14.5 miles (23km)
11000 foot camp (673.6) to Frozen Lake Camp (688.1)
3am. My alarm sounds. What kind of craziness am I getting myself into. I had a plan. Wake early, make some miles while the snow is hard then take any bonus miles I can get when the snow becomes soft.
It was a surprisingly warm morning. Actually it was freezing cold but I guess I expected much worse. As expected the snow was easy to hike on and we made fast miles in the early hours.
The morning glow started around 5am. And the views were world class. It wasn’t long before we started to climb up to 12000 lung busting feet. From that point the whole trail was snow. We made good miles up until about 10am. At that point the snow became soft and we opted to use our snow shoes. Neither of us have used them before and it wasn’t long before we got the hang of them.
As the day progressed the snow got softer and our progress slowed. I started to wonder if it was just better to start early, walk fast then set up camp at lunch time. The effort we expended was hardly worth the forward progress.
Throughout the course of the day we used all our extra snow gear. The ice axe and microspikes were used on a particularly nasty short ascent. The snowshoes were used most of the day.
Camp was next to a frozen lake. All of the lakes we passed today were frozen. We found a very small patch of soil among the sea of snow. We did set up camp early. By the time we had eaten and got ready for bed it was 6.30pm. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this exhausted.