Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back to the Rigi Hochflue

We tried the Rigi Hochflue four years ago but ended up not finishing the hike (Greg slammed his knee into a rock and that evaporated his self-confidence for the scrambling with steep drop-offs on either side). We took advantage of a great-weather day to go back.
view down to lake Lucerne
We followed the same route as last time: starting the hiking in Brunnen, then up, up, through the woods and then through the fields, up, up past the top of the gondola at Timpel, to the ridge. After a short snack break we continue along the top, skipping the Gottertli this time, to the turnoff for the blue-white path to the Hochflue. Now up, up again, again with good scrambling and drops to either or both sides, past the spot we turned around last time, cross the saddle to the main ridge (there are people climbing below us... an interesting one to think about), and then up, up the last bit to the main ridge. We've progressed a lot in the last four years (particularly Greg's self-confidence), and the route isn't particularly tricky, so it's all good fun. :-) On the ridge we continue for a bit until we find a good spot with views to the South for our lunch break. Now it's along the ridge until we get to the end with its cross and loads of people (we haven't seen many people, but there are multiple blue-white paths up). After some picture taking and a bit of waiting for the ladder to clear, we head down the ladder to the North. Now it's down, down, down, past a number of groups coming up, no scrambling this way, until we hit the G├Ątterli. This is, much to Greg's disappointment, closed, so there are no refreshing beverages to be had. We've got two choices here and opt for heading to Goldau (more efficient route home). More down, down, down, along an interesting path through the woods, down, through town, to the station and the train back to Basel.
views and lots of people
more views and even more people....

The track:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Thousand Islands Lake to Agnew Meadows

Banner Peak reflections in Thousand Island Lake
 Another day-out hike...

We have a somewhat leisurely start and are underway shortly after 8:30. We're following a use trail around the lake, so it's easy going. This combined with the short day and the number of people we start seeing once we're closer to the outlet (boy this lake is popular) leads Greg to an overly enthusiastic pace. Andrea points this out, so he winds it back. ;-)
hiking around Thousand Island Lake
After leaving the lake, the trail leads us down beside the outlet stream (not much in it) and into the woods. At the High-trail/River-trail junction we opt for the shorter, easier River trail. Down, down we go, under the trees, on the dusty (very dusty) trail. There are a surprising (to us at least) number of people about, going in both directions, particularly after we pass the junction with the trail that goes up to Shadow Lake and Lake Ediza. Mostly we're under the trees, but there are some bits exposed to the sun, with manzanita around, reminiscent of hiking Henry Coe (except there's a breeze).
dusty descent under the trees
Back at Agnew Meadows we cram all the stuff into our little rental car, head to Devil's Postpile to drop Chris and his stuff at his car, then head back to Mammoth to check into the hotel, shower, unpack a bit, and then go out for a big, late lunch.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Lake Ediza to Thousand Islands Lake

Underway by around 8:30, we head up the same wooded slope that Andrea and I had climbed the day before on the way to Ritter. We continue past the beginning of the gully until the slope up to the Nydiver Lakes is visible to our right. In front of us there are a couple of people with a tent and someone else is crossing the talus towards Ritter's face. Curious, we watch this for a while, wondering what they are up to, until they start to scramble up the face and then begin climbing. Obviously a solo climber. Wonder how far they're going; we won't know, because we're moving on. We finish the last bit of climb to the first of the Nydiver Lakes and admire it for a bit. Here we finalize the decision that we're going to take the longer route around the crest to Garnet Lake instead of taking Roper's White Bark Pass (with its promised loose-talus descent). Onwards, around the first and second lakes, down a bit to a couple of tarns.
heading off in the morning in front of Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak
reflections in Nydiver Lake

