Once in a while, we get a trip that comes in that is off the beaten path and offers a chance at something new and adventurous. Last week, Bob Miller returned to SMC with an ambitious plan to hike into the less travelled Miter Basin, south of the Whitney Zone, to climb some of the high peaks which surround the basin. Having never climbed any of these peaks myself, I was excited to get out and see some new areas, and onsight guide in new terrain.
Miter Basin is approximately 11 miles in from the Horseshoe Meadows trailhead, no matter if you go over New Army or Cottonwood Pass, so the food dehydrating prep and the lightweight tester gear I had made the packs nice and light on the way in. Sadly, when we arrived at the parking lot the skies had just opened up and the rain was torrential. Thank God for the umbrellas.
Hours of hiking in the rain got us to our camp in the basin, and we got enough of a clearing to dry out briefly. Before the thunder and lightening arrived again and gave us a fireworks show through the night that we won't soon forget!
The weather was a factor on this trip, for sure. We woke up late on a couple mornings, having to wait for the morning showers to clear out before committing to our peak of the day, and we had to hustle a bit more than normal to get things done before the afternoon storms unleashed again, but despite these concerns, we had opportunities to climb every day, so we were successful in our ascents of Mt. Pickering (13,474), Mt. LeConte (13,960+), and Mt. McAdie (13,799).
Each day saw us commute through lush alpine meadows and past deep azure lakes, teeming with large golden trout, and our routes were often interesting adventures through complex rocky terrain, with amazing views, especially north to the Whitney Massif.
After 3 days of peak bagging we had to head back, managing to reach the trailhead just in time to avoid the first of the afternoon thundershowers, with new experiences to recall and new objectives to look forward to.