Day 44: Chicken Springs Lake

From mile 746.4 to Chicken Springs Lake mile 750.8

4.4 miles does not sound like much but it sure felt like it.

For openers I did not sleep well last night because I was cold.  Being on snow makes a huge difference.  By 3am I was getting chilled from underneath.  Finally I moved the air mattress to the bottom, with the foam pad on top of it.  I also put my down coat under my hips and that helped.

We slept in and did not start walking until 9.  The trail was all snow and very tough.  No trail was actually visible.  We look at our maps and try to follow the general route.  Much of the time we were on the side of a steep slope where every step risked a slide down.  The snow isn’t nice and even either.  We were constantly climbing up and over 10 foot high drifts.  Also, trees and boulders make obsticals  because if you step near them you may sink way in.

Poles and crampons were a must but even those 3/4 inch spikes did not prevent slipping.

It took us 4.5 hours to go 4.4 miles.  Felt luke a 20 mile day.  We passed Cottonwood Pass and made it to Chicken Springs Lake at 1:30.  Beautiful spot.  At 11,200 feet and still mostly frozen.  We found a little spot of bare earth just big enough for a couple of tents.

We lounged and cooked and other members of the class arrived.  Just before dark Ned Tibbets, the snow skills instructor, arrived.  Class starts at 6am.