace us with its presence. By the time we got to the top of the pass, I couldn't feel from my elbows down. My hands were bricks. We found some shelter for the wind up top and MC Camel have us all some Fritos, then we headed down. The snow continued but became wet. We slogged through the wet snow down until we finally got below the snow line, only to get to our first dangerous River crossing, that had no real crossing. So we forded it. We went to a tent site right near there, set up tents, and got inside. None of us had eaten yet, so we cooked and got into dry clothes. It was a little after noon. The snow persisted so we eventually got our sleeping kit out, and got into sleeping bags. This was the first day I started to get leaks in my lightweight air mattress, very poor timing. We all napped for about 2 hours, getting woken up by Suavé who had started a fire. The snow has stopped and we were getting a little bit of Sun. So we all piled around the fire trying to dry all our shoes. Eventually the snow came back, so we retreated back to the safety of our tents. Trying to get sleep for the next day.
Day 53-Mather Pass-21.3
We did our new normal wake up call at 3am, with our goal to try and do Mather pass plus set up Muir pass for the next day. so off we went, Salty largely leadigthe charge through the slow elevation gain, but with lots of snow we were post holling in. He picked a good route through the trees and got us moving well. Eventually the snow firmed up and ACB took over setting trail. We grabbed water from the last exposed Creek, and kept moving. Time was as normal, of the essence. After a while I found myself at the lead breaking trail, I lead us to the base of the pass where we had a quick bite to eat, and made our game plan. With micro spikes on and ice axes in hand off we set. I kept breaking trail, getting up to the exposed trail about 1/3 up the pass quickly, but eventually was bogged down once we gained the open snow field. Due to the snow accumulation, we had no trail to follow at this point. I had to make a decision, as to climbers right was a significant rock field that we could have scrambled, and had a far lower avalanche risk, but I opted for the snow field as I didn't trust all 7 of the group to be able to scramble with bags on. The avalanche risk was higher than normal due to an ice layer, with new snow on it,that was getting heavy in the snow. But it seemed the best option. I plodded on, breaking trail and post holling in the softer ice spots all the way to the final push to the top. I found probably the only crevasse on the pass and dropped down to my head in the collapse, with the crevasse goiga couple feet deeper infront of me, it was atleast 10ft deep. Spy Bear was behind me, he asked if I was ok, and headed around the collapse to get to the top. I self rescued and got back in line to get over the pass. We got up, took our pictures, and headed down. We made it a few miles traversing over the snow before stopping for lunch. And decided on a camp site. Heading out shortly after as we had many miles to do, dropping into the low valley it was amazing to be able to hike fast again, as we had been in significant snow for about a weeks worth of hiking. ACB and I got to camp, set everything up for us, and of fucking course, it started to rain. So we retreated to the tent, cooked dinner in the tent, and went to sleep, after deciding to do the same start time.
Day 54- Muir
Waking up at the new norml or 3, to hike by 4, ACB, Suavé and I headed off as the only ones ready. We did a lot of the climbing, getting up above a couple waterfalls, which were super cool in the early morning light. We suddenly were in snow about 3 miles from the top. Doing some route finding, salty and karma caught up. Salty picked a beautiful route for a while before figuring out the snow had iced up at this altitude and we started to move fast, as we had to because the sun as now up and Muir has a very slow descent, so we will be in snow for a long time. We pushed on, as fast as we could. Climbing up the final hill, I was crazy relieved to be there. Knowing we made good time. We got some pictures, took a 4 minute sit break, and headed on. Not knowing where the rest of our group was, but the clock was a tickin. So we walked what felt like a glacier field for over an hour, crushing almost 3 miles, still having a few more to get below the snow level. We moved as fast as we could, but eventually started post holling really bad. But we had to move on, not being able to really slow down as it would only get worse. I ended up alone out front, so I chose the route I wanted. It sort of worked out, eventually I noticed the snow was very shallow about 50ft away beside a lake. Risky as you could slip into the lake, but maybe faster. Luckily for me it worked out great. Probably cut off about 20 minutes of slogging in the snow. Eventually we got to a bunch of big rocks clear of snow, and the trail looked mostly clear ahead, so I made the call to lunch here, and set out all our shit to dry. We moved on down the trail for another hour before deciding on a tent site. It was beside a big meadow, and we spent the afternoon hanging out in the first sun of the stretch and drying gear. We had a fire with dinner and got to bed early with plans to not do a pass the next day.
