Day 47, 13 miles – 10 hours
All the other hikers were leaving the Sierras through Kearsarge Pass down to Lone Pine and Bishop. The three of us decided to go over the next pass. Glen Pass, 12,000 feet. How hard could it be?
We set out late. It was the usual up hill trail, slowly hiking on more snow. Another hiker, Venture, who we hadn’t met before, came up and joined us. My gloves were still wet so I was bare handed. The ascent was steep and challenging. As we got to the top, the snow really started to come down.
We followed foot steps as it got steeper and steeper downward till the footsteps disappeared into deep powder over a sheer ice cliff. That’s when things got frightening very fast. We were stuck on a steep slope and could not go back up. We all wanted to.
Venture chipped away at the ice with his ice axe to make footsteps. We crawled down the icy ladder on hands and feet, for hundreds of feet. It was snowing hard now. If we slipped we would fall off the cliff. I’m not being dramatic when I say I’ve never been so afraid for my life. It was painstakingly slow. We slid down the last 200 feet on our butts.
That was it! We are so done. We were so scared. No more passes. We all agreed, we have to leave the Sierras. It’s way too dangerous.
It was an exhausting hike through deep snow to Woods creek where we could camp at 9,000 feet. There was a locked ranger cabin where we stopped to eat and dry off on the small log deck.
At Woods creek we all retreated quickly to our tents. It snowed and ice rained all night, making the decision to evacuate an easy one. Another hiker, Sweet Virginia, had tried to hike over the next pass, Pinchot, and had to turn back. She is a brave chick, but she is scared and will be leaving with us in the morning.