A short break at the last of these and then we head cross-country steeply down into the next valley, past some old exploratory mining trenches (at least that's what we think they are), to about 3020m. Here we contour a bit around the valley wall before climbing the other side, steeply up through nice-smelling trees and scrub until we hit the broad ridge. Cross this ridge with some dried-up tarns and then lovely Garnet comes into view. We take a lunch break in a shaded spot with nice views over Garnet and then descend to the shore of the lake itself. Here we pump a bit of water (not-so-nice-tasting water) and then, since Garnet's shores are not walkable, climb back up a bit to the first shelf to get to the west end. Along the way we go by Roper's pass... sure enough, it looks loose and possibly unpleasant. Now we climb up a bit to the first crest, where the pass over to Thousand Island Lake becomes visible. Onwards, past a couple tarns, to get to the slope leading up to that pass. We traverse this on the diagonal, including some very enjoyable large-talus hopping, to reach the pass itself. From here there's a nice view down to the west end of the lake. We plan our campsite strategy to optimize morning sun and then set off along a clear use trail down to the shore. This leads us around the end of the lake (between it and a couple of tarns) and then onto a broad meadow of sorts (probably marshy when things are wet). We go past a group of camping fishermen, spot a bunch of Belding's ground squirrels (mis-identified at the time as prairie dogs), and finally get to an area where there are some trees and large rocks. Here we scout around a bit until we find a good campsite, set up camp, pump water, wash, and do all the usual things. As the sun vanishes behind the wall of mountains behind us, we get a new surprise: howling coyotes. What a wild sound. Hope they don't come visit.
Garnet Lake
campsite at Thousand Island Lake
 After dinner we stroll around the empty, and mostly empty, ponds and tarns that scatter the complicated landscape around us.

Dinner: broccoli cheddar soup with chipotle and cumin; mashed potatoes with curry and salami.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Climbing Mt. Ritter

When we were camping around Lake Ediza years ago we ran into a couple who were on their way up to climb Mt. Ritter. At the time that seemed like a rather strange thing to be doing... how times have changed for us. ;-)

While planning this trip we looked into climbing Ritter and decided that it was feasible for us and that we didn't need to carry too much extra equipment with us; crampons and ice axes would be adequate. So we planned an extra day at Ediza to allow us to give it a try. Monday's rain caused some doubts, but there were no clouds in the sky when we got up, so we packed minimal packs and set off. Our intent was to follow the so-called Clyde Variation, as described here.

We start by heading up the slope to the lovely bowl between Ritter-Banner and the Nydiver Lakes. There's no use trail on our side of the stream, but it's easy enough to pick a route through the woods and then, higher up, the meadow until we reach the bottom of the "Lower Gully". Along the way we spot a group of 4-5 deer who aren't overly concerned by our presence. Of course there's not even a trace of snow in the gully at this point, so we make our way up the steep grass/gravel/talus until we're at the top. We proceed there to make what seems to be exactly the same mistake described in the linked report and, by not turning right sharply enough, end up in terrain that's more difficult than planned. With a bit of careful scrambling and following Andrea's simple guidance: "there's no higher point on the map than where we're headed, so as long as we keep going up everything's fine" we top out and head towards the "Upper SE Snowbowl"; this has a bit of snow left on the steeper slopes, but is otherwise just loose talus with rock-covered ice at the bottom. We navigate the moraine-like side of this until down on the ice, put on the crampons, and then head to the chute that takes us to the "SE Col". This starts very loose and gravelly, so we leave the crampons on (they are great in loose gravel) until we're up on more stable rock. As we reach the top of the col, we realize that the "snow" wall that's been visible for quite a while (and that we saw on other days) is, in fact, ice.

From the col our plan is to get onto the glacier, traverse down a bit to a gap in the rock spine splitting the two pieces of glacier from each other, then head up and around the "three-toed buttress", following Alan Ritter's description. The problem is that we need to first get onto the glacier. In order to do that we have to get from the rock up a 3-4m vertical wall of ice. This is a problem. Our ice skills are not the best (not much practice), we have the wrong equipment (our ice axes are really not ideal for vertical climbing), we don't have anything with us to belay the transfer, the ice is pretty rotten, and the consequences of a fall are bad (~10m onto the rocks in an inaccessible narrow crevasse between the glacier and the cliff). Removing any one of those and we might have done it, but the combination was too much: we decided that we couldn't safely make the transition. We also rejected the option of starting on the ice on the col side and heading over the ridge to the transition: we weren't comfortable with the long stretch of exposed bare ice. Looking down, it's clear that the Alan Ritter's SE glacier route is not only doable, but the glacier has shrunk enough that it's probably doable without crampons. We picked the wrong route. Would we have known this if we had remembered to ask at the ranger station when we picked up our backcountry permits? Who knows. After a break and some gnashing of our teeth, we turn around and head back down.
testing the ice
parts of Ritter's South-East-glacier

