Our tents and surrounding areas were covered in frost when we woke up this morning but at least the sun was shining. With the sun out, we took the opportunity to lay out most of our gear to dry them as much as possible before setting off in the morning. For this reason, we didn’t get moving on the trail until 8:30am. This was our latest start yet, but given that camp was literally freezing and the sun was out to dry our gear it was a necessary late start.
After we got moving, we took our usually break after a couple hours and realized the clouds we moving in again. For the second straight day, we ate our lunches in the falling snow. After lunch we hiked on, climbing over 1200 feet for the day. We arrived at Chicken Spring Lake at nearly 5pm and with no suitable camping areas ahead for the next few miles decided this was camp for the night. That gives us roughly 17.5 miles for the day with the elevation climb up to about 11,200 feet.
Tomorrow we set ourselves up for Mt. Whitney. We will, at the very least, get to Crabtree Meadow which is 15.5 miles from where we are camping tonight. Ideally, we would be able to bag an additional 3.7 miles (giving us 19.2 total) to get to Guitar Lake along the Whitney Trail. That would set us up to be able to do the remaining 4.7 to the peak of Mt. Whitney (also the additional 3500 foot climb) in the morning and have plenty of time to do the whole 8.4 mile trail back to the PCT by dinner time to camp at Crabtree Meadow. That would be just a 13 mile day but with the highlight of the Whitney Peak it would be the best scenario. It all hinges on us getting to Guotar Lake tomorrow so I better get my rest.