I set out last weekend to get a night in the BB and to lug a backpack up a peak. Later this year, I will be heading up to Donahue Pass (over 10,000 feet) and on down the JMT. As prep for this journey I went to Kaiser Peak Wilderness to do most of the 15 mile loop.
We camped at Nellie Lake. There were two experienced backpackers, one semi-experienced packer, and one first timer. Mr. Somewhat Experienced showed up with a kid's tent, a 4 lb 40 degree bag, no pad, a propane stove with a huge four-five pound can of propane, stainless steel pot... He made it five miles to the lake and went back out to the cars to wait for us the next day.
The rest of us went the whole way round to the second trailhead, where Mr. SE met us with the truck to ferry us back to the cars, which saved us a lot of boring walking through trees.
The temps dropped to the mid-low thirties. We woke to frost everywhere. There were snow banks all around, and the lakes were full. Three of the guys were not prepared with those 40 degree bags - one was testing a Lafuma and pronounced it a summer bag. He had previously borrowed my ray way quilt and liked it quite a lot - he may be willing to pay me to sew him one. I was blissfully warm in my JRB Hudson Rivers, despite skepticism from Mr. OldTimer Backpacker with his Nemo bivy.
Mr. SE did not sleep well and snored like a bear when he did manage some z's. First Timer slept like a rock - to be 20-ish and indestructible once more!
We got up early, made breakfast, and hit the trail for a couple miles, then trudged ever upward to views like this:
One of us carried a mouse to this point from our campsite - he dug for his water filter and liberated the mouse a few miles from home. Hope it wasn't a single mother....
From the top of the peak:
In awe at the view of the Sierra Nevada from 9000 feet:
The guys called it a brain stain trip. It was a blast. I got sore legs out of the deal, but I know now that I can make it over 10,000 feet with my full backpack including bear can. JMT, here I come.