At 04:30 morning chores began. An early start was necessary to take on Forester Pass before the snow got too slushy, and with everything done and dusted, we all got going around 06:00. The walk to the pass took us through an open and exposed landscape that gradually gained elevation and entered the bowl in which Forester stood tall. The snow had not frozen that night meaning each step sunk a foot or two into the snow doubling the energy expenditure. Around 08:00 the four of us (Cricket and Funk included) were at the base of the switchback climb to the infamous snow chute of the pass.
Looking up at what’s to come was nerve wracking, but there was this incredible adrenaline rush that was pushing us forward. We zig-zagged our way up using ice axe and trekking pole to steady ourselves against the steep slope. Molly was the first to take on the chute, and though she mistakenly looked down half way across, she made it over with ease. I was next, and then Funk and Cricket. Being a tall boy, Funk had trouble passing beneath a low overhanging rock at the start of the chute and was forced onto his knees to pass below it. Besides this however, we made it across smoothly and found ourselves at the top of the final steep climb in no time. We were now in the highest point of the PCT: 13,200 ft.
Now the descent was to come, taking us down 3000 ft to Kings Canyon. We post-holed and glissaded our way down the steep ridges and before we new it we were among the canyon forest. All around us was evidence of avalanche, and we could even hear a few going off in the surrounding mountains. The trail followed a river through the pine wood within which we eventually settled for camp. Exhausted and exhilarated from the day we tucked down for naps and food. SOBO had joined a group doing the pass behind us but came and sat with us at camp to share stories of the experience. It was a truly amazing day and we had a visit to Bishop planned for the next day or two which was well earned 💪.