A Tale of 12,000ft Passes – Part I

Ok, so now I’m getting into the Sierras.  In my first stretch I tackled Mt Whitney and Forrester Pass, the latter the day following the former.

It was a decision that seemed logical on Guthook, but actually doing it… well, my body felt otherwise.


It got done, regardless!  I was grateful for a night in town, and I got spoiled at the Mt Williamson Motel in Independence, CA.

That first stretch was full with amazing accomplishments, but (perhaps weirdly), it was after my stay in Independence that I felt like my Sierra section truly began.

And to ‘start’: up and over Kearsarge Pass. Not as tall as Forrester, but still no small feat at 11,760ft.

It’s a popular trail, a good trail, and one that I’ve done on many an occasion.  Even with a full 5-day resupply, I felt strong, so I decided to keep going, and that meant Glen Pass.


I had zero familiarity with Glen Pass, so I went in blind; I’m glad I did!  At 11,950ft tall, I think it was my naivety that got me up and over.  All I can say is, “WOW.” Can you say rocks?

To hike this pass after Kearsarge, and with too much weight, it was touch and go.  I was grateful to get to Rae Lakes, but it was a struggle!


Rest, though, was not something to be enjoyed for too long!  I had miles to do!  The next day it was Pinchot Pass at 12,122ft.  That actually felt easy going NOBO!  (I don’t even know who I am anymore)


The following day it was Mather Pass at 12,094ft.

I have this idea that a Pass a day keeps the cardiologist away.

Trying to do too much all at once can only beat this 39 y.o. woman down.


But with Mather Pass came the Golden Staircase, downhill. Another, “WOW.” A total descent of 3500ft!

You may be thinking, enough is enough. I know I was, but I had to get out, and to make it off the mountain and get to Bishop to resupply, that meant one more Pass: Bishop.

Bishop Pass is off the PCT, and is not the most desirable resupply option; the trail is 12 miles extra either way!  I was taking a zero in Bishop, so I justified the extra mileage.

So there it is: Sierra stretch #2: passes completed – Kearsarge, Glen, Pinchot, Mather and Bishop!🤪


On to the next…

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Comments 3

  • Craig Nicholas : Oct 3rd

    You are so tough Janinie! So proud of you!

    • Janine : Oct 9th

      Thanks, Craig! Miss you guys so much, especially you (my fav 🤫) 🤣


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