The day with the biggest challenge started early and with ugly weather. We went to have breakfast and met more people with a doubtful look on their faces.
Still, everybody kept packing up and hoping for a change in the weather.
We now also know that our tent can withstand strong winds and sleet.
We were not sure what to do and asked a park ranger about doing the pass. He said: you can try!
Note to self: next time I hear that, I’m not going to try. Yoda would probably have to say something about that, but he’s in a galaxy far, far away.
Shortly after 9 am a small group including VV and me started. It was a very, very muddy uphill fight to the treeline. If we hadn’t taken care, we would have been easily up to our ankles in the mud for the better part of an hour.
After that, some people followed a guy basically straight up the mountain. Well, he seemed to know what he was doing. Emphasis on “seemed”. Luckily another guy with a GPS realized something was wrong. It was back to the treeline for us. So keep looking for the orange markers and stick to them, they are there! If you don’t see them, you are in the wrong place.
After a looong, stormy, and difficult ascent we made it to the top where we met one of the rangers who made sure people stayed together. At that point, standing upright in something I would call a snowstorm had become really interesting. No pictures were taken as I was busy clinging to the ground.
We made it to the treeline, where another ranger was awaiting us. He told us that it was another two hours to El Paso. I really didn’t care, because another question had been answered: The mountain or I? I won.
We made it down to El Paso, and I really couldn’t have gone further. Some people continued on to Refugio Grey!
We put up our tent and cooked a nice dinner together with our mountain friends R, D and K.
It also turned out that we had put our tent next to the generator. It ran only for two hours – even if it had run longer, guess what: I didn’t care at that point.
Important items of the day: warm gloves and something like chocolate or a mini-drink to celebrate.