We have a big day today with at least seven miles off trail over four passes. Then we connect to and hike out the Bishop Pass trail to Parcher’s Resort for another 5 miles for our resupply and zero day. Parcher’s Resort is 1.2 miles down the road from the Bishop Pass trailhead so it is convenient for us to resupply there and get back on the trail after a zero day. We dropped off resupply buckets before the trip at Parcher’s Resort but could have resupplied in Bishop as there is a shuttle service that takes people from Bishop to both the Bishop Pass trail at South Lake and the Piute Pass trail at North Lake. We need to get to Parcher’s Resort by 6pm if we want to get our resupply buckets tonight.
We find the narrow chute off to the left of Cirque Pass that drops us down 100 feet to granite ramps and a small lake below.
It is a nice little route. I think we are getting the hang of what to look for and how to maneuver over these high passes.
Soon we are working our way up the second pass of the day, Potluck Pass. Up a talus slope to the left and than across granitic ramps to the right to gain the top. Roper gives pretty good general instruction for these passes.
The next pass is only 1/2 mile away and we don’t lose or gain much elevation to get there. It is an easy one: Inconspicuous Pass. Then we drop down into Barrett Lake and leave the Sierra High Route as we head toward Thunderbolt Pass, our fourth pass of the day. This is an alternate route that will take us to the Bishop Pass Trail so we can hike out to Parcher’s Resort.
Thunderbolt Pass is easy to hike up from the south side and is well named. Dark magnesium-rich igneous rock is criss-crossed with dikes of lighter, more granite-like material. These “white streaks” look like lightning has been frozen into the rocks. The violent story of another time.
On the other side of Thunderbolt Pass is a massive boulder field. Ray and I slow down through this part – boulder hopping doesn’t happen fast.
Eventually we are on Bishop Pass, our fifth and last pass of the day. Here we are back on the “hiker’s highway” and down we drop in elevation, passing Bishop Lakes.
We make it to Parcher’s Resort by 4:30pm and are able to get our resupply buckets before the office closes at 6pm.