Wow what a place! I still can’t get over the amount of water, snow, trees, green stuff there is here! We wake at Rock Creek at 4am to catch the solid snow. We only have a short day planned today, maybe 6.5 miles, but we know how unpredictable snow hiking and river crossings can be.
The morning starts with a steep 450m climb up to Guyot Pass. It’s relatively straight forward with less snow and visible trail conditions (with mostly south facing slopes). We cross Guyot Creek, halfway up on a small ice bridge and keep heading to the Pass for breakfast. We boil coffee for everyone. We are all feeling good about the easy morning and elevation gained.
Sunrise from Guyot Pass
Yesterday Quiz had a rough day, with some steep downs navigated with crampons. She has decided she wants to turn back and I am going to go with her. We decide instead of leaving at Rock Creek, on a bad note, we will walk the miles to Whitney Creek and maybe I could do Whitney the next day and then head back after. We both like the sound of this plan and so we proceed to Whitney Creek.
The second half of the morning is spent crossing snow filled meadows and wooded spurs. The walking is easy with firm snow and sometimes the suncups actually help as little foot holes (though other times they make walking very slippery and slow). We walk across a high meadow and turn a corner East to head down to Crab Tree Meadow. What we see are stunning views of Mt Whitney and we are all really excited for tomorrow.
The decent into Crab Tree Meadow is our first steep but safe decent. We all glissade (butt slide) down to the Creek. We arrive Whitney Creek at 10:30am!the Creek is wide and has flooded the whole Meadow. It looks spectacular with a reflective rippling surface. 100 yards down stream of where the PCT crosses the Creek we find some fallen logs. I (Pinecone) am the first to cross on my log! Once over I go and help Phoebe and Perk wade across back up at the trail. The water is 7 degrees, not too bad.
The campsite north side of the meadow is spectacular, the best we have had! Perched on a raised peninsular in a now flooded meadow, with rocks for lounging and even a family of Marmots to keep us entertained. When we arrive one of the marmots of is standing erect, like a meerkat, making chirping noises down at the meadow. We look out and see a coyote running around on the ice, digging up food. We watch the interplay for a while between the coyote’s scavenging and the marmots distress call. In all very insightful. We spend the rest of the day exploring the nearby waterfall, spotted by Princess Layers and get an early night for the big day up Whitney tomorrow.
Crab Tree Meadow flooded by Whitney Creek.