Sierra High Route – Day 10 (16 miles)
We expected a storm today and because we are in the middle of the high Palisade Basin we got up just before sunrise to make sure that we would be at a lower elevation. Maybe even find some trees for shelter.
The Palisades are so beautiful. One of the peaks is the third highest in the Sierras, with another couple in the top ten. Their peaks towering over the surrounding landscape.
We had 3 passes to get over in the first 3 miles.
We passed the lake we slept near and headed for the first. When we arrived it looked simple. It almost had a series of ramps to the top. The other side, however, was a bit harder. We had to descend on a steep scree slope and my injured ankle did not like this at all.
I tried to strap it this morning but it seems that my tape has frozen and lost all its stickiness.
The second was called inconspicuous saddle and was low and very straightforward. It was hardly even a climb to the top.
The third was also straightforward going up and most of the way down. Right near the bottom, there is a 300ft (100m) cliff that we had to get by. It involved finding the right breaks in the rock so we could get past.
It was also hard because I kept getting distracted by the upcoming lakes and valley. The lakes had some morning light still reflecting off them and made the whole valley breathtaking.
There were a couple of moves in getting to the bottom, but the main problem we faced was trying to find the dry rock. When we could it was fairly easy going.
We had lunch at the bottom and there met three guys going north on the SHR. We talked for a few minutes before they continued on.
SB and I were now on the PCT again heading up to Mather Pass. It was nice to be on a well-groomed trail. We got over the pass and I could hardly recognise it without all the snow.
On the way down I managed to roll my ankle again. It is so weak!
Just as I was about to turn off the PCT I ran into 3 sisters. They were the first people I met on the PCT this year. We chatted for a while, catching up on how they have been. Eventually, the wind picked up and we all got too cold and decided to move on.
SB and I headed right off the trail towards Frozen Lake and the last pass of the day.
This is one of the loose rock passes we have to get over. It was scree the whole way up. I think we stayed further right than what the guidebook advised and went up the talus and transferred to the pass near the top. I stuck my head over the top to see down. The wind was so strong I almost lost my hat.
I backed off and had some food in the shelter before heading down.
We then entered the lakes basin. It was awesome! Big lakes, small lakes and puddles were everywhere.
We worked our way through the maze as we headed down to Miriam Lake.
About half a mile early, I found a sheltered spot from the wind among a group of trees. I suggested we stop here just in case the missing storm rolls in tonight.