On Day 5 we traveled cross country through some of the most remote and beautiful areas of the High Sierra.
I was amazed at how lightweight my entire sleep 'system' was. . . it was easy to move my pad, sleeping quilt, pillow and ground sheet in the middle of the night over to another section of the lakefront. For once I wasn't the one waking up the camp with my snoring (which I have been known to do often, according to my wife). Dan must have slept well since he was the one waking me up in the morning. I must have been a little out of it as I lost my water bottle while wandering around half awake.
My leg was feeling a little better. I had started a new morning routine of stretching and using my bear canister to roll out my sore inner/upper left leg. I must have looked a little strange rolling on top of my bear canister trying to get some relief from what felt like a hernia. I was grateful to be in this amazing place and was resolved not to ruin the experience for my hiking buddy. Soon we were off for another beautiful day on the SHR.
Today the plan was to take an easy half day and explore Lake Basin. We wandered along the north side of Cartridge Creek and passed several lakes and tarns. I can't adequately describe the beauty of this place. It felt like a gift that had been offered from nature, only available to those willing to work to find it. While taking a break we decided to just keep going and see if we could make it over Frozen Lake Pass before dark. We were both a little anxious about this pass as it is described as one of the most challenging on the route. If needed we would camp at the lake just below the pass and be ready first thing tomorrow.
|Looking back at Red Pass and the chute to Marion Lake from Lake Basin.|
During the hike up toward the pass I finally found my mountain legs. Somehow I could jump between large boulders with ease while avoiding the single angle of incline that sparked serious pain in my upper/inner left leg. We made it to the base of the pass and decided to go for it.
|Heading to Frozen Lake Pass.|
Dan took the lead and contoured along the boulder field from left to right below the pass. As we neared the top another possible route became visible which involved a shorter more immediate steep incline directly below the pass. While making my way toward the pass I was reminded of the stinging pain that was waiting to strike whenever I hit that wrong angle of incline. Dan was polite and waited for me at the base of the final climb. The panoramic views from the top of the pass made it all worthwhile.
|The boulder field to Frozen Lake Pass.|
|Final route to Frozen Lake Pass.|
After signing the register we started down the steep east side of the pass. I had practiced on some challenging class III passes earlier in the summer and the loose scree and boulders at the top of Fozen Lake Pass were not as bad as I had expected. Slow and steady we made it to the lake.
|Signing the register at the top of the pass.|
|The view west, back toward Lake Basin, from Frozen Lake Pass.|
|The view east from Fozen Lake Pass. Upper Basin and Split Mountain.|
|The steep east side of Frozen Lake Pass.|
|East side of Frozen Lake Pass.|
|The not so frozen lake below Frozen Lake Pass.|
Roper accurately describes the second boulder field that leads from the lake down to Upper Basin as an unexpected challenge after already crossing the long scree, talus and boulders below the pass.
|The final boulder field from Frozen Lake to Upper Basin.|
|Split Mountain from Upper Basin.|
|Signs of declining water levels in late season.|
|Cowboy camping in Upper Basin.|