view down onto Ediza Lake and Shadow Lake
We end up scrambling down beside the col instead of descending the steep talus/gravel bit. Back at the edge of the "snowbowl" we enjoy the fantastic views for a bit, then head down the correct (=nice talus hopping instead of scrambling) route to the top of the Lower Gully. Rather than continue back the way we came up, we opt to loop around and descend the head of the valley that lies to the West of Ediza (where we camped). This fun descent (including chancing upon a very curious buck who is too impatient for us to leave to run away) leads us to the valley floor, where we contour around, past a not-yet-dry tarn, and then climb up to the ridge overlooking Iceberg Lake. What a view of the lake, the wall up to Lake Cecile, and the Minarets! After enjoying the views for a while, we head back down to our tents where we do all the usual end-of-day stuff.
rest after a long day
Post-dinner stroll back up to the end of the meadow.

Dinner: chicken-noodle soup; freeze-dried chili with cous-cous added.

Track (there are all kinds of problems with the bits close to cliffs when viewed at high zoom levels):

Monday, September 08, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Minarets Lake to Lake Ediza

Rain the night before and clouds; climb to ridge over Lake Cecile on obvious use trail past a small tarn; nice views from ridge, people on other side in saddle, lots of talus; traverse talus to saddle, passing people coming other way with dog; break in saddle, scouting two possible routes, choosing one near outlet; descent along obvious use trail from outlet, no real scrambling, not at all hairy; pass couple coming other way with dog with hiking booties (!); no snow field to cross this time; lunch break on shore of lake enjoying views despite the clouds; continue to meadow above Ediza by following a use trail left of the main trail from outlet; scout around a bit, find a camp spot, pitch tents just as rain starts.
Longish break since we're there pretty early and it's raining; go for walk along slope to Nydiver Lake; wait out short rain fall under some trees; Andrea, fed up with the rain, goes back; Greg and Chris continue to reconnoiter the beginning of tomorrow's Ritter climb; come back on use trail on other side of main stream; have "challenges" finding a crossing (rocks are super slippery because of the rain) and end up crossing on a broken log bridge almost all the way down at Ediza.

Dinner; post-dinner stroll down to Ediza; dramatic "sunset" because of clouds, but no further rain.
Dinner: broccoli-cheddar soup, cous-cous with toasted sambar and salami.
campsite underneath the Minarets
on the way to Cecile Lake
talus hopping along Cecile Lake
steep descent to Iceberg Lake


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Returning to Lake Ediza: Devil's Postpile to Minarets Lake

Drop our rental car at Agnew Meadows trailhead;  drive with Chris to Devil's Postpile, start hiking.

Follow clearly marked trail towards JMT and PCT; make one route-finding mistake due to interesting signage, catch it within 100m; up, up through the forest, going from shelf to shelf. Clear, heavily used trail, not too many people. Tantalizing, though somewhat infrequent, views until we are right on top of Minarets Lake. Packs are, as always on the first day, heavy, but the day is short.

Scout around for a while to find a good campsite; end up with something nice in a meadow above the lake and to its east. Optimized for wind shelter and morning sun.

See several deer on the slopes up to the cliffs above us; they don't seem much concerned by our presence.

Post-dinner stroll around the lake; see a few other people; scary clouds coming in make for very nice pictures.
climbing up towards Minaret Lake
short break in front of Minarets

Minaret Lake

Minaret Lake with Minarets behind it

Dinner: Chicken noodle soup (a different kind, much better); mashed potatoes with salami and garlic.


Returning to Lake Ediza: Overview

Five days backpacking in Ansel Adams National Wilderness with our friend Chris.

We visited Lake Ediza with Chris nine years ago. This time we did the hike in the other direction and added some extras. After nine years there should be some extras. :-)

The days:
  1. Devil's Postpile to Minarets Lake
  2. Minarets Lake to Lake Ediza
  3. Climbing Mt. Ritter
  4. Lake Ediza to Thousand Island Lake
  5. Thousand Island Lake to Agnew Meadows
Aside from the addition of crampons and ice axes for the Ritter climb, our packs were more-or-less the same as what we had with us for the six days on the SHR. We also followed the same frequent-snacking-instead-of-lunch strategy.

