The question of the day is whether there will be too much snow on the far side of Shannon Pass to make it over and down the other side. If so, we’ll have at least three extra miles of rough terrain to cover to circumvent it, and probably more the way the miles have been going.
In the morning Ann is in the lead when she gets off the trail. Not knowing this, Pete and I pass her and continue over a rise. Probably about the same time we both figure out something is wrong and blow our whistles, but we’re out of range. We both shift quickly into emergency mode. Ann is the first to find the turn she missed, so she ventures a ways up the correct trail until she sees Pete, and soon we’re all reunited. Perhaps a good reminder of how serious it could be if our small group gets separated up here.
Lester Pass is our gateway to the north end of the range. From here we can see many jagged high peaks, including Fremont Peak. The rest of the day is spent slogging slowly through the jumbled terrain towards them, always wondering how the day will end. The snow cover increases at Jean Lake, and Upper Jean Lake is totally snowbound. By the time we can see the pass it’s almost 8 pm, but we decide to go for it. The pass is gentle, so we can make pretty good time to the other side, but Pete has to scout ahead twice to see if the descent is possible. His final report is that it is “mostly rocks”, and indeed we’re able to pick our way down to Peak Lake with minimal snow exposure. Vastly relieved, we enjoy a mosquito-free night at this high lake.