JMT Day 15: Pinchot Pass & Rae Lakes

On Pinchot Pass
On Pinchot Pass

Last night was the first time I felt a bit cold.

It was 5°C (41°F) inside the tent, but what’s worse is that I had some rather wet nights recently, either rainy or close to lakes. My sleeping bag seems to have soaked up some moisture and hence lost insulation.

Overall I didn’t sleep too well, besides drying the sleeping bag I will have to find a solution on what to use as cushion, my fleece jacket is not really working.

This day starts exactly like yesterday: I’m just below a pass, with blue sky above, but the sun has not reached the campsite yet, which makes it chilly. So I go for a delayed breakfast again and get on the trail at 6:45 am.

Lake Marjorie in the morning
Lake Marjorie in the morning

Meanwhile it is no surprise that the ascent to the pass is easy. I manage to arrive at the top of Pinchot Pass at the same moment the sunlight reaches it. Again the view is just amazing.

On top of Pinchot Pass
On top of Pinchot Pass
View from Pinchot Pass
View from Pinchot Pass

First I am alone for a while, then – like yesterday on Mather Pass – Sherry and her boyfriend arrive.

Happy on Pinchot Pass
Happy on Pinchot Pass
The view to the south of Pinchot Pass
The view to the south of Pinchot Pass
Elevation of Mather Pass (translates to 3697m)
Elevation of Mather Pass (translates to 3697m)

On top I take an extended break – that’s what gipfelrast stands for!

Just before I leave my three fellow campers arrive. I descend and make a stop at one of the many lakes there, have breakfast and dry my tent and sleeping bag in the sun. An hour passes, I get overtaken by many hikers, also Frederick passes by and we have a chat.

Detail
Detail

There is also a guy wearing very fragile looking sandals – I’ve seen him before on Muir Pass, he apparently walked all the way in these shoes. And to top that half an hour later I meet a hiker who is walking barefoot. Oh dear.

Looking back up Pinchot Pass
Looking back up Pinchot Pass
Colourful mountains
Colourful mountains
An unnamed lake
An unnamed lake
On the trail
On the trail

Before entering Woods Creek canyon I meet Kevin and his friends again, filtering water. I do that as well, now follows a long descend and in the canyon the water is rather inaccessible from the trail.

Which way to go?
Which way to go?
Entering Woods Creek Canyon
Entering Woods Creek Canyon
Woods Creek
Woods Creek

At the suspension bridge over Woods Creek I meet the three guys I camped with last night. After seeing them for maybe over a week now I finally get to know their names: The father’s is Rob and the sons are called Peter and John.

But on the trail they are known as „The Father with two sons“. Thru-hiking a trail like this must be a great father-son adventure!

We have an interesting talk about Austrian geography: In which part is Strasbourg and does Austria border France? To be fair, they get a lot of facts right as well. For Americans all those tiny countries in Europe must be really confusing…

Crossing Woods Creek via the "Golden Gate of the Sierras"
Crossing Woods Creek via the „Golden Gate of the Sierras“
The Golden Gate of the Sierras
The Golden Gate of the Sierras

The wooden bridge is quite impressive and also a bit bouncy but fun to cross – one person at a time!

From now on it is only uphill to today’s destination. As many hikers seem to target Rae Lakes for tonight, everybody is eager to arrive there early to get a good campsite.

Since Mather Pass most hikers are doing one pass per day and so people have synchronized their pace. Hence I keep seeing the same faces again and again.

On the trail
On the trail
On the way up to Rae Lakes
On the way up to Rae Lakes

At Dollar Lake a lot of people are taking a swim. It is very tempting to make a break here, but I delay swimming for an hour until I reach Rae Lakes.

Dollar Lake
Dollar Lake
South fork of Woods Creek with Fin Dome in the background
South fork of Woods Creek with Fin Dome in the background
Fin Dome
Fin Dome

As it turns out there are plenty of campsites at Rae Lakes. There are three big lakes and I find a beautiful site on a little plateau on the small isthmus between Lower and Middle Rae Lake.

My campsite at Rae Lakes
My campsite at Rae Lakes

This is probably the most scenic campsite I had on the trail. So many hikers have told me how beautiful it is at Rae Lakes – they definitely have not exaggerated.

Once more I camp alone, even though there is another tent maybe 80 meters away. But neither they nor me bother to walk over.

Rae Lakes
Rae Lakes

I finally have a swim, it takes me while to get into the cold water (I guesstimate it’s around 17°C) but once I’m in it is just great and refreshing – and also feels good to wash off the dirt from the trail.

After swimming I prepare dinner and I see Kevin and his friends pass by on the trail, for how long will we keep leapfrogging each other? He wanted to hike slow, my goal was to speed up – it seems that neither of our plans is really working…

The "Painted Lady"
The „Painted Lady“
Rae Lakes
Rae Lakes

After over two weeks on the trail today is the first evening where I manage to stay awake long enough to see the stars and the Milky Way. So far I have always fallen asleep very early or the sky was cloudy.

The starlit sky is really impressive once you’re away from the light pollution from the cities. For me this is one of the highlights of sleeping in the outdoors and I was really looking forward to this.

It comes to mind that I haven’t had cell phone service since leaving Vermillion Valley Resort. I’m wondering if there will be reception on Glen Pass tomorrow, just to let those at home know that I am still alive and well…

Distance hiked on JMT: 14.2 mi / 22.9 km
Elevation gained: 3000 feet / 900 meters
Time spent hiking (including breaks): 8:30 h (estimated)

Maps of Day 15:

Lake Marjorie - Pinchot Pass - Woods Creek - Rae Lakes (part 1)
Lake Marjorie – Pinchot Pass – Woods Creek – Rae Lakes (part 1)
Lake Marjorie - Pinchot Pass - Woods Creek - Rae Lakes (part 2)
Lake Marjorie – Pinchot Pass – Woods Creek – Rae Lakes (part 2)
Lake Marjorie - Pinchot Pass - Woods Creek - Rae Lakes (part 3)
Lake Marjorie – Pinchot Pass – Woods Creek – Rae Lakes (part 3)
<<< Day 14: Mather Pass – Epic! <<< Day 15 >>> Day 16: Glen Pass & Bubbs Creek >>>


🙂 Vergiss nicht, den Artikel zu teilen, wenn er dir gefallen hat!

🙂 Mehr davon? Hol dir den Newsletter!

Abonniere jetzt den kostenlosen gipfelrast-Newsletter und du wirst über neue Artikel sofort informiert!

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.