Camp: CDT mile 744
Elevation at camp: 11800 feet
For the first time in days, we all were up at the same time today. Usually Squirrel and I leave first, and whoever is with us catches up to us around our first break. With the Knife Edge keeping us all on edge, we were up and at em with the sun. Only a mile from the knife edge we got to see a most beautiful sunrise on our way.
When we finally arrived at the Knife Edge, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Though the trail itself was beyond sketchy, people had carved out a lower path that was less scary than half of the stuff we did in the last section. As we waited for the whole group to arrive before hiking on I took some time to admire a most magnificent view.
After making it safely across we continued on through beautiful scenery. Squirrel had gotten ahead of the group so I spent the morning with Handstand, Charge and Cloud. We navigated through some postholing, saw ptarmigan, deer and elk, ate lunch in a hailstorm, glissaded and all the while took in some of the most breathtaking views. The payoff sure is big out here, but man do we work for it.
The scariest pay off the day ended up being a different traverse that ended with a climb up over a cornice. The traverse itself was hard enough, but the vertical climb up a wall of snow was the kicker. I had to keep my mind constantly on the task at hand and never on what could go wrong. My only thoughts were where my hands, feet and ice axe were at every given moment. When it was over, I got a taste of that adrenaline again. My what a mighty fine drug.
After that harrowing experience we sailed through on adrenaline until lunch. We sat in a hailstorm and let the joy of eating distract us. Later we followed a Cliffside of tiny waterfalls until we reached a valley that brought us over to the next set of mountains. Here we had quite the soggy adventure before finding another beautiful camping spot. We still have 3 full days out here too…truly out where very few people ever go. It is pretty amazing.
Dinner: Thanksgiving! I mixed Stovetop, Idahoans, green beans, chicken and cranberries. All that was missing was pumpkin pie and gravy.