Friday, September 05, 2014

A piece of the Sierra High Route: Granite Park to Pine Creek trailhead

We aren't perfectly situated for morning sun (another way of looking at this is that our planning was perfect but the sun just rose in the wrong place), but we still get sun while getting everything packed up. We're underway by 8:15. Today is almost entirely down, down, down. We start in light forest on a nice clear path with good views back; easy going. As we get lower the trees get denser until we're clearly in a pine forest. We pass a few lakes and, at Lower Pine Lake, see the first people we've seen since day one (not counting that guy we barely noticed on day two). At Lower Pine Lake we also get close to the crazy striped mountain we've been watching the whole way down, play a bit in the striped boulders, and collect a small souvenir rock.
Honeymoon Lake with the Striped Mountain in the background
striped boulders in front of Striped Mountain

After a bit more through the forest we hit the main descent. The day you hike out is never particularly great, but this last descent on an old mining road, switchbacking slowly down the mountain in the sun, is really not something to think more about. We do see some cool flowers and a great tree stump along the way. The last bit to the trailhead is through a nice mixed forest. We find that our car is still there, nothing inopportune has happened to it and it starts; yay! We change clothes, load everything in the car, and drive off.
looking down onto the end of the road and Pine Creek trailhead
We stop in Bishop for lunch at the same place we had dinner the night before we left (greg has been thinking about the pie that he didn't eat at that dinner), do some shopping and then drive to Mammoth Lakes where we check into our hotel and take long, much appreciated showers. At both lunch and dinner we end up eating way more than usual... what a huge surprise! :-)


Thursday, September 04, 2014

A piece of the Sierra High Route: Black Bear Lake to Granite Park

We're in a campsite where morning sun is not going to happen, so we do breakfast and packing in the shade and are underway by 8:15 again. We start by heading to the foot of Black Bear Lake and then head up the slope to the sandy saddle overlooking White Bear Lake (also very attractive!). Here we turn off to the right and leave the "official" Sierra High Route to head up along a use trail to Dancing Bear Pass. There are lots, and lots, and lots of good views on the way up.
View down to White Bear Lake
From the long, narrow, flat Dancing Bear Pass we see Italy Pass for the first time. At first it seems much too close, so we're not completely convinced we've identified it correctly but once we reach the far side of the pass it's clear. From the end of the pass we have a great view of Jumble Lake, Mt. Julius Caesar, etc. We can also see the long talus slope that we'll need to traverse to get to Italy Pass. We do some route planning and then start walking. What a blast! A bit more than an hour of concentrated route finding and talus hopping, with spectacular views, we're in heaven. :-) This will be our last real "High Sierra" view for this trip, so we do plenty of short breaks for gawking.
Talus slope on the way to Italy Pass
At Italy Pass we take a short break and have a snack while sucking in the views. We convince ourselves that we do, in fact, have enough water to be able to climb up to Mt. Julius Caesar (there had been some question about this). So off we go. This is alternatingly fun talus scrambling and irritating sand/gravel slogging. There are "use trails" everywhere that don't particularly help. We quickly give up on those and pick our own route up to the saddle beside the main peak. Greg is having a blast with the boulder scrambling, so he makes the last bit way trickier than it needs to be. Andrea takes a more sensible route that can also be used to descend (Greg's route: not so much). At the peak we have views that beggar description. The mountain is both high and prominent, so nothing really gets in the way of the 360 degree views... this is why we do this kind of stuff (well... the scrambling is fun too). After loads of of gawking and photos and some snacks we bid the views adieu and make our way down.
View South from Mt. Julius Caesar
Back at the pass we have lunch and then put the packs back on and descend the other side of Italy Pass towards Granite Park. Now we're mostly on use trails, then real trails and it's almost too easy... we can do "walk and gawk" again. At the first lake we pump some water and then continue our descent. As we get lower, the vegetation changes, trees reappear, and it gets nice and green to contrast with the granite. Eventually we decide that we're both more than tired enough and it's time to stop. We pick a campsite likely to have morning sun, with great views and do all the normal end-of-the-day stuff.
Campsite in Granit Park
Dinner: chix noodle soup with chipotle and cumin. Freeze-dried chili (not too bad, maybe worth eating again). Something random with couscous, cheese, and garlic.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A piece of the Sierra High Route: La Salle Lake to Black Bear Lake

