The following were frozen in the morning; socks, shoes, tent, gaiters and water bladder. It took some time to allow these to thaw and to collect more water from the lake, but soon we were off. Today was going to be a 16 mile march to Mt Whitney base (Crabtree camp) and in this snow we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We climbed the ridge surrounding the lake at first and the skirted along the mountain side through pines and snow covered openings. By midday only 5 miles had been made and doubt began to set in. The sighting of a bald eagle gave a huge boost to morale and soon we were descending rapidly towards a less snow covered valley and creek. Having crossed the river we still had 7 miles to go and a few hours left of sunlight.
Molly and I pressed on up a steep climb but were caught out in heavy snows at the top forcing us to shelter below a large pine. We had to make a decision; push on to camp arriving late and gaining only a few hours sleep before tackling Whitney and onwards to Forester Pass the next day (22 mile day), or, cut our losses here and set up tent, missing Whitney the next day but meeting the others at Forester Pass the following evening (12.5 mile day). After some deliberation, we decided to set up camp, choosing enjoyment of the trail over pride of reaching Whitney’s peak. It was a good decision as we realised how tired we were and how that would have accumulated over the course of the next few days, potentially making the already dangerous Forester Pass even more so.