Summitting My Fears

Day 65: Ascent of Forester

And then there were three. So here I was with a new, and reduced, team.

House, Salmon, and I went in together to tackle the high Sierra with eight days of food, and a boatload of determination. At the end of our long and harrowing day coming over shepherds pass, we arrived just shy of the force to pass approach, and her only Each day we would climb up and over a pass, starting as early in the morning as possible so as to walk on hard snow. This also meant we were walking up head walls on ice, making our ice exes and microspace good friends each and every day.

I never looked ahead at the terrain, not even photographs, so that I could have the excitement, indeed the thrill, of exploring the landscape and you around every band. So when I saw with the passes in fact look like and felt like, I realized they are much more reasonable than people put it out to be. Those who have no experience in snow, or high mountains, or winter conditions may feel the high Sierra is downright scary. I thought it was a thrill. This was level one mountaineering, meaning it was difficult enough to be dangerous if you were careless or very unlucky, but I am neither of those, and now I knew neither were either of my team. So we plotted through, we worked our way to the top, and we slid back down as best we could. Each day we ended in our sleeping bags completely exhausted, but with big smiles. Each day ended with a double high five and a “day one, pass one!” Through “day 10, pass nine!”

We camped is close to the pass as possible, so as to reduce the climb in the morning before the snow pack. Then we climbed up the pass, crossed it over snow and ice, and worked our way down the often long and dreary snow walk until we again left the snowfield. Usually, we ended up with at least a couple of miles with the potential for postholing. Returning to trail after miles of wayfinding, we would be relieved to walk on dirt, or rock, even mud, despite the slipperiness. In the valley, there would be stream crossings, creek crossings, and some days, major river crossings. The crossings could take many minutes or even an hour. And then, we would begin again the ascent toward the next pass, gaining as much ground as we could before fatigue made us camp for the night.

And this was the daily routine.


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