After a breakfast in shadows (we really didn't do a great job of evaluating sunrise/sunset for this site), we pump some water, pack up, and get underway by 8:15. We head up to La Salle Lake (another nice one) then follow a use trail up to the saddle at its inlet. Now we follow a mostly dry stream up through some very nice meadow until we spot the unnamed lake under Mt. Royce. Here we turn left and make our way up, up the granite slabs and sand and talus to Feather Pass. Here the views are just awesome so we take an extended break and lots of pictures. Feather Peak is theoretically possible from here, but it looks a bit hairy, so we skip it (a decision borne out when we get another view of the ridge and realize how long it is). The route down the other side of the pass takes some finding, but greg scouts ahead and picks out a way through the first steep bit that doesn't have anything nasty in it. We put on the packs and enjoy the fun, steep pass descent. Nothing particularly critical, just fun.
Reflection in La Salle Lake
Scouting out the route down from Feather Pass
At the bottom, next to the first of the Bear Lakes, we have an extended lunch break enjoying the views back to the Feather Pass and the crazy granite spires that are the continuation of the Feather Peak ridge. After lunch it's onward and downward until we reach the first of the bigger Bear Lakes (Bear Paw). These lakes are absolutely fantastic: they're deep enough to be really blue and have green around them as well as steep rocks. We walk by with lots of wows. At Ursa Lake we decide to continue up to Black Bear Lake despite Roper's description of it as austere. We figure that doing a bit of extra distance today will help with tomorrow and if the lake is really not nice, we can always come back down to Ursa.

Up, up we go until we top out near the outlet from Black Bear Lake. We follow this, past a potential campsite, to the lake itself. I'm not quite sure what Roper meant by "austere". True, there's not a lot of green around the lake, but it's still mighty attractive; the island in the middle is particularly cool. We search around for a while to find a good tent site and end up back at the first one we had noticed. We believe that we'll have long sun in the evening here; morning is unfortunately going to be shaded. We pitch the tent, pump water, wash, and then rest for a bit. Our pre-dinner stroll takes us to a couple of really nice view spots of the Bear Lakes (these are the most attractive set of lakes we see this trip; they are really something) and then a spot above Black Bear Lake where we can appreciate it properly (nice!). After some hanging out and picture taking we do our soup course and then some more gawking. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ridge (to the East of us), there are some big clouds building. This leads to scary thoughts. We haven't really seen much at all in the way of clouds on this trip: yesterday one teeny one, the two days before nothing, today a few puffy ones. These are... thought provoking... in a bad way.
Bear Lakes Basin with Feather Pass on the left

Preparing dinner in the evening sun
After the main dinner course and washing up we do another walk back to the point over Black Bear Lake to enjoy those views and the sunset (after which all the clouds vanish... yay!) then go back to the tent where we write (using the rock wall as a standing desk) and then head to bed.

Dinner: broccoli cheddar soup with chipotle. Mashed potatoes with salami, garlic, porcini.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A piece of the Sierra High Route: Puppet Lake Basin to tarn below La Salle Lake

Today we're efficient and are underway shortly after 8am. We head across the basin and then descend to Elba Lake, where we pump water while watching fish jump. From there it's down, down through a pine forest (back under the treeline) until we hit the bottom of French Canyon and pick up a real trail. No bears are encountered in the dark pine forest. We follow the trail for a while (so weird to be on a well-used trail again), dipping under 3000m (the lowest point of the trip), until we turn off on a faint trail that takes us up, up the other side of the canyon.
French Canyon with Merriam Peak
We're following decent trail through nice woods, next to a burbling stream. Nice! About halfway up we stop for a snack break and then continue up, up. The trail dumps us in a spectacular meadow surrounded by steep, dramatic mountains. We find a good place to sit and soak it all in for a while. We pump a bit of water, chance upon some teeny frogs, have lunch, and discuss just staying here since it's so nice. In the end we decide that it's too early to stop for the day, so we continue.
Meadow below Merriam Lake

