Nancy Pass

Devil’s Postpile to forest camp above Ediza Lake
(13 miles, +4,700/-2,900 feet).

Time for my annual hike with UltraShuffle!  Only this time we added two to our party, MixMaster and UltraShuffle’s son Rainbow T.  We drove up to Mammoth yesterday to acclimatize and then headed off on a section of the Sierra High Route.  Our plan is to hike all the way to Tuolumne and then get the bus back to Mammoth.

We parked near the Village in Mammoth and got the first bus to Devil’s Postpile.

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What’s so funny?
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Devil’s Postpile
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Middle Fork San Joaquin

The morning was cool but sunny as we joined the John Muir Trail briefly and then headed west on the Beck Lakes Trail.

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Ready for adventure
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First taste of Sierra
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Stopping for an autumn meadow
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So pretty!
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Iron Mountain
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Talus!
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Beautiful trail through the talus

We refilled our water bottles just below Superior Lake and then stopped for lunch.

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H 2 0
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UltraShuffle and the lake

After lunch we followed a use trail around the lake and then began our off-trail adventure in earnest.

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Around the lake
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Approaching Nancy Pass (the notch to the right)
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Which way to go?

Nancy Pass was not particularly steep or difficult (aside from one section with some unstable talus where I sent a bowling ball hurtling towards MixMaster!), but there was an annoying bushwhack through the willows on the route we chose that seemed unavoidable.

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UltraShuffle works his way through the weeds
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Rainbow T looks back on our bushwhack

The view from Nancy Pass was pretty stunning.

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Rainbow T gets a better look

We spent the next couple of hours traversing over to the trail just below Minaret Lake

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Meadows below Nancy Pass
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Looking back towards the pass
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Breaktime!
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Snowfields along the way
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More unnamed peaks in the Ritter Range

Some of the traverse was through talus but some of it was also through gorgeous grassy meadows.

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First glimpse of the Minarets
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Heading down through meadows
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Golden grass 
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Wonderful streams

We eventually found the trail to Minaret Lakes.

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Almost there
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Found it!
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Winding around Minaret Lakes

We stopped for another snack break to enjoy the lake.

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Snack time!
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Our view
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Looking back
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Minarets above the lake

After our break we continued around the lakes to a small one on the north side that lay at the base of a golden green meadow that was absolutely glowing in the sun.

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Wow!

Storm clouds were starting to roll in, making me a little nervous since we needed to climb up to Cecile Lake.

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Up to Cecile

There is a massive headwall below Cecile and some people just go straight through it up a class 3 chute.  We chose instead to turn right and do a class 2 climb through steep dusty talus about 100 meters east of the lake

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Our class 2 climb
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Cecile Lake

I mistakenly thought there would be use trails around Cecile and Icerberg lakes, but instead there are massive talus fields that took quite some time to negotiate.  And to make things even a little slower, it started to rain at Iceberg Lake, making things chilly and slippery.

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Cecile Lake
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Iceberg Lake
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Minarets above Iceberg Lake
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Crossing the outlet of Iceberg Lake

By 6pm the rain had mostly stopped and we were looking for a dry place to camp.  We set our sights on the woods above Ediza Lake.

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Looking for a campsite
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A pretty sunset

We found a place where we could spread out to our respective flat spots to set up our tents and bivvys.  After getting set up we rejoined briefly for dinner but we were all quite tired and were in bed a bit before dark.

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Home sweet home!
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