Shoulder Season Gear List - 2015

Let the Gram Gods rejoice! The latest gear list has finally arrived for all of us gearheads out there interested in keeping our packs lightweight while having some fun in the backcountry during the colder shoulder season. Only use lightweight gear if you have the experience and skills necessary to stay safe, warm and well fed in the backcountry:

Horseshoe Meadows Loop - September 2015

Sly Blue Lake in Miter Basin.

Horseshoe Meadows Loop 2015

Cottonwood Pass - Guyout Pass - Crabtree Pass - New Army Pass

I always keep backpack ready just in case the opportunity arises to get away for a weekend in the High Sierra . . . so when the mountain gods provided an opening last weekend I grabbed my gear and headed for the backcountry. 

It wasn't long before I found myself reciting the necessary regulations to the ranger, "six to eight inches, durable surfaces, bear canister, one hundred feet, carry out all trash". There was no need to speak in complete sentences, he knew that I knew the deal. The ranger hardly looked up while handing me a permit for the Cottonwood Pass trail out of Horseshoe Meadows. 

I left the Cottonwood Pass trailhead at 1:00 pm on Friday and followed the familiar sandy trail toward the pass at 11,140 feet. After a few hours I joined the Pacific Crest Trail and headed north toward Crabtree Meadow. 

Just before the Chicken Spring Lake I was surprised to meet a few PCT hikers. They were going southbound from Canada to Mexico and appeared to be well seasoned hikers. As we chatted one of them commented, "that's a small pack your carrying". I was traveling with one of my smallest homemade packs as part of a minimalist setup; only 12 pounds with gear, food and fuel for three days. 

We talked for a while but I didn't linger too long, I wanted to make the 20 miles to Crabtree Meadow before dark. . .