Onward and upward, along another faint use trail beside the stream.  After a bit of climbing we hit the beautiful Merriam Lake. This one actually has sand beaches. Wow! What a lake. Another "should we stop early?" discussion, but we again decide to continue. The route along the shore of the lake has a clear use trail (yep, lots of people have Roper's book!) that leads us steeply up the wall of the cirque next to the inlet. Nice steep hike up, spotting a giant grasshopper along the way, and then we continue along the on-again, off-again faint use trail to the tarns that fill this basin.
Looking down onto Merriam Lake
We ditch the packs next to the last tarn (at ~ 3400m) and explore a bit to find the best tent spot. Upon retrieving our packs we have the third "stay or go?" discussion of the day. This time we opt for "stay". We pitch the tent, pump some water in a cool little alcove with a small waterfall (must be very cool when the water level isn't super low), and then set off on a walk. This takes us up the valley a bit more and then up to a ridge where we hoped to have spectacular views. Unfortunately, there's another ridge in front of this. Not to be thwarted by such minor things, we do the obvious and contour around to the second ridge. Here we get to enjoy a really great view down to our lovely meadow from earlier (not as lovely from above... the drama isn't there when you are atop one of the dramatic walls looking down), Merriam Lake, Pilot Knob, etc. Greg half-jokingly suggests going back to the first ridge and continuing along it to the top of Royce Peak. Of course it's too late in the day for this, so we don't do it. :-)  Instead we have a snack and then walk back via a different route (the landscape is very open, as was typical for most of the trip).
Underneath Royce Peak

Back at the tent we enjoy a nice skinny-dipping washing up at the little waterfall in the alcove (unfortunately no sun left in the alcove). Next comes a turbo dinner prep because we realize that we going to lose the sun early. Sure enough, at around 6 pm the sun vanishes behind a peak. It takes a frustratingly long time for some of the areas above us to lose the sun... too bad we're not up there. We'll learn from this for future site selection! We finish the day by tidying up, doing some logbook writing, enjoying the sunset on other peaks, and then retire to the tent rather early.

Dinner: Chix noodle soup with curry powder. Freeze dried beef stew (first time we've tried one of these things... it's ok, but not really great).

Track (the loop is the afternoon walk):

Monday, September 01, 2014

A piece of the Sierra High Route: Lower Desolation Lake to Puppet Lake Basin via Pilot Knob

After a good, though cold, night (it did get below freezing and there was frost in the morning), we do the usual morning things and get underway by 8:45 (late! we're out of practice!). Shortly after 8 another backpacker walks by about 100m away, this is the last person we'll see until day 6 (whoot!).
Lower Desolation Lake in the morning
From the lake we go cross-country, slowly climbing until we hit the crest above Mesa Lake that Roper mentions. We had planned to go through Puppet Pass, head to Puppet Lake, and then think about climbing Pilot Knob, but given the beautiful day and how appealing the mountain looks, decide to do Pilot Knob first. So we skip Mesa Lake, cross its basin, and climb up to the ridge above. From here we have a great view of Pilot Knob and its saddle as well as Pilot Lake below. We take a break to have a snack and plan the approach to the saddle.
break with view to Pilot Knob and its saddle to the right
After planning, we set out, first down, then traversing, through trees, over talus, up, up, up, until we hit footprints (!) that we follow the rest of the way up. We ditch our packs and take water, snacks, and the camera and then head along the ridge to go up Pilot Knob. This ends up being longer than anticipated, but it's great fun and good scrambling. We hit the ridge at a point well before the real peak (what the heck is "Vorgipfel" in English anyway?) and do a nice traverse to the true peak (~3700m). If we had been doing this in the Alps, we almost certainly would have had some gear with us and done some alpine belaying along the way, but we aren't there and don't have that stuff along anyway. ;-) At the real peak we enjoy the views and have a short break to enjoy the magnificent panorama (not too long, greg is thinking about the descent a bit too much). We end up taking a different, better, route down and are back at our packs reasonably quickly.
view from Pilot Knob to French canyon and Puppet Lake Basin
The next order of business is lunch, after which we descend the steep other side of the pass. There's a clear use trail for the first bit of this, so there's no route finding required and it's not particularly hairy.
descent towards Alsace Lake
After some descending and a bit of talus hopping (yay!) we hit Alsace Lake where we pump water before continuing around the lake. We're enjoying the lake too much and we end up leaving the basin too late, so we have to do a bit of backtracking before ascending to the ridge over Puppet Lake and the two nameless tarns in its basin. We ditch the packs and wander around for a bit to find a good campsite (we're too stubborn and stick up high near the trees for too long), it's about 15:30 by now.

After retrieving the packs, we set up camp (pitch tents, pump water, wash up, etc.) and then have a nice rest in the shade (oh is it nice to be in shade, we really aren't used to full days under intense sun!) before doing dinner. After dinner we take a good stroll around the basin to enjoy the sunset.

Dinner: Broccoli cheese soup. "Tagine" with salami, toasted "sambar" spice mix, olive oil, garlic, and couscous.