Racing Past Whitney

Rock Creek (PCT mile 760) to Tyndall Creek (mile 774.7)
(14.7 miles, +3,600/-2,400 feet).

I slept pretty well last night, though it’s always a little annoying to deal with cold and wet shoes, socks, clothes, tents, and sleeping bags.  I was also starting to worry about Forester and felt the need to cover lots of miles to get set up for an early morning climb tomorrow.

However, on the bright side, I discovered a bonus for camping near the ranger cabin: a privy!

I finished my business and was on trail by 5:30am.  It was swampy and icy in some places as the trail wound its way around Rock Creek.

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Swamp infrastructure
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Ice, ice baby

My first task today was to cross Rock Creek, which was no easy task.  The creek is already raging from the snow melt and I had a hard time finding a log to cross it.  When I finally did find it, I mistakenly thought I should walk across it.  I was terrified until I realized I could just crawl on all fours, which was super easy.

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Bridge of death
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Made it!

Next I needed to climb up to Guyot Pass.

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Mount Guyot
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Trail to the pass
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Pretty pair
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Guyot Pass
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Mount Guyot
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Alpine view

A little below the pass is a big meadow called Guyot Flat.  I shortcut the PCT again here, walking across the snow covered field.

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Guyot Flat
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Flat out amazing!
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Mount over flat
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Red Spur in the distance

As I descended toward Whitney Creek, I got my first glimpse of Mount Whitney.

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A distant glimpse

The descent wasn’t always pretty — I spent as much time sliding as hiking.

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Whee!

I found a nice shady spot next to Whitney Creek for lunch.  It was extremely calm, in stark contrast to all the other raging creeks I have been passing so far.  I counted trout as I lazed on the shore.

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Serene
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Whitney peeking on the left

After lunch I climbed up to Sandy Meadow, which offered beautiful views of the Kaweah, where Ultrashuffle and I hiked last summer.

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Kaweah

I exited the meadow and was at least a quarter mile off the trail when I discovered a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  It indicated another sign 30 feet off the ground that is apparently used in the snow survey:

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Your cooperation is requested
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That would be a lot of snow

On the descent to Wallace Creek I passed through a few more meadows.

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Follow the footprints
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More meadow
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Even more

I faced another steep slide down towards Wallace Creek but I was getting used to it so I didn’t fall as much.

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Tributary of Wallace Creek from above
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From below
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Another tributary

There were no logs to cross Wallace Creek, but the summer crossing had a nice dam of rocks that calmed the water making for an easy thigh-deep ford.

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Wallace Creek ford

The ascent out of Wallace Creek was on a south facing slope, so it was actually dry for a little while.

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Pleasantly dusty

After a short climb, the trail crossed Wright Creek, which was raging.  Fortunately there was a snow bridge upstream.

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Wright Creek
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Tawny Point?

A long slow ascent brought me to the Bighorn Plateau, a series of meadows that gradually flattens out into a pass below Tawny Point.

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Looking Back towards Whitney
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Mountains
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More Mountains
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Hey what’s going on?
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Mounts Young, Hale, and Russel
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A small tarn under the snow near the pass
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Tawny Point
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A rare dry patch

After the pass, the long slow climb turned into a long slow descent towards Tyndall Creek.

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A mushy traverse

I was out of water, so very glad to find an opening at the outlet from some lakes above Tyndall Creek.

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Precious!

Tyndall Creek had many snow bridges, so I crossed over and looked for a place to camp.  Mount Tyndall would guard me as I slept.

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Mount Tyndall
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Home for the night

Sleeping on snow is not so bad.  I brought a closed cell pad in addition to my neoair, so I stayed warm.  It is, however, annoying to deal with getting in and out of the tent and keeping things dry (well, minimizing the wet anyway).  I ate dinner with my shoes on but placed outside the tent so I could finish my nightly chores afterwards before taking them off for good for the evening.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Jawbone says:

    Boo! It’s me again! Oh good grief….the image of navigating the ‘bridge of death’! And ‘pleasantly dusty’! Ha! Great read!

    Forgive me if you’ve stated your plans, but how far north are you going?

    Till next time
    Jann (Janet Good)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. JimmyJam says:

      I got out at Kearsarge Pass / Onion Valley. That’s enough for me until the snow melts and the waters calm down a bit!

      Like

      1. Jawbone says:

        Have you done the Ancient Bristlecones in the Inyo/White Mtn range?

        Like

      2. JimmyJam says:

        Not yet — Bristlecone is on the list.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jawbone says:

    Probably the best move!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jawbone says:

      Ok, I lied! The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is my favorite place. Pines aside, it is other-worldly! The 25 mile dirt road out of Schulman Grove to the locked gate above Patriarch Grove is fabulous. Rough and ragged in areas, but then wide and serene through moonscape terrain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jawbone says:

    I hope this finds you settling comfortably off-trail.

    Like

  4. I not only enjoy your pics, they are highly informative along with your descriptions. I am planning a two-weeker just wandering throughout SEKI NP’s at beginning of July, starting from Horseshoe. The snow should have dissipated significantly by then, but streams may be brutal to cross now that I see the snow at higher elevs. Thanks much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      Thanks so much! My buddy and I have a trip to Tablelands coming up at end of June, so we’ll be facing some similar challenges I suspect. Do be safe — streams will be peaking in the next few weeks.

      Like

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