(1) driving across the San Joaquin Valley sucks, no
matter what time on Friday you do it.
(2) Monitor Pass open, and bone dry. Watch for deer!
(3) Resisted the temptation to peel off at Bridgeport
due to heavy eyes, 395 southward to June Lake.
(4) Parked at the June Lake SCE plant, hiked the tram to
Agnew and Gem Lakes in non-existent to patchy snow.
Donned skis above the dam at Gem Lake.
This photos is from above Agnew Lake. Been hiking over 1,000' now with
skis on my back. A report on thebackcountry.net indicates
that somebody skinned up this a week ago. Melting
After farting around trying to figure out the best way
around the maze below the dam at Gem Lake (and wasting
a climb up to the top of the *wrong* end of the dam),
I made it over and down to the lakeshore. At 8:30am,
it was still cold and looking solid. I skated across a
small section, then cut a very steep skin track up to
Clark Lakes. From the pass just above the lakes, I saw
the objective (looking pretty freaking far away too).
A closer look on zoom. Banner in front, Ritter tucked
behind. My ultimate goal was the glacier on the left
with the huge avy crowns.
Looking over to Mt. Davis, San Joaquin middle fork in
the foreground. Had to drop down and then climb back
up around that little nub in the center foreground.
Turned the corner at Thousand Island Lake and, with
some creative self-timer skills, headed up towards the
Looking towards the border of Yosemite NP. Rodgers
Peak is the snowy one on the left. Mt. Lyell,
Yosemite's highest, is tucked back there too.
Near the outlet of Thousand Island Lake, the John Muir
Trail is looking significantly less snowbound than
last May. This is just below 10K, and the lakes are
already opening up big time.
Rest stop #1
Thousand Island Lake basin. The largest quietest place
I've been in long time. No wind, no bugs, no people,
no nada. In fact, in two days, I not only didn't see
another person, once I left Gem Lake I didn't see
another track. Yep, California's way too crowded.
Better move to Wasangeles or Wolf Creek Pass.
I skirted the southern shore of the lake, then a
mellow skin up to the saddle overlooking neighbor
Garnet Lake. Another action shot cresting the ridge,
with a significantly higher and steeper ridgeline to
cross still ahead. First view of the Minarets now, and
the day is just killing it.
After a tough and sketchy skin across the head of the
canyon, I make it to the perfect spot -- just below
the ridge and overlooking Nydiver Lakes, with a drop
dead view of the Minarets.
Although it is only 2:30, I proclaim this to be the
spot to set up camp and chill for the rest of the day,
and what a sweet camp it is.
Looking at tomorrow's route up the SE glacier of
Ritter. Huge slides have swept this entire side of the
mountain clean, scouring parts of the glacier right
down to blue ice.
Sunshine, no wind, and a decent view. This is most