We got up with the sun at around 6, started a fire and slowly ate. Some of us (ACB) slept until 8. So we hung out, re-dried gear and slowly started to pack. We got started at around 1030 and I quickly got ahead of everyone, I waited for them by a bridge where I ate lunch. When they came up they told me Hummer had possibly dislocated his shoulder, ACB suspecting a sublaxion injury. It was in a sling, and the joint was intact, with ok ROM, so we headed off. We quickly got into a cool valley, and I was able to get a few good pictures. Afterwards we climbed up to the area we would camp a little short of the next pass. Classically, for this section, it rained on us for the last 2 miles. At the last river crossing before the tentsite, ACB full on fell in, drenching her bag and self. Fortunately she wasn't hurt, and Salty had already gotten to camp and had a fire started. The Rain broke and we got enough sun to mostly dry up. We had some dinner and headed to bed with a plan for tomorrow's attack. Daily milage-18m
Day 56- Selden-
We woke up and packed and danced to some Spanish dance music... Weird start to the day, but what ever gets us moving. We got a quick start to try and get up and over the pass. we did a few sketchy river crossings, and quickly was into the icy snow. Microspikes on, and we quickly crushed this pass. A nice change of pace from what we're used to. We didn't hang around up top, we just kept moving down. And soon were into patchy snow conditions, and eventually wet/dry trails. We had now come up to the first real, and dangerous, river crossing. We picked the best spot, and pushed on. Going one or two at a time, we all made it across. Bible (a temporary group addition) speed and got submerged. Luckily the sun has just came out and he said he was going to hang out on a dry rock and dry out. After he assured us he was fine, we pushed on. Over the next few hours we had a couple serious river crossings, that we largely could find ways across. We had breakfast on a rock with some sun, but we need to eat. We pushed on getting a little seperated, I hiked with ACB, as we did the long hike up to our tent site. It was exposed, but we had intermittent sun, so we could dry things and get some food and sleep. Getting a early start to the sleep part of our life due to tomorrow's ambitious plans. Daily milage-18m
Day 56- Silver-28.
So in the morning we woke up, at 2am. As we need to start our walk by 3. We quickly crossed 2 rivers, one that was a little sketch. But shortly after we started to encounter snow. Or hearts dank as we started to posthole regularly. We slowed down to under a mile an hour and got all split up. After a while of this to our amazement, we were suddenly in the clouds and the temperature dropped already 10 degrees. Almost right after that we started to encounter some more solid snow, then we got to where the snow iced up. We made quick work of the rest of the climb in this cloud, getting as much distance as we could. After summiting the pass, celebration gummy bears, and pictures were taken, we started to descend. The snow was perfect for a bunch of long glisades(sliding down hill on your ass). We did 3 trail miles in like 20 minutes because of this, and started to get to patchy trail sections. For the next few miles we were in wet snow with patches of open trail. In the bottom of the valley we turned left off the official PCT route to take an alternate path. The official route goes back up for the next 19 miles, the alternate goes down, and we assumed that meant no snow. Turns out we were right. We had gorgeous weather, which was ideal to cross the rivers we did, as walking in a waist deep cold river sucks when the air is cold. We had lunch at a hot a about half way through the alternate, where we encountered or first weekend hikers in weeks. The we found out that even though karma was sure that the Red's meadow road was open, it was Infact closed. So we had a dilemma, as most of us had limited food. So we decided to give all the way to Reds, then do the 4 miles early in the morning to avoid going hungry. Well off we went, following a river down to the bridge crossing a few miles away. I learned to be careful jumping over fallen logs, as sometimes there's other logs up high. After headbutting a tree, and getting kinda bloody. I decided I didn't have a concussion, so I kept moving. We crossed that bridge then climbed up up up and got some amazing views along the trail. We finally, dragging ass, got to reds Meadows, feeling exhausted, and it started to rain. So we wandered around the resort and found some buildings with covered porches we sat at to wait to karma and decide what to do. When everyone started talking about cowboy camping on the porch, I set out to explore. The furthest cabin from us was low and behold, unlocked, so i poked my head in and found a kitchen and a couple beds. So I grabbed everyone, and we piled in. It very quickly turned into the best night in this section. A warm cabin, with beds, and we all ate dinner together at a table. Such simple things can change everything. Daily milage-28m
Day 57- mammoth
We woke up around 6, and quickly cleaned up, and replaced everything in the cabin, leaving by 7 to do the short hike to mammoth. We shortly we're at the trailhead and did the road walk to where the road closure ended to try and hitch to town. Some people didn't want to wait so they Uber'd, but Hummer got us a ride and we rolled into town to the hotel. Our room wasn't ready(it was only 9am) so we convinced the front desk girl to let us eat breakfast at the continental breakfast. We ate a tonne, and once our room was clean we moved in and showered. Daily milage-4m