Though sleeping on a mountain pass is cool, it wasn’t the most comfortable of rests. I spent most of the night with my face pinned against the tent door as I uncontrollably slid off my pad every ten seconds. Early morning several groups summited Pinchot, it was funny hearing their surprise to see us all sleeping among the rocks.
Eventually we descended making good use of the still frozen crust on the snow. After collecting some water the trail took us down steep slopes along pine forests and down towards the infamous Kings River southern fork. On arrival we saw how raging it was and were thankful for the by-pass which guaranteed that we wouldn’t have to attempt a crossing. We followed the river keeping it to our left and slowly climbed rolling snow covered hills.
The ascent towards Mather Pass was long and a slog despite only being a few miles. We would camp just under a mile from it’s summit, but as we gained elevation finding water became a struggle. Near to camp Molly and I found a frozen river we could access using our ice axes, and once loaded, we summited the hill to camp which consisted of a rocky island overlooked by Mather.
Zack, whose original group had summited the pass earlier that day, decided to go up and over in the evening providing us (Funk, Cricket, Ribbit and Nelly included) with entertainment while we ate dinner. In the dull evening light he missed a traverse and ended up climbing 150ft further than he needed up the mountain side before realising his mistake – we all thought he had some genius idea at the time and were fixated on trying to figure out his next move. Getting back on track he passed over Mather without an issue giving us a good idea of what we had in store in the morning.