There is a lake at 11,616 feet below Frozen Lake Pass. We stop for a break and discuss what route to take to the pass.
The talus pile is huge with boulders mostly the size of small cars. There is a cliff and ridge towards the top that looks like a good place to traverse the last part to the pass. Ray and I spread out and take our own paths up towards the top. That way we at least avoid sending large boulders down on each other.
I am glad that my pack is lightweight and snug to my back. With only 2 days of food left for this section, and one liter of water, my pack probably only weighs 21 pounds or so. It is saving me right now, I think to myself as I take another 5-foot jump across from one Subaru-sized rock to another the size of a Volkswagen bus.
It is beautiful at the top; the sparkle of the “frozen” lake below which is not so frozen anymore. And the rockpile – my God, we have to go down that?? Luckily there is still a sizable snowfield so once we get past the steep, unstable rock, we can slide our way down to the lake.
Made it. It wasn’t so bad after all. I quite enjoyed the snowfield!
By afternoon, we are on the John Muir Trail working our way to the top of Mather Pass. It is easy back and forth switchbacks to the top. After this morning and Frozen Lake Pass, I think any trail is easy. At least you know where you are going and don’t have car- and house-sized boulders to climb over.
There are lots of people on the trail, many with heavy packs. A ranger at the top of Mather Pass checks our permit. He also tells us that they have closed Yosemite because of the fires. The last part of our hike is through Yosemite so Ray and I start to wonder if we can complete our hike. We will have to see what happens over the next few weeks.
We have to climb up several ledges that are a little tricky but eventually stop at a small lake about 400 feet below Cirque Pass. A whiff of smoke is in the air as we drift off to sleep.