Going .75 Miles an Hour – Sierra Higher Route – Day two


I woke up at six:45am with the sun. Eight hours of fitful sleep would have to do. As I was packing up, I saw Ken and Charlie (the two guys who began hiking the Sierra Higher Route seconds behind me yesterday) hiking by and waved hello.

I began hiking at 7:00am. My aim for now was to spend closer consideration to my maps and not rely on the GPS also a great deal. With my 1st aim for the day—Grouse Lake Pass—in sight, this seemed like a good straightforward obstacle.

Grouse Lake Pass

Grouse Lake Pass is clearly visible from Grouse Lake and has lots of apparent and protected routes to the major

Searching back on Grouse Lake as I climb Grouse Lake Pass

This is what I believed the Sierra Higher Route would be: clear landmarks, lovely granite, and exciting wandering to the major. No GPS necessary. Enter image right here of Amelia feeling incredibly proud of herself. Even even though the grade wasn’t undesirable and the route discovering was basic, I’m nevertheless out of breath as I hike to the major. Significantly less than 24 hours ago I was living at sea level, now I am at 11,050 feet. Fortunately I do not have any altitude sickness symptoms (however).

Ken and Charlie do not take the identical route as me to the major of the pass, but we get to the major at the identical time. We each take out our copies of Sierra Higher Route and study Roper’s description of how to get to our subsequent aim: Goat Crest Saddle.


Goat Crest Saddle

A “meandering brook” with Goat Crest Saddle out of frame to the left

Roper describes Goat Crest Saddle as an “amazingly gentle pass”. Great. It is visible from exactly where I am standing, and Roper says it is a “mere” 1.five miles away. Following a swift break at the major of Grouse Lake Pass, I bid Ken and Charlie goodbye, and head down and about towards Goat Crest Saddle. I know my hiking speed on trail, but I have no concept what my speed is through cross nation route discovering. Considering that I know the milage to Goat Crest Saddle, I determine to time myself.

I have a dandy time. The terrain is straightforward and pleasant and initially slopping gently downwards. I hit an adorable brook and pull out Roper once again to double verify my route: “…cross a brook. Continue north more than rolling meadowlands, previous Lake 10,979, to Goat Crest Saddle”. I appear ahead of me and see rolling meadowlands with a saddle behind them and confidently head off.

There are no trails, but I do see stray footprints each as soon as in awhile. It is a comforting feeling to know I am going the suitable way.

Following hiking for a bit, I wonder how close to the major I am, so I give in and verify my elevation on my GPS. I notice that I am not close to Andrew Skurka’s points that I have loaded into my GPS. I am at the incorrect pass. I am at Granite Pass, 1 mile by crow west of Goat Crest Saddle. Alternatively of continuing north when I hit the brook like Roper mentioned, I followed the less difficult hunting path north west. 

Not wanting to attempt my hand at producing my personal route, I backtrack to the brook. Fortunately the terrain was quite straightforward.

By the time I make it to Goat Crest Saddle it has been two hours. That tends to make my route discovering speed: .75 miles an hour. Excellent to know.

Lastly created it to the major of Goat Crest Saddle


This is a exciting time to point out that Steve Roper didn’t carry a GPS or even a compass. As he wrote:

“Some Sierra travelers constantly carry a compass I have by no means carried out so and have by no means felt deprived. But a compass does not weigh a great deal, and, in a extreme storm with whiteouts, or in the couple of dense, trailless forests encountered, it could prove valuable.” – Steve Roper

Please carry a compass everybody, and know how to use it. A GPS is good also.

Glacier Lakes and Valley

Scrambling outcomes. Perhaps shorts weren’t the very best alternative?

From Goat Crest Saddle I descend down to Glacier Lakes. I descend on the lefthand side, which outcomes in navigating boulder fields and some bushwhacking. 1 point that is exciting about route discovering is that I am by no means positive if I created the suitable choice. There is no a single else out there to evaluate notes with. Even though I did watch Ken and Charlie descend on the righthand side behind me and they seemed to have an less difficult time. 

A couple of hours later, I realized I was missing a single of my smartwater bottles and I assume it fell out although bushwhacking. Typically I pack out so a great deal trash that I come across on trail that I do not really feel also guilty when I accidentally leave a tiny trace. But it is so clean out right here. I haven’t noticed a single piece of trash however! I am at net adverse for littering! 

I hiked by means of Glacier Valley and created my way previous the State Lakes to Horseshoe Lakes. It was three:30pm and I didn’t want to cease however. The subsequent water I could see on my map was a creek on the other side of Gray Pass. Up and more than it is then.

Gray Pass

Searching back towards Horseshoe Meadows as I climb up to Gray Pass

The strategy side of Gray Pass wasn’t undesirable technically, but I was having tired and the quantity of climbing was having to my quads. The descent side of Gray Pass was steep and complete of scree that I sent in each path as I skied down, but at least it was brief. I skirted about on the side of Windy Ridge, attempting not to shed elevation also swiftly.

I reached the creek and set up camp by five:30pm. The campsite had a excellent view, but, like everywhere else now, it was house to swarms of mosquitos. Simply because of the mosquitos, it was however yet another day with no break longer than 15 minutes and no lake swims.

Nowadays I ate much less than 1,00 calories. I ate a single packet of oatmeal (breakfast), a single bar (snack), some electrolytes, and an Annie’s mac and cheese (dinner). I commonly have a low appetite when I am 1st hiking, specially at altitude, but not this low. I packed 11.five days of meals for this 1st section, so I do not have a lot of meals allocated per day. This low appetite is likely very good simply because I need to have to make the meals stretch and this just suggests much more meals for when I am hungry later. Also, I do not have any other altitude sickness symptoms, so I am not worried.

View of Windy Valley from my bivy

Sleep time. Goodnight all.

Affiliate Disclosure

This internet site consists of affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests The Trek may well obtain a percentage of any item or service you buy working with the hyperlinks in the articles or ads. The purchaser pays the identical cost as they would otherwise, and your buy aids to assistance The Trek’s ongoing aim to serve you excellent backpacking guidance and details. Thanks for your assistance!

To understand much more, please go to the About This Internet site web page.


Latest posts