I learned the next morning that we had guessed right -- if it were daytime when we got to camp the previous night, we would have had a beautiful view!
What we would have seen at camp
The next day wasn't easy, although that was mostly our own faults. We decided to do both Mather Pass and Pinchot Pass in one day, and it was going to be a long one. A lot of hikers end up doing this because it's just how the mileage works out.
The ascent up Mather was steep as hell, and my lungs were killing me because we were starting to get very high up. It was weird to know almost nothing about it because everything I'd ever heard about it was about how sketchy it is in the snow. We had encountered almost no snow in the Sierra so far, and Mather was no different.
A beautiful morning for a steep-ass climb
I took a break at the very top of Mather to catch my breath, both from the climb and that spetacular view.
Taking a breather at the top
The descent was beautiful, and I almost felt like I was in a fairy tale or on the moon or something. It was also gradual, so I was appreciative of that after a hellish climb, and knowing I had another big pass coming for me.
A welcomed flat stretch after climbing Mather Pass
Pinchot was also beautiful, but I found it much more painful than Mather, possibly because I had just hiked 10 miles up and down Mather. I admit I liked it less than the other passes I'd encountered in the Sierra thus far. The ascent seemed like it wouldn't be too hard because of the overall elevation and mileage, but the middle third is pretty flat, which just meant the other thirds were almost vertical.
Perfectly placed rocks on this water crossing
Pinchot had some beautiful ponds, though; I only wish I could have stopped at them for a break or for the day, but I still had more miles to go.
I bet a break here would have been lovely
And then that descent. Let's just say I imagine that's got to be a tough climb for NOBOs.
Ending the day on a steep descent
That night, Yahtzee and I camped at a large established campsite with bear boxes next to a suspension hiker bridge. It was the last time I would see her for a while because she was going to continue on ahead while I got off the trail at Bishop to resupply.