Mather pass

PCT Day 53 Mather Pass

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8th June 2015

Mileage 16.9

Kings River Camp (811.4) to Grouse Meadow Camp (828.3) via Mather Pass

From my first steps out of camp in the morning I knew I felt stronger and more energetic than yesterday. KC, Outland and I followed the trail through the meadows, pine forests, across streams and eventually to the alpine areas above the treeline. Our goal was Mather Pass, at 12037 feet.

Mather Pass

Mather Pass is 12037 feet. The climb over Mather Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail or Jon Muir Trail is one of the toughest and longest days on the trail. We hiked over 16 miles with 1000s of feet of elevation gain and loss for the day.

The 3 of us arrived at Mather Pass just after 10am. We absorbed the views of the peaks, lakes and valleys from whence we came and studied the landscapes ahead. It was 11am when the last of our ragtag crew of hikers stumbled to the top of the pass. The descent was a combination of slushy snow and rock until the trail finally revealed itself.

Once down from Mather Pass the scenery was better than any I have seen so far. To the west of the pass were jagged snow covered spires. Avalanche debris littered the lower slopes. Past the spires were glacial carved valleys, the rocks polished smooth. Below was a clear blue alpine lake. I spotted hundreds of trout in the lake, one of the small streams was crowded with trout. This lake was stunning, I could have easily set up the tent and stayed for several days.

I continued down the golden staircase into the u shaped valley. Again the views of the mountains were stunning.  The valley slowly crowded in with shrubs then trees until we made our camp in the pleasant Grouse Valley. Deer and Bears were in the valley. Mrs Smith went for a toilet break near camp only to find herself 5 yards away from a Bear. They looked at each other then went their separate ways! The bear seemed unconcerned but Mrs Smith was.

For the first time on the hike we had a campfire. All very social, except when I went to bed early. Sleep should come easily tonight.

starting the climb up Mather Pass
Plenty of water from the stream on the climb up Mather Pass
mather pass switchbacks near the top
10am
the top of mather pass
mather pass
Marmot at the summit of Mather Pass
mather pass
descending mather pass in the snow
snow on the trail
awesome views on the PCT / JMT
smelling the flowers on the PCT / JMT
Kings Canyon on the PCT / JMT
The views, oh the views
Kings Canyon on the PCT / JMT
Trout in the lake on the PCT / JMT
Ready for the next climb
Descent into the campsite for the night
camp for the night
fire at camp tonight
warm and toasty

Next : Day 54 Muir Pass

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