“It’s sixes, really.” –Papa Klebenow
We awake with the wind. Howl, howl, howling all through the night. I would hear the flap of the rain fly and awake with a startled gasp. I had been dreaming that the almighty wind had pushed my tent over the edge of the cliff that we were staying above. The wind was relentless. It was so strong. A hint of the oncoming sun was motivation to rise. This morning we could hear no birds. It was cold, a second motivation to move. Choking down freeze-dried eggs smothered in hot sauce is a hard thing to do at five in the morning; however when your body is that hungry for calories it doesn’t really matter. Soon enough we are loaded with our packs and moving forward. My eyes aren’t quite awake at this point; they still had that sleepy feeling. I suppose that made the steep climb less of a focus. Up we went. We kept staring at the forever-tall Glen Pass. The switchbacks were impressive. The snow was soft because of wind, however slick, icy tracks from previous travelers froze because of the temperature. What a challenge that was to get up a steep bank of snow under these conditions. Falling was not an option; we could not risk getting hurt like that here. A giant gust of wind about took me off of the edge when I came around a corner. The walking sticks I had quickly dug into the ground and saved my-now very awake, focused, and alert self. After an hour and a half we reach the summit. Lakes upon lakes upon lakes adorned the earth below. Clouds whisking by dominated the sky. Walking along the ridgeline of Glenn Pass was something we did quickly, forcing our way through the gusts. The views were astonishing, absolutely astonishing. Here is where I run out of words to describe the mountains. What a steep and impressive memory I have.
Down, down, down. A quick walk down and up got us the eleven miles to our next feat: Forester Pass. Little did we know that we would have the time, energy, strength, and motive to complete them both that day. Our strength and confidence in our ability and bodies hadn’t yet been this high.
Forester Pass lies at 13,200 feet. It was not easy, but certainly not our most challenging. How far we had come! The weather and trek through the snow was quite the opposite from this morning. Clear skies welcomed us at the top. Up and down once again, only to camp in more wind.