Our ascent over Forester was done in sunny weather, but soon the weather changed and we found ourselves about to cross Glen Pass (around 12,000 feet) in the evening with snow coming down on us. Crossing Forester had drained me physically and taken an insane amount of time to cover a few miles. Plus, crossing passes in the evening in soft semi-melted snow is a lot scarier and more slippery than in the early morning. So…we camped at 10-11,000 ft below the pass next to a windy lake only to have 6 inches of snow dump on us. We looked out through the crack between our floorless tarp and the ground to see snow pile around us. Shoes and backpacks we used to line the gap between the tarp-tent and the ground had to be dug out of the snow. With the new snow and a white-out, it was impossible to follow footprints of have any idea where the trail went. After going the wrong direction, we used the map to find the steep gap in the mountains where we assumed the trail went. Our response: “We go over *that*?!?”
The decent down was hairier. We trailblazed new footprints down the 45 degree angle decent in a white-out, the only thought coming to my mind was “Avalanche.” By the time we got down, we had barely eaten or drank anything since it had been too cold to stop to do either. The sun came out and we dried our soaking gear, only for it to start raining again. In fact, almost everyday in the Sierra, it rained or snowed on us and it’s cold at even 10,000 feet!
Liz "Snorkel" Thomas
Liz Thomas is a well-traveled adventure athlete most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States. While not on trail, Liz lives in Denver, Colorado.