|Marc and Me at the Tuolumne Meadows Permit Office starting off on our adventure.|
|On our way up Lyell Canyon to Donohue Pass|
|Looking back to where we came, still going up Lyell Canyon.|
|Me at the Lyell Headwaters, right before we start the grind up to Donohue Pass at 11050 ft.|
|Looking back at Lyell Canyon from Donohue.|
|It was awesome up there.|
|Alpine stream where we cooked lunch on the other side of the pass.|
|The views were out of this world.|
|Thousand island lake with Banner Peak in the distance.|
|Garnet Lake, just on the other side of Island Pass.|
|Rock we decided to climb, very fun. That is Marc at the top.|
|The trees looked totally different.|
|View from our dinner cooking spot at our Garnet Lake camp.|
Sleep was tough. I don't know if I really got any "deep" sleep the whole trip, but every morning I woke up, I woke up refreshed and ready to go, so it must have been enough. Both nights we camped around 9500 ft. The first night when I would start to doze my heart would start pounding through my chest, like it didn't know what I was trying to do. But at some point in the night it calmed down, and all was good. No more issues.
|Nice place to eat dinner.|
|Devil's Postpile, totally weird.|
|This is what the top of Devil's Postpile looked like.|
|That is hexagonal rubble.|
|Gladys Lake, where we camped at the first night. This was on our way back.|
|Water falls where we cooked breakfast.|
|Cool views as we ascended from Shadow Lake.|
|View of Alpine Meadow that we are climbing from. This trail was made out of a pile of rocks.|
|Looking south from Donohue Pass.|
|Back down at the headwaters.|
|Looking down to Lyell.|
|Day 3 views from first ridge we climbed.|
|Strange rock formation, one among many.|
|We decided to climb some more rocks, this was where we got 360 degree views. Probably one of the funnest part of the trip.|
|Another Alpine lake that we were passing on the way to Vogelsang. This is where we cooked lunch.|
|View of the shore from the water.|
|Got to test out my camera's underwater skills, pretty sweet.|
|Our last descent into Lyell Canyon and back to the car.|
|Beautiful water features nearing in on Tuolumne Meadows.|
Finally, here is a compilation of the various video clips that I took while on this trip:
I think we went 80-some miles in all this trip. It is hard to tell for sure because of all of our side trips, but we covered a lot of ground in two and a half days. This was likely the last chance that we had to do the high sierra trip this year, it was supposed to snow Monday. We will be back!
- I used basically the same gear from the Santa Cruz Mountains Fastpacking Adventure, so I am only going to list the gear here that is of note for this particular application:
- Jetboil Sol Stove: A-. Did it's job extremely well. Very nice for two people because of the insanely fast boil times(which are supposed to increase with altitude- but was still super fast). The igniter was not instantaneous at the higher elevations, sometimes it took several tries before it actually worked. Still heavier than other options.
- REI Minimalist Bivy: B. Upgraded from B- from Santa Cruz because it was better for the colder weather, it actually served a purpose. From what I read, these bivies add 5 to 10 degrees to your sleeping bags temperature rating. It got sub freezing at night, and I was fine. Still have not gotten to test it out in precipitation.
- Inertia X-Lite sleeping pad: B-. Upgraded from C+ because I got to pick my sleeping spot this trip, which allowed the other 1/4 of my unpadded body to be comfortable.
- Zissou Lite Nautical Long Sleeping Bag: A. It got really cold, and I was comfortable. It is rated for 28 degrees- I am not sure what that means: comfortable at 28, survivable at 28? But it was 28 or colder, and I was fine.
- Gossamer Gear Gorilla Pack: A-. Upgraded form B+ because I am figuring it out. I found that the sternum strap doesn't do anything for me, the wide shoulder straps take a natural position on my shoulders, and I have no issues. I still have to figure out how to keep the shoulder straps from slipping through the clasps as easily as they do, but I will figure out a solution.
- MSR Hyperflow water filter: A. I used it a lot more this trip, basically because our only water sources were from the land(not water fountains). Most likely was not necessary because this was about the cleanest water I have ever seen, but it is a good precaution- and doesn't detract from the awesome taste of the water.
- Outdoor Research Ultra Light Ditty Sacks: A. Total upgrade from left over grocery bags. It was nice to have the different colors and sizes so I knew exactly what was what. They seemed durable enough, no holes or tears in the three days of running and repacking and squishing and all of that stuff.
- Black Diamond Ultra Distance Hiking Poles: A+. Still about my favorite piece of gear. Marc got a pair for this trip, and he was as skeptical as I was about them, but was a quick convert. Trekking poles are for real, and these are about the best for fastpacking!
- GU: B. Still Gu.
- Cliff Bars/Lara Bars/Mojo Bars: B+. Took a little different approach to the energy bars this trip. Went to Trader Joe's and ran down their energy bar selection, and took one of each. Worked great- but in the end, they all tasted the same. Kinda a let-down.
- Trail Mix: A-. Same as SC
- Jerky: A-. Downgraded from SC because we got some organic stuff that just ended up being a copy of the generic grocery store jerky like Jack Links or something like that. I would have preferred something that tasted a little more real- whatever that means.
- Backpacker Pantry Lasagna: D. Terrible, don't do it.
- Backpacker Pantry Chana Masala: B+. Actually not bad. The indian food selections are usually real ingredients, no preservatives(because Indian food ingredients are mostly natural preservatives), and tastes not bad.
- AlpineAire Foods Broccoli Beef: B-. Meh.
- Loaded Oatmeal: A. Same as SC
- Dried Pear Slices: A. A nice mixup. More evidence that variety is king when backpacking!
- Every morning we would wake up, pack up as fast as possible(because we were freezing), and get moving. We would then pick a nice spot to cook our first meal of the day. Until then it was energy bars, trail mix, etc.
- We woke up pretty much with the sun on this trip. It was nice to have a little light when we hit the trail. This does take away from the potential ground that we might have been able to cover for that day.
- Still running about 40% of the time. Even at altitude, downhill running is pretty much an effortless task and should be implemented to cover the most ground possible.
- I didn't weigh my pack this trip, but used everything from last trip except got rid of: extra gas canister and extra headlight. Had about the same amount of food. So I am guessing that I was still around 23 lbs, even split between water/food, pack/gear.
- Marc carried the Bear Canister (which is basically the smallest, lightest one on the approved list for the JMT), so I carried the stove/pot/gas, and water filter. I think it was a pretty even tradeoff. This shows the benefits of doing fastpacking with a partner or two.
- We usually stopped to camp just as the sun was setting. This made it nice for picking a spot, and doing chores while there was still some light. Again, this is a convenience in fastpacking, there is nothing that should keep you from continuing to move in the dark to cover trail.
- I would say that our pace was actually pretty similar to when Toshi and I did Santa Cruz Mountains. Even with altitude. 10 miles in 3 hours should be doable no matter what the mountains throw at us(unless it is 10 miles uphill- which I haven't run into yet).