Crabtree Meadows, believe it or not
Ready to take on Whitney in the morning. Ah, that came about pleasantly enough with, uh, sleeping late this morning. Didn’t get out of the tent until the sun was already up in the sky. And ah, didn’t feel too bad about it. We got up and packed up, started walkin along the trail, and uh, the creek we were supposed to run into was frozen over. And so we didn’t have any water for sure, that we could see on the map. It was a little after Cottonwood Pass.
So ah, but I also noticed, looking at the map, that Cottonwood Pass was not the big gnarly climb I thought it would be, but that the PCT actually kinda sneaks around behind it and ah, avoids the steep side. So we went ahead, and ah, did Cottonwood Pass before breakfast. And on the other side of it was ah, Chicken Spring Lake, which I keep wanting to call Spring Chicken Lake. And that had, was ah, kind of partially frozen over, the lake was, but it had a hole in its runoff where we could get some water, and it was pretty much as fresh as you can get and we just drank it without filtering it first. And I still feel pretty good about that. And had a good breakfast there except for the fact that Peter’s pack failed again. Well didn’t fail. Peter before was having trouble with the plastic frame on the waist band of his ah, of his pack. And he’d fixed it before with tons of superglue and nuts and bolts and by, i don’t know, by ah, using little metal pieces brace it. Apparently just the plastic started to tear again. When he looked at this morning at breakfast, it was only a centimeter from being totally through. And so that was not to good of a tiding. But we sat there at breakfast for another hour, hour and a half, and Peter bored some holes through the plastic and tied it together with some of the string we have. I don’t think the plastic actually broke today, but when it does hopefully that will hold it together. I don’t know, it looks like the days may be numbered for Peter’s pack.
So anyway we were behind time wise, and Peter’s pack was in ailment, but, and it was beautiful in the mountains. While he was fixing the pack i watched this marmot across the stream, weho either didn’t know we were there or didn’t care. Oh, he was fat. The fattest, cutest little thing, bounding around just doing nothing. He might’ve been looking for food or something like that but he was just running this way and that, bound bound bound. And he’d stop and his tail, the marmot tail would do this funny little ridiculous looking upward wag. They just wag straight up and straight down. (whoosh, whish) And they do that every time the marmot stops, wag wag, and then the marmot goes again. And he was just you know bouncing around, fat little creature. He got up on a log and started scratching an itch with one back foot, and then started scratching with the other back foot, and then turned around and went at the itch with his teeth. And stopped again, looked around, did that little upward way with his tail. (laugh) Just went on about his day. Made me wonder how a marmot gets so fat up there, what there is to eat. What he does all day besides that. But it was kinda fun.
Then we got rollin again. Around Circue Peak which comes right after Cottonwood Pass, we kinda traversed the back of it and good some views of other mountains. We’re really in the high country here, above 11,000 feet. And ah, we let’s see, oh above Siberian Outpost, there’s this big meadow, that’s like a meadow at 11,000 feet and it drops off at both sides. And it’s called Siberian Outpost and even at the end of may 30, as we are here today, this place is covered in snow, oh it’s just amazing, a big high meadow covered in snow. And so we descend to it and we kinda walk along the side of it where its more treed and not totally covered in snow, but we’re walking over plenty of patches of snow here. And uh, we get tired, Peter’s back starts hurtin, and we stop for lunch. And we think we’re, you know we’ve wasted too much time in the day and we haven’t gone far enough, and that we’re never gonna get to Crabtree. But we eat lunch anyway and we’re in fairly good spirits cause the place is just beautiful. The sun is shining and all that. And ah, we get up start moving again and we were a little bit farther than we had thought. It’s not long before we’re descending down towards Rock Creek, leaving the Siberian Outpost.
