This morning is was by far the most brutally cold morning I have ever spent camping. The sun couldn't come up fast enough. We all milled around camp trying to warm up, and avoid having to pack up and hike.
I finally got going with the intent to camp just below cottonwood pass, it's only 12 miles or so.
The hiking today was gorgeous. No wind or breeze and mostly flat cruising at high altitude. Several people in our group have some weird stomach bug and several more are getting altitude sickness. I feel pretty damn good. I thought the altitude would exhaust me more but it hasn't...yet.
The trail was good until about mile 8 where we hit north slopes covered in snow. There is no trail to be found. Getting through deep slushy snow slows everything down considerably. Maps are basically pointless now, and GPS is the only way to navigate through the woods. It took me an hour to go .4 miles. That's a terrible pace and we have to make sure we don't run out of food. Whitney and Forester Pass are still in our way to getting to the next town: Bishop.
After 10 hours of hiking we made camp just below Cottonwood Pass and it's amazingly beautiful. 11,200 feet: the second highest place I've ever slept. I found a cool rock cliff to catch a sunset of snow covered northern peaks we are headed towards. I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. This deep cold and unforgiving terrain humble me every second. The beauty of this place is impossible to describe.