September 29th, 2018
Kearsarge Lakes to Crabtree Meadow
Distance: 21.5 PCT miles plus 2 miles on Kearsarge Pass trail and 1 mile on Whitney Spur Trail
0645 – 1630
I got a later start than Stellar and finally caught up to him at the top of Forester Pass. We only had to do this one and final big pass today, the highest point on the PCT at 13,200′. I had to stop a few times on the way up, as I was feeling pretty low energy. It was probably the weight of my pack dragging me down. The pass wasn’t any harder than the others, just a bit higher.
Stellar took this picture of me struggling up all the switchbacks. NOBOs are able to just glisade down the snow fields in the early summer.
Looking back at the pass…it goes up through the grove in the center
The descent and rest of the way to the spur trail to Whitney were mostly uneventful. We passed many JMT hikers, including the 3 guys that we got a ride to Independence with. We made an early camp at Crabtree Meadow, about 1 mile from the PCT. This would set us up for a 7.5 mile hike to the top of Mt. Whitney early in the morning.
We wanted to arrive for the sunrise, and so would need to leave by about 3:30 am. We could have hiked further to camp at Guitar Lake, but weren’t sure if this was covered under our permit. We decided it would be easier to slack-pack the full distance. We would leave our tents pitched and all our non-essential gear behind. We went to bed even earlier than usual at around 7 pm.