Quote of the day: “Have your eyes ever seen so much beauty at once?” – Molly. Waking up early was made easy by the murderous call of some mammal in the bush next to our tent, a marmot perhaps. As soon as everything was packed we began the ascent up Mather Pass with the snow perfectly hard for our spikes to dig in. It was a beautiful assortment of problem solving, from steep vertical climbs to bouldering sections at high elevation and a long traverse across avalanche slopes. Adrenaline was high and we all smashed it with ease, rewarded by the beautiful summit views. The crusted snow made for a smooth descent too, and before we knew it we were passing by a frozen lake and turning a corner into a grand valley filled with waterfalls, snowless forest, and meandering rivers. We were in awe of this new landscape and thoroughly enjoyed the pace that we could achieve on dry land.

At midday we had lunch under a juniper alongside the river as it fell into a meander creating a small pool for us to dip in. COLD! But refreshing and the rocks heated and dried us nicely. From here on it was uphill back towards the snow line and Muir Pass. After stumbling upon a herd of 8 young buck 🦌 we passed by Nelly, Tom, Nick, Gilligan and Elrab camping down outside a wood cabin. Though tempting we pushed on another mile or two till we reached the snow line and camped below a tree with a calling male grouse – he called all night!