Towards the botom of the descent we run into five more hikers. Three of which were male, I believe their names were Justin, Ty, and oh, Ryan, and two girls whos names I totally forgot. And the three guys were through hikers, and they had not moved all day. They said, Oh we were camped here last night, and this was gettin on in the day, and we were thinking we were late. They ask where we’re going, we say Crabtree Meadows. And they say, Oh, thats where we’re going too. And we look at em, they’re just kinda hanging out, I don’t see their packs anywhere, they’re hippy types. No shirts, that kinda thing. It was just kind of funny, we stop and chat for awhile. And then we keep going. And ah, make our way down to the Rock Creek crossing, which we, Rock Creek was swelled up so we didn’t even make it all the way to the crossing, we saw a log that went across and went ahead and took that. And as we’re getting to the other side we look back and our five compadres are bouncing along the log behind us. And we stopped at this point to eat our afternoon snack, to get us up the climb thats coming. And ah, they go past, and you know, they notice our shoes and ask if we have boots and we say, yeah, we’re carrying them. They’re all wearing boots and they go tromping off straight through this marsh, sloosh sloosh. Not even seeming to care whether their feet get wet or not. Strange. But ah, they got, they went off and Pete & I finished our snack and started off in little bit different direction that looked a little bit drier to me. We were walking and eventually I see a couple of them up above us, and I think, Oh, they must have found the trail. So we climb up there, and we climb, and go over, and climb, and there’s no trail there. Then we start conouring around through a bunch of trees and we hear yells from one side, and then the other. And its like they’ve totally gotten broken up and are lost. So I whip out the map, figure out where we are, figure out the quickest (end of side A)
okay, this is still Friday, May 30th, 5 campers are lost, or hikers, or all around us anyway. We figure out the quickest way to the trail, go there, one of em’s found the trail, he’s yellin. There’s four more out there, both, two groups of two. They’re yellin, one’s close, one’s far, just chaos. And it was just funny, so we peeled down and just went ahead of them and let them get their stuff together. Pete stopped to stretch and I just powered up the climb, it was a steep climb, this is climbing up from Rock Creek up the side of Mt. Gollo, I think that’s how it pronounced, anyway, and this is the last pass before Crabtree Meadows, and its like, i don’t know 1500, 1800 foot climb all together, and its steep and i just, boom boom boom, powered up it. It felt good, cause most of the climbs on the PCT are just, you do a little at a time and you walk a looong way and do huge switchbacks. And these were small switchbacks, and they were hard to do, but you felt yourself making progress which was a nice change. And ah, the climb was a two-stager, had like a, a creek crossing with some flat on both sides to give you a rest in the middle. And I waited for Pete, and we did the other half of the climb which was just a rigorous and just as quick, and got up to the saddle on Mt. Gollo. And from there we knew we were going to make it, I mean, it was just, it was a feeling. There was snow, there’s been snow on all the north slopes, and usually those are descents and this was no exception. And ah, we kinda got in some practice foot glacading today, and had a lot of fun doing it. And the rest of the day was basically just that, and taking in some spectacular views, and getting to Crabtree Meadows, which I wasn’t too sure we’d get to. Having time to cook dinner in the light even.
Just as the sun was setting our five compadres passed and are camping pretty near by i think. And we’ll probably all see each other on the ascent of Whitney tommorrow. Oh what terriblew dangers await us on the ascent of Whitney? It’s really not too bad, we’re camped at 10,350 or something like that, and Whitney is 14,491, almost 14,500. So, that gives us a little over 4,000 feet to climb. Well that’s a big climb, but its not too bad. And about 8 and a half miles to do it in. It’s not all even, most of it comes towards the end. I think it will be a full day for us, but if we have good weather… oh we’ll get to wear our boots for the first time. We both put our boots on for the very first time, this trip anyway, in camp tonight, and they both felt, we both felt totally strangled by them. They felt too tight, too stiff, and augh, I could barely walk in mine when I first put em on. But I’ve been walking around the whole time I’ve been making this recording and they’re starin to feel more reasonable to me. I think I can climb a mountain in them tomorrow. So we’re gonna wear the boots and use the ice axe and practice up our winter climbing techniques cause we’ll have to use them tomorrow, or not tomorrow, day after tomorrow, Saturday, we’ll have to use all this stuff Saturday on Forester Pass, the biggie, the monster, Forester Pass, 13,200 feet, Forester Pass. The pictures of it make it look like its cliff steep on both sides (laugh) and caked with ice. So these are the terrible nightmareish images I have of Saturday, but tomorrow I think we’ll just get some practice, we’ll climb some steep snow, we’ll get to use the ice axes a little bit, and ah, if the weather is good we’ll get to climb the highest mountain in the con – tig – you – us U – nited States, so glory hallelujah, and I’ll be back tommorrow with the same type of news cast. This is Dylan Kuhn, signing out.