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Trip taken with Tony Gibson June 30-July 4, 2006 in Kings Canyon NP. 46 miles starting at 5035 ft and reaching a peak of 11,978 ft. at Glen Pass before going back down.
First night, all these deer came around out camp, definately not afraid of us. Big guy sitting right near us like a cat. The day is a success as I have the perfect hammock setup, shoes off, sipping some Finlandia vodka purchased at the duty-free shop on the border of Canada and Montana during the NW Trek.
Third camp at the first Rae Lake had some major mosquitos issues which offset the otherwise nice setting, but we made due by moving around and killing the bastards one-by-one. I smashed them up in my Businessweek I had brought. Nice dome after the sun went down. Another view.
Nice mountain and reflection in the lake as we started our big day of hiking towards the pass. Tony points to where we gotta go. A side view of our favorite dome and a wide shot. Lake before the pass ascent with Tony's hat a bit askew. A look at the entrancing Painted Lady, back across the lake in the direction we had come, and another wider PL shot. A good shot Tony made of the ridge near the pass. The snow begins, and Tony is not looking forward to this.
Climbing in the snow uphill was exhausting. Here's a look back after the first rest. And a look up. Tony tired on the climb up. 3 guys figuring out the way to go. We took careful note since we didn't want to go in the wrong tracks and have to reverse. This did not look fun as the slope looked like the steepest stuff I ski at Squaw. Nice glacier lake before more up. Another direction of the same.
For me, this is the scariest and best shot of the trip as Tony trudges through a particularly steep part of the snow. Shot of myself before the final traverse to the top of the pass. Tony took my camera to take a long shot of me on the slope in the middle of the finishing traverse. I was so glad it was almost over, I didn't realize there was still a tough part ahead and almost slipped a couple times in my excitement to reach the top and drink the 100ml of Candadian duty-free Finlandia Vodka I had rationed for us as a reward. While the snow trekking actually was not as bad as it looked from down low (a thought echoed by others we spoke to at the top) it nonetheless was scary before a slip-up could have resulted in a very long slide down.
At the top of the pass, a look back east and then west in the direction we were to continue that day on some serious decline. There still was snow on the backside, but not nearly as much. Tony contemplates about something at the top. A panoramic movie (6MB) to download of the view up there. We both a swig of the last of my cheap vodka, a lunch of crackers and granola bars, talked with some Polish couple that did research at UC Merced and who took our photo (and we their's) and then headed down. A nice blue glacier lake coming down on the back side. Nice reflection of the tall cliffs in the blue lake on this shot. People coming up the backside. I felt bad for them not only because this way seemed, incredibly, to be even steeper than the way we'd come, but also because they were going to have to go down the trecherous glacier which I would not have enjoyed. After the previously seen patches of snow, it will very dry. I found it amazing how there had been so much snow not long ago, but the elevation drop was quick and this side must have gotten much more sun.
A look back up the backside where we had just came down from. I have no idea where we came from looking at this photo, but it's up there somewhere. Tony approaching one last snow crossing on the backside. Here's me on the finishing side of same part. Nice view of some valley. We still had a long way to go down. Charlotte Lake which we passed as we continued our way down. This day was incredibly painful as the hike was fairly long and it was our 4th day out and we'd gone up some steep and technically challenging slopes and now had to descend for quite some time. Even in pain, though, I could appreciate this nice mountain. Looking in a direction we thankfully were not going, it looked like some trouble was brewing in the ominously dark clouds.
Continuing on, we stopped to take a little rest and have some jolly ranchers at a spot with a very nice meadow. A low-angle view of the meadow. Tony, looking in trouble. A huge pile of rocks from probably hundreds of years of slides as we continue on to the camp that never seemed to come. My feet were killing at this point and I knew I would be hobbling once I'd taken my shoes off.
Nice pinnacles as we are now close to camp. Nice mix of terrain somewhere as daylight fades a bit. A sweet waterfall near the camp. Here's a little movie (5MB) of it showing the forces of this water gushing down the gulley. A nice combo falls pic; close wide one and far off straight-down one. There was still so much water from the winter snow that I'm sure there were many rogue falls that usually are never present on the route we took.
We finally made camp around 5:00 and cleaned our feet in the freezing river. I think I also went fully in since I felt very nasty and it gave me the shivers for a while after I got out. Tony dries his nasty foot off in the tent with his hat. Late day sun lights up the tall rocks towering over the camp site. View in the other direction. Around 7:30, the lighting on the rocks is brilliant. Dusk arrives, but the view is still nice.
I had left my car back up at the park entrance under a tree and it was already seriously scummy from my NW Trek and now had added 5 days of pollen on it. Front, Back. I got a carwash the next weekend and the washers seemed geniunely impressed with the level of filth I had saved up for them to clean.
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